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us, we appreciate your interest!
What is so special about
Although Vietnam is now the largest robusta coffee-growing nation in the
world, its product has had a reputation for being
less-than-premium. That reputation is changing
rapidly, as the growers and government are making
major efforts to improve quality and purity. While
much of the crop is still destined for bulk instant
coffee production, there are small farmers that are
growing excellent robusta and arabica beans, and
take great pride in their production. We only deal
with these small farmers and their top-quality
product. The Vietnamese also have a unique roasting
process. While most modern roasting happens at 500 degrees
Fahrenheit, Vietnamese roasting is done at lower
temperature, in fact, traditionally over an open
fire. The longer roasting time at lower temperatures
allows the flavor to develop throughout the bean,
while avoiding the bitterness caused by charring the
exterior of the bean. The result is a full, rich
flavor without the bitterness, or charred taste, of
modern dark roast coffee.
Weasel Coffee - fact or myth?
Somehow, it was discovered that certain weasels (or
civets, or 'luwak', depending on the country), dine
nightly on the best, ripest coffee cherries. At some
point in time, some brave person decided to try and
make coffee from the partially-digested beans that
had passed through the weasel. The result was the
amazing transformed coffee that we know as "Kopi
Luwak, or "Weasel", with its distinctive rich aroma
and smooth, mocha flavor and texture.
The streets of every major Southeast-Asian city are
crammed with small coffee-houses and shops that
cater to locals and tourists alike. In Hanoi, for
example, you cannot walk down a street in Hoan Kiem
without having to scoot around a stack of plastic
jars labeled "Weasel 1, Weasel 2", and so on, the
numbers designating the quality of the coffee
contained therein. Observation tells us that there
are not enough Weasels in Asia to produce the amount
of coffee that is labeled Weasel, just in Hanoi
alone! Often quoted is the number 700 Kg, or about
1,500 pounds of Weasel coffee produced every year.
That would make the retail price of authentic pure
Weasel coffee around $300 per pound!
So, the reality is that authentic Weasel coffee does
in fact exist. It is safe and thoroughly clean,
probably cleaner than regular coffee, and it does
taste wonderful if you like smooth, mellow, rather
sweet coffee that is more like mocha than "cafe
Americano". And, as a tourist attraction and
something to do on your "bucket list", it has its
place. But are you going to drink $300/lb. coffee on
a regular basis?
We picked the Weasel to represent Weasel brand
Premium Vietnamese coffees, because he (or she?)
represents the best coffee that Vietnam has to
offer. Our coffees are blends of the finest,
small-plantation, small batch, roasted coffee
cherries, selected by the farmers and the Weasels.
Our two top coffees do contain a small amount of
authentic, Weasel coffee. It's what gives them their
earthy, smoky, mocha-like flavor and texture. For
everyday drinking, it's Daily Delight, which is a
perfectly-balanced blend of Robusta and Arabica,
strong on flavor, higher in caffeine, but with less
indigestion afterwards! Occasionally, we also carry
small amounts of 100% authentic weasel coffee that
we are able to buy directly from the farmers.
Sourcing at the plantation ensures authenticity.
Fair trade, or better?
Fair trade certification implies that small farmers
and hired labor receive a fair price for their
produce, and that cooperatives are run
democratically for the benefit of all producers.
Certification adds about $1.00 per pound to the
wholesale price of coffee, paid to the certification
agencies.I'd rather give that money to the farmer and his
hired hands. If we are trying to avoid exploitation,
then what better way than to deal directly with the
farmer? Fair trade, or farmer's market... Which way
is better for the farmer?
On my first visit to Vietnam, I discovered a
surprisingly sophisticated coffee culture, where
coffee is really a ceremony. I found this intriguing
and felt it would be interesting for North America
as well. I formed a partnership with a young Hanoian
entrepreneur, and we imported our first batch of
Weasel brand coffee. The flavor and quality of our
initial three varieties has been well-received by
the American public. We hope that you will try and
enjoy our unique coffees!
Delightis a flavorful and aromatic blend of Robusta and
Arabica beans, yielding a silky-smooth brew with a full flavor
and pleasant aroma. This is the coffee for those of you
who really like the authentic flavor of coffee.
Private Reserve adds the complexity of chồn
to the blend. This adds a strong, pleasant mocha aroma
and flavor to the coffee, perfect for those that like a smooth,
less acidic, and slightly sweet taste.
Masterpiece is roasted to a medium dark color, with just a hint of
chocolate added at the end. When this blend is in the roaster,
everyone in old Hanoi knows about it. And the flavor? Well, it’s
a dessert coffee, perfect with that sliver of cheesecake or that