I first heard of kopi luwak from the 2008 movie Bucket List (literally, “things to do” before one “kicks the bucket” or dies) starring Academy Award winners Jack Nicholson (as hospital magnate and billionaire Edward Cole) and Morgan Freeman (as blue-collar mechanic Carter Chambers). Cole drinks a specific brand of coffee called kopi luwak, one of the most expensive coffees in the world, and Carter and Cole both “laugh till they cry” (an item from Carter’s bucket list) when Cole finds out that his favorite coffee comes from the undigested beans defecated from the Asian palm civet. Well, so much for the movies. However, the movie did bring out the curious in me as I added “trying out kopi luwak” in my own bucket list. Only lately did I find out that we had a local version called kape alamid (in the Tagalog area, but called motit coffee in the Cordilleras).
Kafe alamid comes from civets (you guessed it, locally called alamid or musang) who eat the coffee beans for their fleshy fruit pulp. Proteolytic enzymes in the civet’s stomach seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids and, when defecated, the beans keep their shape. After gathering, they are thoroughly washed, sun dried and lightly roasted. S.O.U.L (Soul for Spice of Urban Life) Café in Rosario, La Union was our first stopover (6:30 AM) on the road to Baguio City during the 5-day, North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) and Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC)-sponsored Lakbay Norte 2 Tour (officially launched on January 23 from the Victory Liner Terminal near Kamias St. in Quezon City).
|Breakfast of Alaminos longanisa, garlic fried rice
and tortang talong
Our hearty Filipino breakfast combo here consisted of Alaminos logganisa, boneless daing na bangus, garlic fried rice, hot chocolate, tortang talong made with creamy egg pesto and olive oil and, to kick start our day, an expresso shot of kape alamid with caramel. According to the menu, this expresso shot costs PhP350 and, according to the cafe manager, was sourced all the way from Cavite. This brewed concoction truly lived up to its name as one of the most expensive coffee in the world as it proved to be more aromatic and less bitter than the other coffee treats I’ve tried. Banish the thought of where it came from and you get a truly great coffee experience, with its great flavor without the bitter after taste of other brewed coffee. Scratch this one from my bucket list.