Luwak the cat dragged in

Mandailing Estate’s Kopi Luwak and Single Origin Coffees were Highly Commended at this year’s Awards. Kopi Luwak is the coffee made from the skat of the civet cat, the rarest beans in the world which creates the most perfectly processed and smoothest coffee on earth.

Grown in the Mandailing Province of West Sumatra’s highlands since the 17th Century by the Dutch, the Kopi Jawa, or Java, was lost to the world and thought to be extinct due the dissolution of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company, numerous local political struggles, the Leaf Rust plague of 1880’s, and eventually World War Two. The plantations and the coffee trees were literally swallowed and strangled by the jungle.

In 1999 the original Arabica tress grown by the Dutch were rediscovered by Mandailing Estate’s owner on the highest ridges of his property, where a handful of ancient Arabica trees, grown to giant proportions over centuries, were alive and flourishing. Since the rediscovery, Albert Taylor has painstakingly replanted his estate using seeds from those huge old trees.

The plantation is literally cut out of a jungle crawling with cobras, tigers, and civet cats — one of the only animals with reflexes fast enough to kill cobras, maybe because they consume so much coffee!

The civet cats love to eat coffee cherries but are very fussy and only eat the most flawlessly ripe ones. In their guts, the cherries are perfectly processed, and come out shiny and clean.

This coffee is then matured, roasted and packaged, with no bitterness and a sweet and chocolaty flavour.

Launched in January 2008, Mandailing Estate’s truly wild Kopi Luwak is unique in the Australian market. The rarest beverage on earth, and the best coffee money can buy.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

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