ITB Team Develops Coffee Comparable to Luwak Coffee

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  • Luwak coffee. TEMPO/Nurochman Arrazie

    Luwak coffee. TEMPO/Nurochman Arrazie

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta -  A team of researchers from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) introduced an innovation in the field of coffee through a fermentation process of Arabica green beans entitled the Ferofee—derived from fermented coffee.

    The beans that are said to have a richer taste than the renowned Luwak coffee beans have yet to be commercialized since they are still waiting for patent approval. The latest research in coffee fermentation was introduced in the ITB-CEO Net & Technopreneurship Festival on Tuesday, September 18, and was led by Pingkan Aditiawati and Jayen Aris Kriswantoro.

    According to Jayen, the team had developed the beans since 2016, inspired by Luwak coffee that is fermented by bacteria and microbes that give the coffee a nudge in taste. “The process of a Luwak coffee bean’s fermentation process is through the Luwak’s digestive system,” said Jayen. 

    Read: Merapi Coffee Introduces Honey and Luwak Processed Beans

    The team fermented the green beans by isolating certain bacteria from certain sources. “The fermentation activity is akin to Luwak that breaks large molecules such as carbohydrate and protein that are in coffee beans,” said Jayen. The fermented beans are then dried before being roasted.

    Based on the cupping session by an internationally-certified Q-grader in Bandung, the ITB’s coffee beans scored above the luwak coffee that was used as a scoring reference. “Our coffee scored 85.33 while the non-fermented beans scored 80.25,” Jayen explained. 

    Read: Indonesian Solok Radjo Coffee to Penetrate US Market

    The ITB team used an Arabica coffee bean that was grown in Sumedang at the altitude of 1,400-1,600 meters above ocean level. Pingkan then explained that the research was based on metabolomics data. After requiring the coffee’s composition, the team emulated the taste of a Luwak coffee with several chosen microbes.

    The team is then able to re-engineer a coffee to have certain tastes that can fit consumers’ palate and in a larger scale can cater to industry requirements. “You only need to change the microbes to make it taste nutty or fruity. It depends on people’s preferred taste,” said Pingkan.