Civet Coffee / Kopi Luwak : Defecated Coffee ?

I remember my post about puke coffee. Weasel eat ripe coffees. Digest the pulp but fail to dissolve the seeds. Then eventually vomit it. The seeds are washed and light roasted. Then voila! You have a very awesome puke coffee! Correct me if I’m wrong.

I really want to try this thing!

The story does not end yet. You can find the coffee alamid or kopi luwak from Bote Central and Bantai Civet Coffee. So what is the difference from puke coffee? They are basically the same except for one thing. The first is puked while the second is defecated. (update September, 2011: I never really sure if the term “puke” they are using is correct).

Civet cats (a relative of weasels?) eat coffees. They are very selective, they pick the most ripe coffees. The coffees sit for a while inside their stomach. Some sort of fermentation occur which remove the bitterness and give unique and smooth taste. Then the seeds are defecated — the final act of digestion by which organisms eliminate solid, semisolid or liquid waste material from the digestive tract via the anus –. Then the seeds are washed and light roasted.

This might be unsanitary cause it may harbor E.coli bacteria. Don’t worry! This is not proven yet. Try it now and taste the difference!

bantai civet coffee

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How to Make Coconut Lambanog – Vodka

Before we jump. Again. I like to reiterate that lambanog is a natural poison that needs to be tamed before selling and consumption. Methanol is natural part of every alcohol derived from wood source, coconut, sugar palm, buri palm and others. It can be as dangerous as cassava and the not so popular nami plant. If enough is consumed, it can be instrument of one’s inevitable death.

This matter first came to my attention when some fishermen perished after drinking session. The alcoholic beverage of concern was found to have high levels of methanol. I could not recall when and where the incident happen.  It was an isolated case. Perhaps the fault of micro scale producer, failing to removed most of the methanol.  Could also be the drinkers fault. Alcohol is supposed to be sacred. It should be drink moderately. Not drink like there is no tomorrow. Heavy drinkers are most likely to get lethal dose.

There were another incidents recently.  These were disturbing because it occurred in separate provinces. Laguna, Quezon and Batangas.  One producer maybe large enough to distribute to three provinces and may have caused the fatalities. Seems that is not the case.  I am wondering how several manufacturers made the same mistakes at almost the same time.

It might be a push to discredit the local brands and boost sales of foreign. Business is business. No matter how anyone do it, it is the result that matters. If the locals are discredited, its export market might decline too.  Anyone can buy, repack and re-sell. Adding toxin mid-way can be done with ease. With PET bottles as usual packaging, injecting poison  is not difficult. I have no proofs, just speculations.

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Lambanog is very popular Filipino alcoholic drink. Also known as coconut vodka or distilled coconut spirit. However when improperly processed, it can contain significant amount of methanol – a deadly wood alcohol. Philippine BFAD mandates that all alcohol manufactures should get license to operate, LTO. Due to this fact, selling of unregistered alcoholic drink is strictly prohibited.

Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a flammable and poisonous liquid. Ingestion of 30 ml is considered fatal. Absorption through the skin or inhalation of vapor may also lead to toxic effects. Poisoning is due to methanol being converted into formaldehyde and formic acid in the liver and kidneys.

Characteristic symptoms of methanol poisoning include rapid  shallow breathing and visual disturbances which often leads to irreversible blindness and severe abdominal pain. Other symptoms include head ache, gastro-intestinal disturbances, pain in the back and extremities and coma which may terminate in death due to respiratory failure.

How to Make Lambanog

1. Lambanog can be produced using the process of distillation. The freshly gathered coconut tree sap is oyster white in color, has a nearly neutral pH, and is already inherently sweet tasting by nature. Allowed to ferment further if too sweet and less alcoholic.

2. Put desired amount of tuba or coconut sap in distillation chamber. Apply heat until it evaporates.

3. Condensed the evaporated alcohol using flowing water at the top of the distillation chamber to liquefy the alcohol in gaseous phase.

4. Set aside the first ten to 20 ounces of distillate because it contains high concentration of methanol. This is locally called head or “bating”. Or do the collection when temperature reaches 93°C to 94°C.

5. Continue distillation until 80 proof alcohol is gathered, determined using alcohol hydrometer. Don’t let alcohol concentration go below 80 proof. Below 80 proof is of low quality.

bfad itdi

How to Collect Sap from Sugar Palm (irok)

Sugar palm sap  or juice can be processed to alcohol, vinegar, juice, sugar and syrup.  A good quality sap is necessary in order to produce high quality products. The following steps are useful to obtain high quality sugar palm sap.
1. Harvest sap from male flower. The sap from female inflorescence is of inferior quality. Male flower will rot after blooming while female flower will yield fruits that can be processed into sweet delicacy. To differentiate, male flower is color violet while female is color green.
2. Prepare the flower before tapping. Clean the stalks from bracts  and dirt. Rock the stalk once a day everyday until the flower attracts hundreds of fruit flies. Then beat the stalk lightly with stick until it become swollen. Cut the stalk just above the highest flower bud. This process can increase chances of getting a good drip from the stalk.

3. Get a wide-mouth plastic container. Hang it just below the tip of cut stem. Cover it with plastic to prevent insects and impurities from entering. The juice will begin to drip from stem apex.
4. Harvest it twice a day, early morning and late afternoon. For every collection,  slice 5 mm of apex to maintain continuous drippings.  Juice quantity increases during rainy seasons and decreases during summer. It also decreases as the apex get closer to base.
5. Filter harvest with cheesecloth and transfer to clean container.
6. The sap turns quickly to alcohol and vinegar. It is essential to pasteurize it to arrest fermentation if the intended products are juice drink, sugar and syrup.

How to Make Natural Calamansi Juice

Every time I catch cold, cough or flu, I rush to market to buy lots of calamansi and made my very own calamansi juice. I drink juice as part of water therapy.


1. Wash calamansi and drain.
2. Cut the upper portion taking care not to cut the seeds. Cut seeds contribute to astringent taste.
3. Manually squeeze or use fruit extractor.
4. Add water to dilute to desired taste. Mix sugar, honey or whatever you prefer.
5. If a clear juice is desired, the so called calamansi nip.  Allow to stand for three days, inside refrigerator, until the fruit pulp floats. Siphon the nip taking care not to disturb the floated pulp.
6. I prefer not to remove the fruit pulp because fibers aid in digestion. If you love fibers, just skip step 5.
7. To make  it shelf-stable. Pasteurize at 70ºC for 15 minutes and pack in sterilized glass bottle. Refrigeration will also do the trick fine.


How to Remove Astringent Taste in Calamansi Juice

A very common practice is cutting  calamansi in middle crosswise prior to squeezing. Halves are easier to squeeze. We are also attempting to maximize the use, e.g. half calamansi per serving of pancit.

When cutting calamansi in its middle part, we are also cutting the seeds. Those cut seeds contribute to astringent taste.  It might not be an issue for everyday home use but we should pay attention to it when it comes to micro to large scale juice production.  Astringent tasting calamansi  juice (mapakla) is not acceptable.

The right practice is cut it on its tip near the stalk. It avoids seed cut. We need extra effort to squeeze it efficiently.

Mechanical extraction of calamasi may break some seeds from time to time. In this case, an enzyme called niringinase naringinase is used to removed the astringent taste.

washing and cutting calamansi

Fruit plus Milk Juice (Calamansi, Pineapple), Is it Possible ?

The mix of milk and fruits, especially the acid fruits such as calamansi, pineapple, mango and guyabano, is possible only if: 1) a very diluted fruit juice will be used,  2) artificial fruit flavor will be used, and 3) fruit acidity is neutralized by adding alkaline ingredients (the likes of baking soda).

If we combine natural juice with milk, the resulting mixture will undergo coagulation, the curdling of milk due to acids.

As a demonstration, I prepared a dilution of evaporated milk in a 350-ml bottle. Then squeezed two medium calamansi and mixed it with the milk preparation. After few minutes, the resulting milk curds were evident.

milk curds inside calamansi juice

The combination of milk and fruit juice for home immediate consumption is fine. But for commercial purposes, you must invent a technology that prevents the coagulation of milk with acids.

There was a company which advertised a fruity milk products. How they did it. Pehaps they used option one.  Adding fruits to yogurt is fine. The yogurt coagulated milk already. Fruit acidity will have no further affect, except for consistency and flavor.

How about Yakult? This product is sour as result of whatever process it maybe.  It has no curds.  They might have removed it prior or after the process. Adding fruits is possible.

Cheese? Maybe!