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Seaport Coffee Roasters began selling their kopi luwak this morning. By the time I managed to get down to the store, around noon, they had sold 5 pots—we’re talking about 24 cups per pot here—of kopi luwak at $5 for a 12 ounce cup. They offered 16 and 20 ounce cups at $7 and $9 respectively. They are also offering roasted beans in ¼ pound bags at $75. So is kopi luwak a perfect cup, worth $5 a cup or $300 a pound?
I sampled a cup of the kopi luwak in the store, and brought home a cup to Tammy (it’s only a five minute drive). It is definitely an excellent coffee. Kopi luwak is a rich, thick full bodied coffee. Tammy compared the body and consistency to a coffee with real cream added, no taste of milk in it, but that texture and feel. The aroma and taste were of a fruity dark chocolate, with just a hint of nuttiness. It has a subtle, muted acidity and complexity that is consistent with a very good Sumatra, but with a balance more characteristic of a Kenyen AA. In the long finish there is a distinct caramel flavor, with a very smooth clean end. Even cold the flavor and balance were very good, with slightly more astringency, and an emphasized caramel flavor to the finish. The finish was not as clean or rich when cold. Tammy remarked “I’m not normally one for cold or iced coffee, but I wouldn’t mind that…” Very nearly, a perfect cup of coffee, at least for my wife and I. The complex flavor with tones of chocolate and caramel suit our tastes perfectly and the lack of any bitterness, especially compared with a similarly roasted Sumatras, is ideal. Much of the excellence should be attributed to Joe’s expert roasting. He has obviously spent a great deal of time pursuing his roasting touch, treating it as an art as much as a science.
I would say, at least once in a lifetime, if you have the opportunity to taste kopi luwak, you should take it. I would not make this my everyday coffee by any means, but that is mainly because of it’s price. It would be nice to be able to have a cup from time to time, and if I was having a party for coffee lovers, I would seriously consider getting a quarter pound as a special event. The flavor is excellent and I will admit that for a straight brewed coffee, it is the best single bean coffee I have had anywhere. Of course the beauty of finding a good specialty roaster, such as Seaport Coffee Roasters, or home roasting is that you can blend far more affordable beans to bring out the best qualities and approach the taste, if that is your desire, of the kopi luwak with a blend. If Seaport still has some kopi luwak in a week or so though, I will probably take another cup.