May 16, 2009

Kopi Luwak

What a week for coffee. Eight days ago I roasted up 250gms of Kopi Luwak which was a gift from a very reliable source. Since then John and I have analyzed it, compared it, discussed it, blended it and most of all, loved drinking it.

When you have green beans that are this expensive the roasting process is serious business, John was on his hands and knees staring through the glass window of the HotTop at one point, I was making minor tweaks on the fan and heat, hovering over the roaster and rubbing a lucky rabbit's foot (ok, the rabbit part isn't true but only because I didn't have one available). The roast turned out as good as you can get in my opinion.

John took 40gms of brown home to play with and I hung on to the rest since John is here pretty much everyday. I was curious and a bit nervous about this coffee, wondering if it would meet my expectations. It's not common to roast, prepare and drink the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world. Waiting for the beans to mature a bit before checking them out was, uhmmmm, difficult.


How was it? Wow! From the moment the beans hit the grinder I knew this was going to be a great pourover cup. Dry aroma was very powerful, with big cherry pit and a deep complex almost liqueur-like quality, if I was going to give it a name at that point I would have said Kirsch made from cherry pits. Wet aroma was more typical Sumatran/Indo with some rich earthiness, leather, maybe a bit of sandalwood? In the cup, excellent body, quite complex and shifting as the cup cooled through the 15mins of cupping, 30mins after I was finished it and driving down the highway I was still 'tasting' it and one of the final notes that popped into my coffee processor minds-eye was "hmmmm, I just got a faint note of nutmeg" this was after the cup offered up a wide spectrum of various chocolate, leather, deep fruits, etc. Finally finishing on nutmeg,interesting.

Since that first pourover cup we've moved on to pulling it as an SO espresso and then blending it in various ratios with various beans, then back to pourover and finally settling in on today's espresso blend which was eight days post-roast - a 50/50 split between the Kopi Luwak and Brazilian Jacaranda. John and I had two shots each into the usual small milk drinks providing a total of 4oz's finished drink. Two of the shots I updosed and backed off the grind a bit for a typical shot, two of the shots I regular dosed and tightened up the grind a bit so it ran a bit more restricted and providing a bit more gloppiness. Uhmmmm, ahhhhhh, yeah, killer shots, really world class in my opinion. Top 10 drink of all time. Gold medal stuff.


And so the question stands, is Kopi Luwak worth it? I'd like to answer that in two ways...

First, the exclusivity factor has to be taken into account. With a reported 1000lbs per year being produced worldwide very few people get to taste it. Taking that into account and considering today's beautiful shots of Kopi blended with an eight day old Jacaranda, pulled on a stable-temp double boiler espresso machine, into small microfoam after years of practice, led to an almost impossible to reproduce anywhere else in the world kind of scenario. I mean really, where else is this kind of thing happening right now? Certainly it's my belief that the four Kopi beverages this afternoon in my kitchen were the only Kopi/Jacaranda blended shots being pulled anywhere in the world today, or this week, or maybe this year? Think about it, nowhere else in the world.

Second, the Kopi regardless of the exclusivity stands by itself as a great coffee. As a pourover or espresso blend it was a great bean, offering a unique experience. I really enjoyed it as pourover but I have to say the 50/50 blend just blew me away. Hard to believe, but true.

Luckily there's still a few more shots left to pull and when it's all gone there's another 1/2lb pre-roast blend of 50/50 Kopi and Brazil Cachioera de Grama that I roasted up three days ago and aging in the cupboard right now. While waiting to pull that we'll have some Panama Esmeralda Gesha I roasted yesterday which will carry us over till the Kopi/de Grama is ready to pull. Esmeralda as pourover in the morning. Wow!!! What a coffee week!


John F said...

As the last of it goes (sometime in approx. 10 days or so) I suppose it will be like leaving the Grand Canyon. When you walk away mental tricks go into play. You try to squinch your eyes just right, open them up really wide, and just try to take it all in somehow that you can keep it "alive" in your mind...

Only partial success is possible at best.

I think you are right we were the only 2 people on earth today drinking the shots we had that had the care taken of them from start to finish AND as luck/fate would have it get the results we enjoyed in the cup as it was.

No money can buy that.


Shaun Taylor said...

No amount of money, indeed.