Jember, East Java. Inspired by the popularity of civet coffee, a research center in the East Java town of Jember made known that it is developing a chocolate equivalent of the Indonesian delicacy.
Like civet coffee, “civet cocoa” refers to cocoa beans that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civets.
According to Cahyo Ismayadi, a researcher at the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Center (Puslitkoka), production of such a product is made possible by the fact that civets actually prefer cocoa beans to coffee beans — as long as the outer layer of the bean has been peeled off.
“Civets will eat coffee beans simply because cocoa beans are covered in layers of skin that taste bitter and must be peeled off. If they’re given [peeled beans], civets prefer cocoa,” Cahyo said.
“The development [of civet cocoa] is actually market-driven,” Cahyo told a press briefing in Jember on Friday, as quoted by Indonesian news portal Kompas.com. “All of this time we knew about civet coffee, so why not try and produce civet cocoa?”
Cocoa beans are commonly produced through a fermentation process, in which the beans are stored in a box for several days, with or without yeast. Civets can replace the box’s role by eating the beans and fermenting them in their digestive system.
Cahyo said the cocoa beans produced tasted “good,” although his team was still experimenting further to develop a better flavor.
“We hope the civet cocoa products can enter the market by the end of the year,” Cahyo told Kompas.