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Is there any actual difference in the chemistry or components of a Kopi Luwak coffee bean, and a more traditional coffee bean? If so, what are those differences?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Actually they recently came up with a reliable test for civet coffee. Apparently a great deal of supposedly authentic stuff never actually traveled through the bowels of a cat.

According to the abstract, the levels of citric acid, malic acid, and the inositol/pyroglutamic acid are so much higher in kopi luwak that their ratios can be used to validate mixes with other beans where the proportion of kopi luwak is 50% or greater.

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I hope all that's actually coupled to some desirable flavor compounds as well, so it's not just... more sour coffee. –  Jefromi Sep 11 '13 at 15:55
    
@jerfromi It's supposed to taste better, but I've never tried it. There is another theory that the reason it tastes better has nothing to do with passing through the civet's digestion, but instead that the civet is a choosy eater, and eats higher quality beans than the pickers pick. –  Satanicpuppy Sep 11 '13 at 16:59

I think that coffee from the Civet has lower levels of both nutritional chemicals and psychoactive (including caffeine) compared to normal coffee beans, because in the Civet most of it has been digested.

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Any sources for the claim that the civet digests the chemicals in the coffee? I also removed some of the editorializing. If you feel that it helped to answer the question, feel free to add it back... –  sourd'oh Oct 25 '13 at 22:05

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