Mountains and coffee. What could be better brew?
After our sweat-free climb at Mt. Maculot rockies, Travel Tipid did a sidetrip specifically to taste “the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world”. At Sto. Tomas, Batangas was where we headed after, to the jumpoff point of Mt. Manabu.
Find the Brewery at Mt. Manabu
Do not even ask about the climb to Mt. Manabu, because it was a mere walk in the… forest. Pretty soon, without stopping to catch our breaths, we reached the famed Station 5 where the exotic drink is being brewed.
Civet Coffee is made from the excrement of civet cats (musang in Tagalog), which feeds on the coffee cherries found in Mt. Manabu. The civet’s digestive mechanism improves the taste of the beans which are then ground and roasted into the famous brew.
The coffee is called many names: kape motit in the Cordillera region, kape alamid in Tagalog, kape melo/kape musang in Mindanao, kopi luwak in Indonesia, kafe-laku in East Timor, cà phê Chồn (“weasel coffee”) in Vietnam.
Free Taste Coffee
A thermos of kape alamid is given away for free to mountaineers of Mt. Manabu. Three cups did it for me, but only because I’d hate to be gluttonous. T’was SO good. Loved the clear, distinct taste and strong aroma of the coffee.
Tatay also sells packs of kape alamid for only P100, which is peanuts compared to its market price. You will never see the coffee sold for this cheap. And it’s found right in the middle of the forest of Mt. Manabu!
Unfortunately, drinking civet coffee has been discouraged because of caging of wild civet cats. Whereas the musang was first considered a pest that feeds on crops, they are now valuable because of the high demand for civet coffee in the Western market.
Since it was getting dark, we abandoned our plans of going to the peak of Mt. Manabu and instead enjoyed more cups of coffee and conversation with our fellow climbers.
Because it combined two things I love — mountain climbing and coffee — this short trek to Mt. Manabu is one of my favorites. Still, civet cagers should really keep this in mind:
I hope you can taste the kape alamid for yourself, preferrably up at Mt. Manabu. Next time, I promise to finish the entire climb! (UPDATE: I returned and I finished!)