Friend and Epic Portions contributor Dave spent a year in Cambodia, visiting Vietnam to explore all things strange and delicious. Having been recently sidelined with an Achilles Tendon tear (I do not wish this on anyone, including my enemies!), I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch. Dave recently came through with a dandy little pick-me-up in the form of Vietnamese “Weasel” Coffee.
“Weasel” Coffee – or Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive coffees in the world ($100-$500/pound when bought in the United States). The reason for this is kind of…gross:
Weasel coffee is made from Coffee Berries that have been eaten by, and passed through the digestive system of any of a family of Civets, little “weasel”-like creatures residing in the Indonesian Archipelago (Sumatra, Java, Bali, and Sulawesi). That’s right – you heard me – Civets eat coffee berries..and crap them out.
Civets consume the red coffee cherries, picking only the ripest and sweetest fruit. As a result, the Civets naturally select the best coffee beans. The inner bean of the berry isn’t digested. Rather, enzymes in Civet’s stomach add to the coffee’s flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated, still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Light roasting is means that one of the best characteristics of Weasel Coffee is that most of that ‘coffee bitterness’ is removed.
Let me be more direct – Kopi Luwak is the greatest coffee in the world. Hands down. Game over. Holy moly – I could drink a barrel of this stuff.
In the morning. And another barrel later in the afternoon.
It’s flavor profile is completely unique, with deep nutty tones, and a million other Southeast Asian flavors that my couch-imprinting behind has yet to experience.
The Weasel Coffee experience is wonderful. Preparation is slow and delicate – detailed by the wonderful folks over at Wandering Spoon in their article on Vietnamese Coffee (Ca Phe). [Check out those drawings! Wish I was that good.]
Water is first heated to just below boiling and poured into the cup sitting atop coffee mugs. This cup is filled with a small amount of the Kopi Luwak/Ca Phe. These grounds are incredibly fine – almost a dust!
The drip action is slow, allowing this incredibly strong, highly-caffeined coffee to drip through the dense, roughly filtered grounds.
This coffee is STRONG. So you don’t need much to knock you back. You’ll then want to add lots of sugar and milk. The custom is to add sweetened condensed milk to taste. Here, we instead use raw cane sugar and evaporated milk – same difference.
The sweetened, condensed (or evaporated – milk with half the water removed) milk adds a rich, creamy texture and gives the coffee a lot of body.
Many people love to put this coffee on ice. People like me aren’t satisfied with that, and add Baileys (or its value mart equivalent).
If you can get your hands on this stuff, Enjoy! I’ll have the bag Dave left at my house in a safe in the garage guarded by my Chihuahua attack dog.