Now in South Africa: rare pre-digested coffee at R80 a cup

2011-03-04 00:00

A NEWLY opened boutique roastery and espresso bar in Cape Town is selling one of the world’s most expensive coffees, a rare and sweet-tasting bean that has been through the digestive system of the Asian palm civet which removes all traces of bitterness.

At R80 per cup, the privilege of drinking it, does not come cheap.

Known as Kopi Luwak, the Indonesian coffee sells locally for just under R3 000 a kilogram, available exclusively through the Haas Coffee Collective in Rose Street in the Bo-Kaap.

Kopi Luwak, described as having a caramel-chocolate taste, takes its name from “kopi”, the Indonesian word for coffee and “luwak”, the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) “that feasts on the ripest, sweetest red coffee cherries growing on coffee trees in Sumatra”.

In a press release yesterday, Strictly Coffee and The Haas Design Collective said that once the luwak eats the cherry, the parchment-covered coffee beans inside pass through its digestive system, with stomach enzymes breaking down the proteins to remove the bitterness.

“Still intact even after being excreted, the parchment cover protects the green coffee beans. In a very labour-intensive process, the beans are collected from the faeces of civets and the parchment is removed.

“The coffee is then ­thoroughly cleaned and sun-dried before being sold.”

Kopi Luwak is reputed to be the most expensive coffee in the world.

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