Sea Island Coffee Aims to Become Home of Kopi Luwak Coffee with the Launch of the Civet Cat Coffee Collection

Sea Island Coffee Ltd., one of Europe’s leading specialists in exotic coffees, has announced the launch of a collection of Kopi Luwak Civet Cat coffees and set down its claim to be the Kopi Luwak coffee specialist in Europe via its website at

London, United Kingdom, January 20, 2011 --( Guy Wilmot of Sea Island Coffee said, “There is a lot of hype and press about Kopi Luwak coffee and it’s finally entering the mainstream. We get orders from all over the world.

“But, for those who haven’t heard of Kopi Luwak, I feel I should explain what it’s all about. Kopi Luwak coffee is derived from the droppings of Asian Palm Civet Cats. They inhabit the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, in the Benguet region of the northern Philippines, in Bali and in India. It’s made from coffee cherries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Civet, which are catlike animals with long noses that love their coffee cherries fresh. They move at night, creeping along the coffee plants, sniffing out sweet red coffee cherries and selecting only the ripest ones. After chewing off the fruity exterior, the Civets swallow the bean whole and enzymes within the stomach massage the beans, smoothing off the harsh edges while passing through their system undigested. Food scientists believe that the enzymes add to the flavour by breaking down any residual bitterness. The droppings are then collected and washed hygienically and thoroughly before being given only a light roast in order not to destroy the coffee’s complex flavours.”

In the early days, Kopi Luwak would be collected in the wild from a ‘latrine’, a specific place where the civet would defecate as a means of marking its territory. However, more commonly today, captured civets are fed raw cherries, which are then subsequently processed. But, in the case of Sea Island Coffee, all the Civet Cat Coffees are collected from civets in the wild. On this issue, Guy Wilmot commented, “Unfortunately, many Kopi Luwak coffees are produced from captured civets. We receive many such offers, but turn them down. Our focus is on quality and wild civets always pick the ripest cherries whereas farmed civets are often given unripened cherries. Of course, it costs more for us to import, but the end result is in the cup. Moreover, we are in principle opposed to the farming of civet cats.”

Sea Island Coffee currently offers four Kopi Luwaks with plans for more Civet Cat coffees in the future. Guy Wilmot said, “We really want Sea Island Coffee to be the home of Kopi Luwak coffee in the future. We already specialises in rare and exotic coffees including Jamaica Blue Mountain and Hawaii Kona, so this was a natural progression for us. Our four Kopi Luwaks are all great examples of Civet Cat coffees. The first is Phillipine Alamid coffee. It’s produced by the Paradoxorus Philippinensis Civet in the forests of the Philippine mountains and the forest dwellers climb up before sunrise and pick the civet droppings from the forest floor.”

“The second is the Philippines Kape Musang and it’s produced in the highlands of the Benguet region in the northern Philippines at around 1900 metres above sea level. The droppings are collected by the Kankanaey and Ibaloi tribes who are indigenous people who have inhabited this land for thousands of years. They gather the droppings left by the Musangs – this is the local name for the Civet Cats – and they then carefully wash the coffee beans and lay them out in the sun to dry. It’s great because, in the past, the Musangs were hunted, but because of the popularity of this coffee and the income it brings to the community, they are now fiercely protected by the local people.”

“The third is the Balmadies Civet Cat Coffee, or ‘Monkey Parchment’ as it is called in its native India, though monkeys have nothing to do with it at all! This Kopi Luwak is collected at Balmadies Estate, a coffee farm at 1,400 metres above sea level in the Nilgiris region in southern India. The Estate uses the Bio-Dynamic method of production, which not only includes the principles and practices of Organic cultivation, but also takes into account the cosmic movements of the Sun and Moon during cultivation, including fertilization, pruning and handling, so it’s in step with nature’s cycles. As far as we know, this is the only single estate and Bio-Dynamic civet coffee in the world.”

“Finally, the fourth is Sumatra Kopi Musang. It’s produced in Banda Aceh in northern Sumatra at around 1,300 metres above sea level. Legend has it that Kopi Musang coffee was discovered by a Dutch Governor in the 17th century. At that time each and every coffee bean produced in Sumatra was exported to Holland and so the indigenous Sumatran people were left with no coffee for their own consumption. Their only option to drink coffee was to recover the one mixed with the droppings of the Civets. Then, on a regional tour, the Dutch Governor smelt a very rich coffee aroma coming from a local hut. He drank the coffee and fell in love with its sweet taste and, they say that from that day onwards, the only coffee that the Dutch Governor would drink was Kopi Musang. Well, it’s only a legend, but I can quite understand why the Governor loved it so much!”

Guy Wilmot commented, “We will see how the public respond to our new coffees. There are definitely other Kopi Luwak coffees that we are interested in.”

Sea Island Coffee Ltd
Clara Malmros