Heirloom Coffees

Bantai Kopi Luwak & Trung Nguyen Legendee Gold

Rump Roasted

Some folks might find today’s Grommet pretty tough to swallow. Literally. You see, the coffee we’re featuring has gone though an unusual process that includes being ingested and excreted by cat-sized mammals from Southeast Asia called civets.

Here’s how it works: Civets eat the fruit of coffee trees, called cherries, but they don’t digest the pits, which are the coffee beans we know and love. Before the beans exit the animal, enzymes in the civet’s stomach work them over and neutralize the proteins that give coffee its
bitter taste. After the beans are discharged, coffee growers collect the waste then wash and roast the beans, taking care to preserve the complex flavors that developed along the way.

The result is coffee that’s flavorful and almost entirely without bitterness – not to mention rare and very expensive. “Strong, but not at all burnt or acidic or bitter,” says coffee aficionado Len Brault, who brewed some kopi luwak (also called civet coffee or weasel coffee) for us. Len runs Heirloom Coffee, which imports its Bantai civet coffee from the Philippines, where civets have been saved from at-risk areas and brought to roam free in coffee plantations. If you’re feeling less adventurous we’re also offering a simulated civet coffee, Trung Nguyen’s Legendee Gold, that mimics the enzyme process without involving any animal digestive tracts.

We have Daily Grommet friend Elaine Canina to thank for this find. Elaine works at agricultural biotech start-up Agrivida and regularly attends Len’s coffee tasting events. She convinced Len to get in touch with us, right around the time Grommet regulars Matt Charde and Steve Curran were planning to dare us to try civet coffee. We’re grateful for all their efforts – and a little bit in awe of this unusual delicacy.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Len

    Most people have heard about Kopi Luwak only through major media like the movie "The Bucket List." I had the good fortune to have experienced various Kopi Luwak coffees long before I enjoyed seeing "The Bucket List." Sampling Kopi Luwak from regions around the world has been a great adventure. I honestly think Kopi Luwak belongs on every coffee lover's bucket list, because there are coffee flavors released by the process that can't be enjoyed by any other means, and that makes it an unforgettable treat.

    My name is Len and a few years ago, I decided to stop complaining about the modern-day hybrid coffees and uni-dimensional Arabicas that had replaced the coffee that I loved and do something about it. I went on a worldwide search for the best heirloom coffees that remained unchanged by Western influence. I have tasted thousands of coffees in my quest and have studied the cultures and techniques that create them. Now I am devoted to helping indigenous producers gain access to international distribution under their own brand names so that they achieve the most "fair" of all trades. I am delighted that Daily Grommet is here to help with this mission and to treat you to some truly spectacular coffee.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    2/15/2010 12:00 PM

    "I am not a Paper Cup" giveaway.

    What do you think of today's Grommet? Would you try Kopi Luwak? Have you tried it? One way or another, you probably have an opinion on it! Leave a comment. One random commenter will win this cleverly designed insulated ceramic coffee cup (a previously featured Grommet!)

    We will take entries through Tuesday, February 16th at noon ET. Full contest rules can be found under Grommet Details on the home page.

  • sherry newman
    sherry newman
    2/15/2010 12:22 PM

    i would love to try this coffee i have a shirt thats says instant human just add coffee which is words i live by

  • Karen
    2/15/2010 12:24 PM

    Someone has to say it....you are shitting me!!! I am not a picky eater - but here, I draw the line.

  • Len
    Len – Special Guest
    2/15/2010 12:30 PM

    The Kopi Luwak is entirely safe after processing (and roasting to 550 degrees) and is lab tested, something that isn't done with regular coffee or tea, so it really is more of an emotional issue than a sanitary one. However, the Legendee, which is a simulated process that does not involve the civet, was created for people who want to try the taste of the Kopi but not the "real" thing. It is enzyme treated but has not been "enjoyed" by a civet.

  • Len
    Len – Special Guest
    2/15/2010 12:37 PM

    One thing we were not able to add to the listing in time is that we enclose a free single-cup stainless steel brewer (called a Phin, worth $5) with each Bantai or Legendee 3-pack. If you don't have a French Press or other gourmet style of brewer, the Phin lets you create a very concentrated yet non-bitter cup of coffee 6 ounces at a time. We want to be sure that everybody can get the best possible cup from these coffees.

  • Colleen
    2/15/2010 12:56 PM

    "rump roasted" heehee

    I would try it. I like the idea of it being strong but not bitter or acidic. I'm not quite thrilled with the idea of brewing something that was a part of civet poop though.

  • js
    2/15/2010 1:00 PM

    I would absolutely try this coffee. Just debating right now whether I can justify the cost.

  • hminnesota
    2/15/2010 1:03 PM

    I would love to try this coffee.

  • Karin C.
    Karin C.
    2/15/2010 1:15 PM

    This is the most unique coffee I have ever heard of. I always try something once, and I'm sure it is wonderful without any bitterness.

  • Bobbie
    2/15/2010 1:40 PM

    I am usually a "I'll try anything once" person but in this case, give me the "less adventurous"h option

  • Sally
    2/15/2010 2:15 PM

    Yes, please!!

  • Terri
    2/15/2010 2:16 PM

    I have always wanted to try Kopi Luwak. Sounds like this could be really different from what i am used to. I have tried quite are few amazing coffees. This would be a new one for me!!!

  • Cassie
    2/15/2010 2:24 PM

    I have visited, and tasted the wonderful coffees served at the Heirloom Coffee co. My favorites are the Kopi Luak, Legendee, and the #5.....great job Len and co.

  • Bonnie
    2/15/2010 2:28 PM

    I am a coffee lover and am always looking for great coffees to add to my list of favorites. Thanks for the info!

  • Len
    Len – Special Guest
    2/15/2010 2:28 PM

    Thanks, Cassie!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    2/15/2010 3:16 PM

    It sounds like a mixture of yays and nays. Not surprising!!

  • Sally
    2/15/2010 3:37 PM

    I don't like coffee so this is of no interest to me, but my mother is a coffeeholic. I don't know if she would draw the line at this kind, but she would love that coffee cup.

  • Sarah
    2/15/2010 4:16 PM

    Hmmm....I am not sure I can get over the origin of this coffee to try it. I would however, put that coffee cup to good use. Thanks for the chance!

  • Debbie
    2/15/2010 7:17 PM

    I might taste it out of curiousity but then again I don't know.

  • Jackie
    2/16/2010 8:46 AM

    As long as it tastes roasted and rump-free--I'll try some.

  • Len
    Len – Special Guest
    2/16/2010 10:20 AM

    Definitely rump-less, and delicious!

  • Mary
    2/16/2010 11:38 AM

    I love coffee, but I don't think I could get past this one to try it. You would have to "sneak" it to me and then tell me after I decided I liked it, if I did not like it, you should not tell me about it! How's that for knowing myself???

  • Len
    Len – Special Guest
    2/16/2010 12:10 PM

    I felt the same way about caviar, lol. Sneak some flying fish eggs into my sushi and I am a happy guy, just don't tell me....

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    2/16/2010 12:16 PM

    @Debbie - your name was randomly chosen at random.org to be our winner! Congratulations, I will be contacting you directly for your information.

  • Rey
    4/7/2010 2:18 PM

    I have a question for someone that tried the real thing (Kopi Luwak) and the simulated (Legendee). How does the Legendee compare to the real thing in terms of taste, aroma, etc?

  • Len
    Len – Special Guest
    12/2/2010 1:43 PM

    @Rey: Kopi Luwak is a process, so it is not really just a single coffee, and the taste varies depending on the beans used. The Legendee simulates Kopi Luwak that was created using a mixture of Robusta, Arabica and Excelsa beans, such as would be found naturally in a civet's range in Vietnam.

    The Bantai Civet Coffee is created using only Robusta beans, shade grown, high-altitude and organic. So it does have a different profile. Less chocolaty, more floral, more body.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    4/8/2010 1:35 PM

    I talked to a few of the people who tasted it and they couldn't discern a difference.

  • kitt
    11/7/2011 9:39 PM

    If you can close your mind to a cow being slaughtered to get a sirlon steak then close your mind to where this coffee comes from and give it a try! Its got a very destinct flavor that wont take your imagination back to its origin but to an island you have never been,enjoying something new. Yes it is a aquired taste too so dont sip it once and not give it a second chance or even a third! Its GOOD!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    11/8/2011 12:02 AM

    @kitt: Love it! Thanks for stopping by.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

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