Trung Nguyen Gourmet Fox and Weasel Coffees: Asian Civets, Vietnamese Beans, and World Markets

by DerdriuMarriner

Vietnam's fox and weasel coffees belong on the list of the world’s animal drinks. They have nothing to do with foxes or weasels. They instead use civet-ingested coffee beans.

Southeast Asia’s diverse languages generally agree in equating civets with foxes (Vulpes) or weasels (Mustela).
• Civets appear fox-like because of bushy, long tails and weasel-like because of diminutive, fleet limbs.
• But they are considered feliform (“cat-like”), not caniform (“dog-like”).
• Scientists taxonomically associate civets with feline-like mongooses (Herpestes).

But regarding diets, civets never can be likened to foxes, mongooses, or weasels.
• They count among the world’s carnivores (“meat-eaters”).
• But they express omnivorous (“everything-eating”) tendencies.
• They favor what foxes, mongooses, and weasels do not: fruits.

Throughout Southeast Asia and within Vietnam therefore, they find plantation fruits, shelter, and water irresistible.
• They ingest coffee berries.
• They leave behind trails of expelled pits whose beans grind into Trung Nguyên's gourmet brews.

*****

Trung Nguyên Corporation
82 - 84 Bùi Thị Xuân
P. Bến Thành
Quận 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Email: www.trungnguyen.com.vn
Fax: 84 8 3925 1848
Phone: 84 8 3925 1852

*****

Trung Nguyên gourmet caffeine products: cà phê chồn (weasel coffee)

Trung Nguyên products
Trung Nguyên products

 

Africa and Asia accommodate civet bio-geographical needs for native distributional ranges. Africa just appeals natively to:

  • African civets (Civettictis civetta);
  • African palm civets (Nandinia binotata).

Seven of the 10 species endemic to continental or maritime East, South or Southeast Asia belong on the census of Vietnam’s native fauna. Five of the 7 species that include Vietnam within their native homelands claim partial distributional ranges within the socialist republic’s borders:

  • Gem-faced masked palm civets (Paguma larvata);
  • Large Indian civets (Viverra zibetha);
  • Large-spotted civets (Viverra megaspila);
  • Owston’s palm civets (Chrotogale owstoni);
  • Small-toothed palm civets (Arctogalidia trivirgata).

So only two species find niches throughout the Southeast Asian sovereign state:

  • Asian common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus);
  • Small Indian civets (Viverricula indica).

 

juvenile Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus): one of only two species with country-wide niches in Vietnam

Situ Gede village, Bogor, West Java Province, Indonesia
Situ Gede village, Bogor, West Java Province, Indonesia

 

Of all of Vietnam’s more or less sympatric (“same-ranging”) civets, Asian common palm civets appear most frequently and most numerously on coffee farms and plantations. Their populations historically are so plentiful that mammalogists recognize at least 30 Asian common palm civet subspecies. Zoologists attribute Vietnamese bio-geographies to at least 2 of the above-referenced subspecies:

  • Cochin common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus cochinensis), officially identified for amateurs and professionals outside Asia by Frankfurt-born German mammalogist Ernst Schwarz (December 1, 1889 – 1962) in 1911;  
  • Laotian common palm civets (P.h. laotum), formally described for amateurs and professionals outside Asia by Stockholm-born Swedish diplomat, foreign affairs minister, and wildlife-loving naturalist August Louis Fersen Gyldenstolpe (July 22, 1849 – June 30, 1928) in 1917.

 

Vietnam's Central Highlands provide ideal ecosystems not only for civets but also for coffee:

coffee plantation in area of Buôn Ma Thuột, capital city and coffee center of Đắk Lắk Province in Central Highlands
Buôn Ma Thuột, Đắk Lắk Province, Central Highlands, Vietnam
Buôn Ma Thuột, Đắk Lắk Province, Central Highlands, Vietnam

 

Primary-growth vegetated niches within deciduous, evergreen, and semi-evergreen forests appeal to Asian common palm civets. But disturbed habitats at altitudes up to 7,874.02 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level beckon within:

  • Forest edges and fragments near farms, plantations, and villages;
  • Scrub vegetation;
  • Secondary-growth and selectively-logged forests.

Civets particularly find their environmental requirements met in Vietnam’s central highland provinces of:

  • Đắk Lắk;
  • Gia Lai;
  • Kon Tum;
  • Lâm Đồng.

Elevational adaptability inspires Asian common palm civet overlaps with:

  • Black coffee (Coffea excelsa) cultivation up to 2,460.63 feet (750 meters) above sea level;
  • Robust coffee (Coffea canephora) exploitation at 1,640.42 – 2,296.59 feet (500 – 700 meters) above sea level;
  • Arabian (Coffea arabica) production at 2,624.67+ feet (800+ meters) above sea level.

 

Coffea robusta flowers: healthy bloomings in Vietnam's coffee-producing Central Highlands

Đắk Lắk Province, Central Highlands, Vietnam
Đắk Lắk Province, Central Highlands, Vietnam

 

Coffee shrubs do not appear on the census of Vietnam’s native flora. They instead flourish as successful naturalizations from the French colonializing influences of 1857 – 1954. Their Vietnamese presence therefore has a far shorter-lived occurrence than the thousands of years behind the native existence of Asian common palm civets. Access to cover, food, moisture, and shade impels civet forages and forays during hours of darkness. The need currently is met on Asia’s banana-, coffee-, mango-, melon-, oil palm-, and pineapple-exporting plantations. Agro-industry’s reconfigured geography indeed operates as the cultivated successor to such historically wild caterers to civet dietary requirements as fig (Ficus) trees. It reinforces the socio-economic dominance of coffee in general and civet coffee in particular.

 

Trung Nguyên: traditional Vietnamese coffee filtering paraphernalia

Trung Nguyên products
Trung Nguyên products

 

Vietnamese culture traditionally accepts the bitterer coffees produced by black and robust varieties. The historic tolerance of varieties which involve fewer economic costs, less environmental stress, and more accessible altitudes accounts for Vietnam’s super-participation in the world’s instant coffee markets. It likewise explains Vietnam’s worldwide status as a coffee-producing nation strongly competitive with Brazil. But involvement in that segment gives misleading impressions of Vietnam’s coffee-drinking culture fine-tuned by:

  • Brewing with filters and presses;
  • Mixing with ice and sweetened condensed milk.

Cultural accuracy and economic control indeed inspire the marketing of gourmet traditional coffees in general and of palm civet-impacted coffees in particular. Civet-processed coffee in fact is one of Vietnam’s most longstanding national secrets and naturalized traditions.

 

In 1996, Đặng Lê Nguyên Vũ (born February 10, 1971) founded Trung Nguyên in Buôn Ma Thuột, capital city of one of Vietnam's exemplary coffee-producing provinces, Đắk Lắk.

CEO of Trung Nguyên Group Corporation
CEO of Trung Nguyên Group Corporation

 

Letting civet coffee out of the plantation dates to Trung Nguyên (“Central Highlands”) native Đặng Lê Nguyên Vũ deciding to:

  • Abandon third-year pre-medical studies at Tay Nguyen University;
  • Draw upon his experiences on his family’s crop- and pig-raising farm and with his mother’s brick-making sales to kilns;
  • Found Trung Nguyên coffee manufacturing chains in Vietnam’s “coffee capital” -- Buôn Ma Thuột -- in 1996;
  • Launch Trung Nguyên coffee shop franchises from Ho Chi Minh City in 1998;
  • Open Trung Nguyên coffee village in 2008.

 

Trung Nguyên at the airport: a place for arrivals, departures, visits, and work.

After completion of new terminal, completed in December 2011 with total investment of USD $160 million, Da Nang International Airport now has total annual capacity of 6 million passengers.
Danang International Airport, Đà Nẵng, central Vietnam
Danang International Airport, Đà Nẵng, central Vietnam

 

Today’s super-successful operations draw upon:

  • Annual sales of $100,000,000+;
  • Bean-, decaffeinated-, fresh-, frozen-, gourmet-, ground-, instant-, roasted-producing coffee factories;
  • International outlets in America, Asia, and Europe.

Dr. Vũ personally may be worth $100,000,000.

 

recognizable shop sign of Trung Nguyên franchises in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam

Conclusion

 

Dr. Vũ attributes Trung Nguyên successes to two-fifths turtle-like industriousness and three-fifths dragon-like inventiveness. He and 3,000+ employees count upon:

  • Middle-class spending;
  • National values withstanding competition from Nescafé and Starbucks;
  • Small farms certified in sustainable agriculture, devoted to Finnish fertilizer and Israeli irrigation practices, and guaranteed of profitable prices.

Analysts extol Trung Nguyên’s:

  • Advancing Vietnamese beverages;
  • Establishing culture- and wildlife-friendly sanctuaries in Đắk Lắk;
  • Increasing Vietnam’s world coffee market revenues.

Equally impressive is Dr. Vũ’s commitment to civet sustainability by offering:

  • Civet-mimicked, natural enzyme-soaked Arabian-, black-, and robust-mixed Legendee Classic and Arabian-exclusive Legendee Gold brands;
  • Free-ranging civet-impacted Kopi Luwak and Weasel labels.

With civet and non-civet coffees, Trung Nguyên’s bottom line remains profitability with quality and sustainability.

 

Trung Nguyên gourmet products: Weasel Coffee, gifted to visiting diplomats and foreign leaders.

http://weaselcoffee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/the-special-taste-of-weasel-coffee/
http://weaselcoffee.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/the-special-taste-of-weasel-coffee/

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

civet caged for coffee

Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia

Dedication

 

This article is dedicated to the well-being of Asian Common Palm Civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).

 

Legendee: Trung Nguyên's simulated cà phê chồn (weasel coffee)

Trung Nguyên products
Trung Nguyên products

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Trung Nguyên Coffee: franchises launched in Ho Chi Minh City in 1998

Trung Nguyên Coffee, Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam
Trung Nguyên Coffee, Ho Chi Minh City, southern Vietnam
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Vietnamese Traditional Coffee Phin Filter 11 Ounce, Gravity Insert, 2 Pack

Stainless steel Vietnamese single-cup brewer (called a Phin), 2 complete 4-piece filters with pictorial instructions for making traditional Cafe Sua Da.
traditional Vietnamese coffee brewing

Coffee Drinks: black t-shirt ~ Available via AllPosters

Espresso - Macchiato - Caffè Latte - Cappuccino - Americano - Flat White - Café Mocha - Red Eye - Dry Cappuccino - Con Panna - Café Au Lait - Caffè Breve
Coffee Drinks
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Trung Nguyen Legendee Gold Coffee

The Legendee Gold is Trung Nguyen's flagship coffee as served in over 1200 coffee shops across SE Asia. This is a natural enzymatic simulation of rare and expensive Kopi Luwak coffee, with traditional SE Asian roast style. Arabica and Excelsa.
Trung Nguyen products

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 09/04/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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