Asian Scientist (Aug. 22, 2013) – Scientists have developed the first scientific method to verify the authenticity of Kopi Luwak, the world’s costliest coffee.
Kopi Luwak (Indonesian for “civet coffee”) is the world’s most expensive coffee, costing up to $80 a cup.
As the name suggests, civets (cat-like mammals native to tropical Asia and Africa) play a role in the making of Kopi Luwak.
Asian palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) eat coffee berries, digest the soft fruit surrounding the bean and excrete the bean. Workers then retrieve the coffee beans and clean, ferment and roast them.
Because of its high price, Kopi Luwak is a tempting target for fraud, with ordinary coffee sold as Kopi Luwak or real Kopi Luwak being adulterated with cheap beans.
Now, in a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers from Indonesia and Japan have found a way to scientifically differentiate pure Kopi Luwak from ordinary coffee beans or Kopi Luwak that has been mixed with cheaper coffee.
In their study, the researchers analyzed chemical fingerprints present in 21 different coffee bean extracts and identified unique chemical signatures that are present only in pure Kopi Luwak.
They then showed that his unique chemical signature can be used to distinguish pure Kopi Luwak from fake or adulterated Kopi Luwak.
Source: ACS; Photo: ohallmann/Flickr/CC.
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