Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mugged: Sumatra Kopi Luwak [Sea Island]

What does Mugged mean?

Subject: Sea Island Coffee 
Mugged: Sumatra Kopi Musang
Rating: 4+ [see key]

While I normally strongly push for buying locally, every once in a while it's interesting to get a product from afar. Similarly, I normally review coffees within the continent but to spice up my pace, I was afforded the chance recently to review some coffee from Sea Island Coffee out of London. Sea Island focuses on rare and well-processed coffees, offering such high-priced beans as Kopi Luwak and Jamaican Blue.

Of the two coffees I received, first up was their Sumatra Kopi Musang, a Kopi Luwak coffee that (refreshingly) lacked all the fancy stickers promising authenticity. More concerned about its overall taste and less about whether it all came from a civet, I plowed into the bag infusing the coffee via drip, siphon and french press.

The drip brought out notes of bourbon, wheat, cranberry, Total (the cereal) and maple syrup amidst a medium body. A good brew that proved sweet and mellow.

The french press held similar flavors, with notes of cherry, maple syrup, biscuits, a bit of bourbon, some bacon and a light/medium body. Also sweet and a little richer than the drip.

The siphon held out cherry, wheat, biscuits, bran and a little milk within a medium body. This sampling had much more of a single dimension to it, though still tasty.

Amongst the Kopi Luwaks I've had, this one ranks at the top (sadly I've sampled only a few and some weren't good at all). Amidst coffees, the coffee had a pleasant sweetness along with some hardy notes, but the coffee didn't have the depth of flavor that I would have liked. Still, if you're looking for an affordable and decent Kopi Luwak, give Sea Island's Sumatra Kopi Musang a swirl.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.


Endang said...

Hello Bill,
You already know that many countries importing civet coffee beans from Indonesia and then process them and export them back as their products. So I want to know, from several civet coffee you've ever tried, is there anything that really came from Indonesia, I mean produced by the company in Indonesia ?

Bill said...


I have not tried anything grown, harvested AND roasted in Indonesia. Any recommendations?


Endang said...

I actually was trying to support some SMEs of civet coffee (large employers can promote their own) to be more developed, among others by advising them to send their products so that you can test it. Hopefully successful.

Hans Hamid said...

Me grown, harvested, and roasted in Indonesia. At Our kopi luwak was from west java highland. Maybe you could sample sometime

LouisLu said...

Great blog and thanks for sharing your opinion on the topic. Kopi Luwak was on my bucket list too. I am living currently in Vietnam and will be in Indonesia 6 months per year starting this April.

In Vietnam we have a similar coffee (Idea has been maybe imported from Indonesia). It's sometimes offered as gift to diplomats visiting Vietnam.

I am just wondering when you talk about exploitation and counterfeiting . Is there a way to find responsible producers who offer real guarantees? I see here that price can be up to $1,000 per kilo???