Chủ Nhật, 11 tháng 5, 2014

weasel coffee , civet farming in Indonesia and Vietnam

SAGADA, the Philippines — Goad Sibayan went prospecting recently in the remote Philippine highlands here known as the Cordillera. He clambered up and then down a narrow, rocky footpath that snaked around some hills, paying no heed to coffins that, in keeping with a local funeral tradition, hung very conspicuously from the surrounding sheer cliffs.
Reaching a valley where coffee trees were growing abundantly, he scanned the undergrowth where he knew the animals would relax after picking the most delicious coffee cherries with their claws and feasting on them with their fangs. His eyes settled on a light, brownish clump atop a rock. He held it in his right palm and, gently slipping it into a little black pouch, whispered:
Not quite. But Mr. Sibayan’s prize was the equivalent in the world of rarefied coffees: dung containing the world’s most expensive coffee beans.
Costing hundreds of dollars a pound, these beans are found in the droppings of the civet, a nocturnal, furry, long-tailed catlike animal that prowls Southeast Asia’s coffee-growing lands for the tastiest, ripest coffee cherries. The civet eventually excretes the hard, indigestible innards of the fruit — essentially, incipient coffee beans — though only after they have been fermented in the animal’s stomach acids and enzymes to produce a brew described as smooth, chocolaty and devoid of any bitter aftertaste.

As connoisseurs in the United States, Europe and East Asia have discovered civet coffee in recent years, growing demand is fueling a gold rush in the Philippines and Indonesia, the countries with the largest civet populations. Harvesters are scouring forest floors in the Philippines, where civet coffee has emerged as a new business. In Indonesia, where the coffee has a long history, enterprising individuals are capturing civets and setting up minifarms, often in their backyards.
Neither the Indonesian government nor the Association of Indonesia Coffee Exporters breaks down civet coffee’s tiny share of Indonesia’s overall coffee production. The Association of Indonesian Coffee Luwak Farmers, created in 2009 to handle the rising demand for civet coffee, or kopi luwak, as it is called in Indonesian, said most civet producers were small-time businessmen who exported directly overseas.
Given the money at stake, fake and low-grade civet coffee beans are also flooding the market.
“Because of its increasing popularity, there is more civet coffee than ever, but I don’t trust the quality,” said Rudy Widjaja, 68, whose 131-year-old family-owned coffee store in Jakarta, Warung Tinggi, is considered Indonesia’s oldest.
Competition is touching off fierce debates. What is real civet coffee, anyway? Does the civet’s choice of beans make the coffee? Or is it the beans’ journey through the animal’s digestive tract? Can the aroma, fragrance and taste of beans from the droppings of a caged civet ever be as tasty as those from its wild cousin?
Vie Reyes, whose Manila-based company, Bote Central, entered the civet coffee business five years ago, said she bought only from harvesters of the wild kind. Ms. Reyes exports to distributors overseas — Japan and South Korea are her biggest markets — and also directly sells 2.2-pound bags for $500, or about $227 a pound.
Maintaining quality was a constant challenge because distinguishing the real stuff from the fake was never easy. One time, harvesters sold her regular beans glued to unidentified dung.
“I washed it,” she said. “But the glue wouldn’t come off.”
One of her suppliers, Mr. Sibayan, 37, buys beans from collectors throughout the Cordillera, a mountainous region in the north that can be reached only after a punishing 12-hour drive from Manila. On a recent day, he dropped by to see the Pat-ogs, who own a 1.7-acre lot just outside this town.
Until Mr. Sibayan began buying their civet coffee four years ago, the Pat-ogs had never given much thought to the droppings left behind by the civets that came to munch on the family’s coffee trees at night. They discarded the beans or mixed them with regular beans they sold to agents. Now, they were getting about $9 a pound for the civet beans, or about five times the price of regular coffee beans, which, furthermore, required labor-intensive harvesting.
Mr. Sibayan inspected their batch and said he would pay just under top-grade price. He had found some impurities — inferior beans that the civet had spat out; beans chewed on, not by civets, but bats — that were indiscernible to all but Mr. Sibayan’s expert eye or, rather, tongue.
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Licking one bean, he explained that real civet coffee beans should have lost their natural sweetness and acquired a rough texture. “This is pure, good quality,” he said, adding, “Once, some farmers tried to fool me by slightly roasting regular beans to remove the sweetness.”
Alberto Pat-og, 60, a retired school principal, said he did not understand why foreigners were willing to pay so much for a cup of the stuff.
“We are a bit surprised,” he said. “A bit perplexed.”
His son, Lambert, 20, added, with a big grin, “We are ignorant.”
The Pat-ogs wished they could expand their business but said there were simply not enough civets around. Compounding the problem, farmers around these parts tended to trap civets, which also have a taste for chicken. Local residents still prized civets less for their coffee-picking ability than their meat, which was typically dried before being prepared adobo-style.
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“It’s very difficult to convince my neighbors not to kill civets because they’re considered such a delicacy here,” the father said.
In Indonesia, too, a shrinking civet population is creating obstacles for those hoping to ride the civet coffee boom. Civet coffee has long been centered in the western island of Sumatra, where a growing human population, economic development and deforestation have eroded their habitats.
Mr. Widjaja, the Jakarta store owner, said that the Dutch, who ruled Indonesia for more than three centuries, and Japanese soldiers, who occupied the country during World War II, were the most die-hard drinkers of civet coffee. But the coffee all but disappeared after the late 1950s, he said, and resurfaced on the market only after its reputation began spreading overseas. After he began fielding inquiries in 2007 from interested buyers in the United States, Japan and Taiwan, he secured a regular supply of wild civet coffee and began selling it only last year — at $150 a pound.
In Liwa, a small town in southwestern Sumatra, more than 30 families were involved in civet coffee.
Mega Kurniawan, 28, entered the business two years ago by setting up shop in the backyard of his family home. He had already expanded to three other locations and was now in civets full time. With a total of 102 civets, he gathered about 550 pounds of beans a month.
During the day, Mr. Kurniawan’s civets slept inside their small wooden cages before growing active at dusk. At night, the animals ate from fresh plates of coffee cherries, replenished every two hours, or paced back and forth at a brisk, caffeinated clip.
Though caged, the civets ate only about half of the beans placed before them, choosing only the best specimens, Mr. Kurniawan insisted. He dismissed connoisseurs’ criticism that stress felt by the caged animals invariably affected the taste of the beans.
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“It’s the same,” he said, acknowledging, however, that some buyers preferred wild civet coffee. “Maybe it’s the prestige.”
A few blocks away, Ujang Suryana, 62, had his own firm opinions about what constituted real civet coffee. A reflexologist, Mr. Suryana began moonlighting in civets three months ago after catching a local television report on the brew’s popularity abroad. He pooled $1,000 to buy three civets and cages.
He had already found a way to increase the civets’ output exponentially by mechanically stripping the coffee beans from the cherries and mixing them in a banana mash. The civets gobbled it all up. This way, no beans were wasted. What is more, he had raised the dung production from 2.2 pounds a week to a whopping 6.6 pounds a day.
But wasn’t Mr. Suryana denying the civet its renowned ability to sniff out the best beans?
He scrunched up his face as if to wave away the suggestion. “The most important thing is that the beans go through its stomach and are fermented,” he said. “It all tastes the same, anyway.”

you make a cup of coffee in a minute, weasel coffee show you here

Spring is here and summer is on the horizon, which means iced coffee season is right about now. For the next few months, the only kind of coffee we want to be drinking is the iced kind. Cold, refreshing and gorgeous.
Iced coffee is more than just cold coffee instead of hot. It's like summer in a glass, and happiness in a bottle. It's enticing, luxurious, slightly sweet -- if you like it cold-brewed -- or slightly robust -- if you make it hot.
However you like your iced coffee, if you want to know how to make the perfect cup, we at HuffPost Taste have got you covered. And we've also got the most beautiful iced coffees we've ever seen to get you ready for the season.
Here's our seasonal ode to iced coffee, with 10 iced coffees we can't take our eyes off:
  • It's a thrilling sight early on a summer morning.
    "Coffee, we're ready for you." -- Ice
  • It's a thing of beauty in the afternoon.
    A Beautiful Mess
    This iced coffee is made with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Get the recipe for this Homemade Iced Coffee from A Beautiful Mess
  • It's a delicate dessert.
    A Beautiful Mess
    This one here is made with sweetened condensed milk. Get thisHomemade Iced Coffee With Sweetened Condensed Milk recipe from A Beautiful Mess
  • Why not put whipped cream on top?
    Really, why wouldn't you?
  • It's perfection in a pour.
    A whirlpool of excitement.
  • And it's simply breathtaking.
    Amy Johnson
    We are swooning for this beautiful iced coffee from photographer Amy Johnson
  • It's so comforting.
    Paul Johnson via Getty Images
    If that doesn't look good to you, we don't know what will.
  • It's great with milk.
    Mmmm milk.
  • But we also like it black.
    MIXA Co. Ltd. via Getty Images
    Simple, cool, refreshing.
  • Iced coffee, it's been a long, hard winter.
    We're ready for you now.

7 Worrisome Facts About Caffeine - weasel coffee

What's the largest, least regulated and most misunderstood drug trade in America? That would be caffeine. In his brand new book Caffeinated, investigative reporter Murray Carpenter takes a deep dive into this white-powder stimulant. The author says we underestimate nearly everything about caffeine: its prevalence in our daily lives, its health benefits, its negative impacts on our bodies and patterns. Carpenter shares a peek into his book's most intriguing -- and sometimes surprising -- revelations.
Caffeine makes us act like lab rats.
"With caffeine -- coffee and tea especially -- people develop very consistent patterns," says Carpenter. "They hit it hard early in the day and then fade off in afternoon. It's predictable self-administration, kind of like a lab rat pushing a lever that'll give them the next expected hit of a drug." These patterns become so ingrained that many of us don't even realize how long it's been since we've gone without. "People go months, years, even decades without skipping caffeine a single day, which says a lot about how powerful it is," he says.
Coffee packs way more caffeine than soda.
"Most caffeinated sodas have 35 to 40 milligrams of caffeine per 12 ounces," says Carpenter. "Even if you drink five cans a day, that's a really moderate caffeine intake compared to what most coffee drinkers consume. The caffeine in coffee is more concentrated, so even a five-ounce cup of weak coffee has almost twice as much as a can of soda. Strong coffee could have three times the caffeine. A 16-ounce Grande coffee from Starbucks has almost as much as nine cans of soda." Energy drinks, of course, are a different story.
One cup of strong coffee a day is enough to get you hooked.
"From research, we know that most people who regularly consume 100 milligrams of caffeine a day will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop abruptly," says Carpenter. That's roughly three cans of soda or, depending on how strong it is, one or two cups of coffee. But even if you become dependent on caffeine, consuming a few hundred milligrams a day probably isn't too troublesome. "For most adults, 300 to 400 milligrams a day is considered moderate, although that varies dramatically depending on your size, genetic predisposition and many other factors," Carpenter says. "Some people, such as smokers, process caffeine more quickly, so they need more to get the same effect."
Overdoing caffeine can cause problems.
"One of the most common problems of getting too much caffeine is insomnia or sleeplessness," Carpenter says. "But caffeine's effect on sleep really differs from person to person. Some can drink coffee right up until they go to bed and then sleep like babies. For others, if they have caffeine after dinner, they'll lie in bed with their heart thumping and mind wandering." Caffeine also promotes anxiety, Carpenter says, which is already a huge problem for so many Americans. Caffeine can make it much worse. Another big issue: "Caffeine leads to a vicious circle of supplementation," he says. "You get all jacked up on caffeine to get through the day and then have to put the brakes on hard. People often need beer or sleeping pills to wind down. Then they wake up feeling drowsier than normal, so they have to go right back to caffeine to fire up."
It's easy to build tolerance for caffeine.

Negative effects aside, there's a reason we use caffeine -- and depend on it. "Caffeine is really powerful and effective for increasing mental acuity and focus," Carpenter says. Research shows it boosts athletic performance as well. However, these positive benefits usually wane the longer we regularly use caffeine. "Most people develop tolerance, so the coffee you drink today will not have the same effect as the first cup you ever had," says Carpenter. But caffeine tolerance differs from that of other drugs in that you can recalibrate it. For example, an alcoholic might quit drinking for years, but if he picks it up again, he'll usually be right back in the problem zone. Not necessarily true for caffeine. "With caffeine, you can reset your baseline pretty quickly if you quit for even a week," Carpenter says. "You'll go through withdrawals, but then when you start on it again, you will notice a bigger boost than you got before you quit."
Natural caffeine is no better than synthetic.
"It's really the same chemical, whether it's carved away from an ingredient in which caffeine naturally exists, such as guarana or kola nuts, or it's cobbled together in a laboratory," Carpenter says. "Synthetic caffeine is cheaper and much more widely used. But if both are pure, natural-sourced and chemical caffeine should have same effects. There's nothing wrong with natural caffeine, but there's no additional health benefit to it. It's more about if you don't want your caffeine coming out of pharmaceutical plant in China."
Caffeine isn't required to be labeled.
"The Food and Drug Administration doesn't require beverage companies to label caffeine content," Carpenter says. "Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper do it voluntarily, although it's in tiny print at the end of the ingredients list. You almost need reading glasses to see it." That's at least one good thing soda has going for it, since multiple studies have linked the sugary swill to obesity and diabetes, while diet soda is thought to mess with metabolism. "One great thing about caffeinated soft drinks is you can quantify your caffeine intake if it's listed on the can," Carpenter says. But labeling laws could soon change, prompted by the rapid rise of high-caffeine energy drinks. "FDA is currently wrestling with how to regulate caffeine in energy drinks," Carpenter says. "They're figuring out how to label caffeine count so you can look at a product quickly and see what's in there. Labeling coffee or tea would be a much bigger challenge. However, Lipton lists how much caffeine each bag contains, and it's pretty close to accurate."

kopi luwak , Weasel Coffee vietnam

After tasting coffees (at the source) in over two dozen nations around the world, I think I've finally discovered the secret to growing "The World's Best Coffee."
It's not that I'm obsessed with coffee -- I'm obsessed with experiences! Each time I've traveled through a coffee exporting country (there are 51 of them at my last count), I've made it a point to experience the coffee grown there. I've been drinking the world's most popular beverage direct from the source.
Upon completion of my Mt. Kilimanjaro climb in 2008, we celebrated our safe descent (which is in many ways is more painful than the ascent), with a cup of fresh Kilimanjaro coffee, grown and brewed on the slopes of Africa's tallest dormant volcanic cones.
It was the most incredibly smooth cup of black coffee I'd ever drank in my life from a styrofoam cup. I had to have more!
After being whisked off to the Kilimanjaro Airport my only hope of exporting some of this incredible coffee to my home in New York was to scour the shelves at JRO's tiny duty-free corner. The only selection not appearing as if it were packaged in a dissolvable bag was a short tin can of "TanCafe," Pure Coffee from Tanzania: The Land of Kilimanjaro (the faded side photos of an arrogant giraffe and a bemused leopard didn't instill confidence in the tin's contents).
Don't judge a tin of coffee by its poorly photographed wildlife! That tin contained the most amazing coffee of my life.
I began to hoard the contents, doling them out on a case-by-case basis, terrified of reaching the bottom of the tin. Who knew when I'd return to the Kilimanjaro Airport? In the meantime, I re-doubled my efforts to taste every nation's coffee at each opportunity.
1. Panama
Strong, intense, raw -- loved it's intensity, but missed sublime notes.
2. Venezuela
Pale, lacked body, but I appreciated that it was unobtrusive.
3. El Salvador
A seriously great coffee, grown on the sides of active volcanoes and seemed to extract their power.
4. Zambia
High doses of caffeine -- stayed awake all day.
5. Indonesia

You know that coffee you've heard about that is made from beans collected out of cat droppings (Kopi Luawak)... It's actually the droppings of an Asian palm civet (a tiny omnivorous adorable animal), which eat only the ripest of cherries and partially digest the outer coating of the bean. It's the world's most expensive coffee and it's worth every rupiah (when you acquire it from the source -- import taxes are a bitch). But I still missed my "TanCafe."
I returned to East Africa a few months ago...
As soon as I made my way back to Tanzania, I rushed to the Arusha Coffee Lodge. The following day on a tour of the Burka Estate, in the shadow of Mt. Meru (Tanzania's tallest active volcano) it came to me: It's the Volcano!
As my work progressed through East Africa, I felt as though I continued to make startling coffee discoveries: Organic home-grown coffees from the foot of Mt. Elgon in Uganda, coffees growing within sight of the Virunga volcanoes in Rwanda, and more deliciously smooth delights from duty-free at the Dar es Salaam Airport in Tanzania (move over "TanCafe," this wasn't just about Kilimanjaro anymore).
I felt like Angela Lansbury solving the 100th murder in Cabot Cove, putting all my bits of information together to discover the common denominator behind growing all my favorite coffees: Volcanoes and the Equator.
It wasn't just the volcanoes (they are a dime a dozen in the coffee producing world). Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Indonesia, Southern Colombia -- they're all within spitting distance of the Equator and contain volcanic cones.
But why?
The volcanic soil makes perfect sense: Just as in the growing of wine grapes, the soil nurturing the coffee shrubs has great influence over the final product. The Equator feels less intuitive, but still makes some sense. The Equator is the only place on Earth that receives exactly the same amount of daylight, each and every day of the year. It's also meteorologically unique in that annual rainfall is very high and temperatures hardly vary.
So that's it, my coffee quest had answers, and dozens of delicious brews to enjoy (with more to discover).
If you love coffee, world travel is an exceptional way to explore that passion. Get out there and go on your own coffee quests