Sang Tao 8 (Legendee)
No weasels were harmed in the making of this coffee...
French colonists, realising that conditions were ideal for coffee cultivation, first planted coffee in the South Central Highlands region of Vietnam. The coffee also proved popular with a local resident: the common palm civet (Paradoxurus Hermaphoditus), a weasel-like animal (actually a 'viverrid'), which quickly developed a taste for the sweet, fleshy outer layers of the coffee 'cherries' - the fruit of the coffee bush.
It was found that the fruit seeds, which we know as coffee 'beans', passed though the civet largely undigested and the resulting beans, when washed and sun-dried, had undergone a remarkable change to produce a uniquely smooth and delicious flavour. Perhaps this was partly because the civet would choose only the best and ripest beans to eat, but also because the beans had been modified by enzyme reactions on their journey.
The legendary 'Café Chôn' ('fox coffee' - also known as Kopi Luwak in Indonesia) is rare, very expensive (approximately US$350 per kilo) and is sometimes of dubious authenticity. Indeed, many people who claim to have tried weasel coffee in Vietnam have probably actually been drinking Trung Nguyên's 'Sang Tao 8' coffee.
Sang Tao 8 is produced by an enzyme treatment process developed exclusively by Trung Nguyên that mimics the changes produced in the coffee beans by the civet and produces a coffee every bit as distinctive and good as the genuine article but at about a tenth of the price (and, fortunately, without any involvement from the weasels!).
The special process used in making this coffee seems to release a whole spectrum of flavours that normally lie dormant. Rich and complex, Sang Tao 8 is superb when served hot, sensational when served iced, and is certainly one of the finest coffees in the world.
(Sang Tao 8 was formerly known as 'Legendee')