At those heady prices Kopi Luwak is ripe for counterfeiting and adulterating (though for yours truly watering down would be a feature, not a bug). But now a Japanese scientist may have come up with a way of detecting whether the dark brown juice in the cup is the genuine article.
Dr. Fukusaki’s quest began with many piles of civet faeces [blogger's note: British spelling makes it sound classier] , as well as undigested coffee beans from plantations in Bali, Java and Sumatra, all of which he treated by roasting them at 205°C and then grinding them up. Instead of popping them into a percolator at this point, though, he mixed them with distilled water, methanol and chloroform to extract the sorts of chemicals that give coffee its flavour. He then ran the extracts through a gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer, to see what was in them.As the article points out, coffee drinkers can just add the chemicals themselves and get a much cheaper drink similar to Kopi Luwak. We'll wait and see; for us it will also need to pass the smell test. © 2013 Stephen Yuen
The crucial giveaways of Kopi Luwak turned out to be four substances: citric acid, malic acid, pyroglutamic acid and inositol.