Kape alamid is a type of coffee found and produced in the Philippines. It is obtained from the droppings of the civet cat or alamid (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus philippinensis), a cat-like mammal. Despite its unusual origin, this coffee is one of the most coveted and most expensive in the world. It is described to have a chocolate and hazelnut aroma and taste. Indonesia also produces its own variety of the coffee, known there as Kopi Luwak.
Origin and production
The production of kape alamid begins with the civet cat feeding on fresh and ripe coffee berries in the forest. The mammal digests the fleshy pericarp of the fruit, while retaining the seed. The undigested seeds are then excreted, and the farmers collect, wash, and lightly roast them.
The coffee is described as having a dark chocolate-hazelnut taste and aroma. It is said that the civet cat's digestive enzymes break down the proteins that give normal beans the bitter taste, thus liberating complex flavors not usually tasted. However this claim is still under investigation by scientists.
Kape alamid was considered to be just a local delicacy among the people of the mountains of Southern Luzon and Kalinga, who have prepared and consumed the coffee for many generations now. They said they were hesitant to sell the coffee because of its unusual origin. But after the discovery of local entrepreneurs, it is now sold commercially, albeit to a limited extent.
The coffee is usually exported to other countries, where a bag (¼ lb.) is being sold at $90. Japan and the United States are among the leading importers of this coffee.
Indonesia produces a similar variety of coffee called Kopi Luwak, named after the common name for their endemic civet cat subspecies.
- Aspiras, Reggie (2008). Coffee ‘alamid’ tastes like choco and so much more. Inquirer.net. Accessed on October 21, 2008.
- Toms, Sarah (2006). The Philippines' taste for civet coffee. BBCNews.com. Accessed on October 21, 2008.