Kopi Luwak at Olio, 10 June 2010

I got rather excited when, a little while ago, Simon Thomsen tweeted that Olio had started serving kopi luwak at $9 a cup. Surely he didn’t mean Olio that is just around the corner from where I work? And at that price, surely not...

I gingerly ventured past Olio’s doorway that day after work but did not spot any signs of this being advertised. A little disappointed I made my way home as per usual, told Monsieur Poisson about it, and we discussed how we had previously suggested to friends the notion of rounding up a group of us to try what is considered to be one of the world’s rarest coffees at Forsyth Coffee. One of the few places to serve what is otherwise known as ‘cat poo coffee’, their kopi luwak tastings are $50 per person with a minimum of four people, so you have to be pretty sure it’s, well, your cup of coffee.

Monsieur Poisson and I have both taken a day off work and, after lunch and a stroll through the city, head northwards across Sydney’s famous bridge to have our taste of unusual coffee. We settle into the warm café surrounds of Olio and promptly order a kopi luwak each. We peruse their menu and specials board and are attracted by the sound of good café food, so we promise ourselves to return for dinner some Friday night in the future. (For a peek at their food, check out pigged-out’s post on Olio here.)

Our coffees arrive as espresso shots and a short conversation with the manager afterwards reveals that this is the optimum way to appreciate the differences in taste compared to your average coffee. However, if you’re concerned that espresso is really not your thing, then the kopi luwak can be made with milk on request.

The first thing that strikes us is the dessert platter-like presentation of the coffee – flanked on one side by a shot of mineral water with a wedge of lime and, on the other side, by a cube of raw sugar and two petits fours. It invokes a sense of ceremony involved with consuming the coffee although we don’t receive any instruction on the recommended order or procedure unlike one Ninja’s experience.

I take a sip of the mineral water first, followed by a sip of the coffee. My experience with espresso normally involves it being tipped over a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, but somehow I find that the kopi luwak is less bitter than those. There seems to be a fruit-like tang of an aftertaste and the aroma of the coffee rises up the back of the throat into your nose.

The petits fours are a gingerbread biscuit which is crunchy and not soft as expected, but it is lovely and fragrant in spices. I eat the almond-encrusted, truffle-like chocolate last to neutralise any lingering bitterness from the coffee but really it’s quite mild. So a definite try if you’re interested in coffee, and most worthwhile and affordable at only $9 a pop.

Shop 1, The Forum, St Leonards train station, 201-205 Pacific Hwy, St Leonards NSW 2065

Opening Hours:  Mon  7am-4pm
                        Tues-Fri  7am-9pm
                        Sat & Sun  CLOSED

Olio Cafe | Bar on Urbanspoon

happy eating!


  1. Ahh, so close to me too! Have to give this a go soon, thanks for the reminder!

  2. I am so close as well, but still haven't had a chance to go try this... I'm so intrigued though!

  3. Sounds like it's worth a try if you're that close!

  4. I'm new to coffee, very new & I'm sad to say that I cant justify spending $9 on a coffee. I don't think I could completely appreciate it

  5. I really want to try this coffee and at $9 seems a reasonable way of doing so.

  6. $9 is very reasonable! And no sign of the oil slick that I found on my Vietnamese weasel-cat version which is very comforting to see!

  7. Mmmm very interesting. I remember seeing Rick Stein with a Civet cat and explaining this coffee on his Far Eastern Odyssey. I am intrigued.

  8. Have read a few posts recently on Olio.. I work not far away.. will give it a go.

  9. ahhh I have heard about that coffee. Not a coffee person myself I don't think I'll be trying it.
    But yay for days off!

  10. Sounds interesting though not being a big coffee drinker I think I might just stick to my latte's and cappucinno's.

  11. sounds like it's quite a coffee experience worth trying!

  12. I love the last photo, with the water, coffee and cookie!

  13. Hey YaYa, hmmm, perhaps we should make a food blogger outing of it?

    Hey Maria, treat yourself to one after work - you're so close!

    Hey Fiona, convenient and at an agreeable price too =D

    Hey Laura, definitely not something you'd do every day but keep it in mind for when you're a more hardened coffee-drinker! =p

    Hey Sara, I agree, at $9 it's not so bad if you don't happen to like it.

    Hey Forager, "oil slick"?! Oh dear...

    Hey Mark, you do wonder how people discover these things...along with bread, etc.

    Hey Thang, you work around this way too?!

    Hey Shellie, go on...just a sip? =D

    Hey Angie, thanks for dropping by =) It'll be there whenever you feel you need a bit of coffee adventure.

    Hey Panda, it's different and the concept is interesting.

    Hey Kitchen Butterfly, awww thank you!

  14. Oh cool! I would try it out of curiosity - too bad there's no where in Melbourne doing this (at least, I don't think there is!).

  15. Hey Agnes, we tried out of curiosity too! But I reckon we'd have it again just for the experience.

  16. Poo coffee! I'm yet to try it but very curious. Plus it's a great reason to say the word poo. The older you get the less chance you get of this. Well, until you have kids I guess and then I'm sure you say poo far too much.

  17. Hey Conor, I know it's not the right name, nor the correct animal, but I'm just so accustomed to it being colloquially known as that! Or perhaps I'm like you and just enjoy saying 'poo' when given the opportunity =p


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