Legendee and Kopi Luwak: The Legend of the Weasel
One of the world's most famous coffees, the Legendee
is a unique enzymatically-treated coffee that releases flavors often bound
in the beans and not released under ordinary processing.
The "Legend" has to do with stories about natives who drank
a brew from washed coffee beans that had been partly digested by small
furry animals that don't really have a counterpart in the Western world
(a civet more than a "weasel"). The "real" civet coffee
(called Kopi Luwak in Indonesia) is incredibly rich, mellow
and chocolaty. This obviously low-volume, expensive coffee encouraged
experiments by Trung Nguyen that were performed by a staff of European
scientists who eventually found natural enzymes that duplicate this process
and leaves the weasels (civets) to blissfully go their own way.
Trung Nguyen was the original pioneer of this process and it has not been
duplicated by any other coffee maker. The process produces a coffee unlike
any other in the world, with a wide range of rich flavors and virtually
When iced, it releases a flavor explosion that makes it, in many people's
opinion, the world's best iced coffee. You will never look at a cup of
donut shop iced coffee or Charbucks the same way again.
Tourists to Vietnam often don't consider their visit complete until they
have sat in a Trung Nguyen coffeehouse and tried the Legendee brewed by
the single-cup filters.
FAQ about Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)
Q. What is Kopi Luwak?
A. Kopi Luwak translates as "Civet Coffee" and is created
in several regions of the world where the Palm Civet or similar species
resides. Palm Civets are primarily "frugivores" (fruit eaters)
and were once considered a pest by coffee farmers, because the furry little
beasts would feed at night on only the ripest
coffee cherry fruits. They would swallow the coffee fruit and bean in
its entirety, dissolve the fruit away from the bean, and pass the beans
onto the ground by morning. At some point some frustrated farmer decided
to wash the beans and roast them, and was amazed to discover the best
coffee he had ever had. Now, many years later, the Civet is literally
treated more like the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg than a pest, for
obvious reasons, since Kopi Luwak coffee can fetch from $180 to $600 per
pound and is the world's most expensive coffee.
Q. So is Kopi Luwak actually a "coffee"?
A. No, Kopi Luwak is a PROCESS. Many people talk about Kopi Luwak
as if it were a specific coffee, but it is not. In Sumatra, for example,
you may have a farmer creating Kopi Luwak using civets in a closed-range
"farm" who have been fed on heirloom Arabica Typica only. In
Kalinga or Barako in the Philippines, a farmer
may be collected beans from wild civets who have been dining on coffee
cherries from four or more varieties or species, including Arabica, Robusta,
Excelsa, Liberica, etc. These examples are not given to imply that the
reverse could not be true, i.e., a Sumatran farmer using 100% Robusta
or other mix. The point is, that the beans used and the type of farming
greatly affect the underlying taste of the coffee.
Q. So what makes Kopi Luwak recognizable and desirable?
A. Despite the different bean base and farming methods, the enzymes
that are responsible for the creation of Kopi Luwak-style coffee are consistent
in their effect upon the coffee. Thus, all Kopi Luwak is recognizable
for certain tastes, aromas and characteristics, such as extremely low
bitterness. The main characteristics are: Exceptionally pleasing initial
aroma, generally lighter roast (due to the low bitterness and the enzyme
structural action, heavy roasting is not needed to bring out more flavor),
smooth, buttery mouthfeel, a hint of chocolate overtones, and a haunting
persistance not just on the pallet but on the memory. People say they
can "recall the wonderful taste" for as long as a 2-3 hours
after having a cup. These characteristics are generally present in all
Kopi Luwak, even though the taste experience will be different due to
the choice of beans and roast level, etc.
Q. Is Kopi Luwak safe for humans?
A. The frugivore civet has no known harmful bacteria that can be
passed to human beings. The washing, sun-drying, and roasting temperatures
over 350° destroy any possible bacterial content. There is no public
record reporting any case of illness from drinking Kopi Luwak. Contrast
that record against a huge litany of health complaints filed by other
coffee consumers who report that over-roasted major chain coffeehouse
coffees give them heartburn, acid reflux, heart palpitations and headaches.
Truly, the palatable Kopi Luwak is a far more tolerated coffee than most.
Q. Is The Legendee truly an acceptable simulation
of Kopi Luwak?
A. Over the years, consumers of both Kopi Luwak coffees and Legendee,
both Classic and new Gold, have consistently told us that Legendee achieves
many of the same characteristics of true Kopi Luwak. Legendee is easily
100X more popular as a Kopi Luwak equivalent than any other brand's attempt
to duplicate the process of Kopi Luwak. The reason is simple, it is the
only process using research by a team of German scientists contracted
by Trung Nguyen in 1996 to study the effect of the Civet on coffee and
duplicate a natural enzyme soak process that would approximate the same
effect. All other Kopi Luwak simlations rely on choosing beans with specific
profiles and artificial or natural flavorings to attempt to duplicate
Q. If all Kopi Luwak is somewhat different, what
type of Kopi Luwak does Legendee represent?
A. The Legendee Gold is closest in profile to Kopi Luwak from
Civets fed on an all-Arabica diet. The Classic Legendee
is intended to match the profile of Kopi Luwak created from civets fed
on multiple species of coffees, which usually include Arabica,
Excelsa and Robusta. Thus, the Classic Legendee is a darker and bolder
Kopi Luwak equivalent.
Q. How should Kopi Luwak, or Legendee, be brewed?
A. These coffees should be brewed by selecting just enough coffee
for the brewing of one cup at a time, unless being prepared for more than
one person. Brewing in the Phin filter, Chemex, Aeropress, or French Press
will all yield somewhat different but excellent results. Never use boiling
water. A temperature of 185° - 195° is best. Brewing for 4 minutes
maximum is recommended. But, you will find your own best method and time
if you experiment a little from these guidelines. Enjoy!