Worldâ€™s priciest coffee gifted to Vietnamâ€™s VIP guests
Got money to burn? Pick up a kilo of Vietnamâ€™s famous â€˜weasel coffeeâ€™ for your gourmet friends back home. It will only set you back $3000, according to a vnExpress report.
Even coffee connoisseurs in Buon Me Thuot and Dak Lak, the center of Vietnamâ€™s coffee growing industry, regions in Vietnam, dare not claim that theyâ€™ve ever tasted the genuine article, a coffee of legendary flavor.
However, Vietnamâ€™s so-called â€œweasel coffeeâ€ does exist, in very small quantities. It is brewed from ripe beans that have been eaten by palm civets and have passed through their digestive tracts.
Dang Le Nguyen Vu, Director of Trung Nguyen CafÃ© Chain, said Trung Nguyen has produced its own weasel coffee, named â€œWeasel.â€ A kilogramme of is priced at $3000, six times higher than Indonesiaâ€™s similar Kopi Luwak.
â€œVietnamâ€™s weasel coffee is expensive because the production process is very complicated and it is entirely manual,â€ Vu explained. Unlike in Indonesia, our suppliers do not farm weasels and force them to eat ordinary coffee beans.â€
One reason weasel coffee is so delicious is that the wild â€˜weaselsâ€™ (actually the palm civet, a forest dwelling fructivore) always choose good and ripe coffee beans to eat. The civets arenâ€™t interested in the beans, but in the fleshy fruit that surrounds the beans.
Caged civets that are fed a diet of coffee fruit will produce coffee of lower quality than the wild civets who choose their own coffee fruits to eat, says Vu. The ones that â€œproduceâ€ the best coffee live wild, but in declining numbers, in the Central Highlands provinces of Buon Me Thuot, Kon Tum and Dak Nong.
Inside the civetsâ€™ digestive tracts, according to Wikipedia, the beans undergo an alchemy that produces a rich, strong coffee, â€œincredibly full-bodied and syrupy. Itâ€™s thick with a hint of chocolate, and lingers on the tongue with a long, clean aftertaste.â€
Trung Nguyen buys the raw â€˜weasel coffeeâ€™ beans for from one million to ten million dong per kilo from farmers or middlemen. After that, Trung Nguyen cures the beans according to a strictly controlled process. No more than 24 hours must pass from the time the civets defecate the beans to the beginning of processing. The coffee is buried under the ground for 343 days, during which time they slough off remaining coverings. The beans are never processed by machines.
Because the manufacture of weasel coffee is very complicated, the price of this rare product is very high. A 250 gramme package sells for $750. Trung Nguyen only makes 40-50 kilogrammes of its Weasel brand coffee each year. All of it is reserved for VIP clients.
Some of the Trung Nguyen Weasel coffee is gifted to important foreign visitors. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took home a package when she visited Vietnam last month. Vietnamâ€™s President gave a package to her husband, too, when the American president visited Vietnam in 2000. The King of Spain and the Spanish prime minister have been similarly honored.
Though the Trung Nguyen Weasel coffee is made only from beans ingested and defecated by palm civets living in wild, some other Central Highlands enterprises have been trying to farm civets to produce coffee.
The coffee made from farmed civets can sell for as much as $600 per kilo, said a businessman who makes the product to order. â€œIf you see coffee called â€˜weasel coffeeâ€™ (ca phÃª chá»“n) in the market selling for less, itâ€™s not the real thing.â€ VnExpress
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Tags: Vietnam Coffee, weasel coffee