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Kopi luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee with a certain Fear Factor charm, has found an innovative use with Hermetise, a luxury anti-aging skincare line.
Originating in a remote part of Southeast Asia, kopi luwak is made from the excrement of the civet, a rare jungle cat. Civets enjoy eating a variety of the area’s coffee cherries. However, they are unable to fully digest the seeds, which we know as coffee beans. What’s left are newly fermented beans, which farmers then collect, clean and roast into a coffee with high aroma, smooth taste and low bitterness.
This luxury coffee gained more public awareness in the 2007 feel-good movie The Bucket List. Throughout the film, Morgan Freeman’s character repeatedly refuses a cup of kopi luwak coffee from his clueless friend (played by Jack Nicholson). Near the end of the film, Freeman finally reveals to Nicholson how his beloved coffee is made, sending them both into hysterics. A few years later American talk-show host Oprah Winfrey featured and tested kopi luwak on her show, followed by CNN and other national news stations. A 1-pound bag of whole-bean, medium-roast kopi luwak currently sells for US$ 350 to US$ 600 on Amazon.
Known for its unique alchemist approach to healthy skin, Hermetise combined the active ingredients of kopi luwak—coffee cyclodextrin and caffeic acid—with a more familiar ingredient—24-karat gold—to create their Kopi Luwak Anti-Pollution Brightening Oxygen 3 Step Treatment.
Coffee is widely known to contain powerful antioxidants, and in the form of a cyclodextrin, it can constrict small blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and minimize dark circles and sagging skin under the eyes. The unique addition of gold helps warm and neutralize the skin’s pH, thus assisting the further penetration of the nutrients into the skin. Nicknamed the “facelift in a bottle,” this three-step treatment is said to de-pollute, revive and renew skin.
Step one is an all-in-one age-defying, lifting and firming cream that changes from gel to cream during application and creates an intense anti-wrinkle effect. Step two is a protecting serum that shields the skin from the elements. Step three is an exfoliating mask designed to strengthen, tighten and improve the appearance of your skin long-term.
Fans of the treatment report firmer skin, reduced swelling, redness and acne, and a reversal of UV damage, dark spots and sun spots—all worth the US$ 1,665-per-step price tag. According to Hermetise, customers can expect results within 8–12 weeks of using the treatment, though a few glowing reviews on the company’s website boast immediate results.
In 2012, reports of abuse began to surface as animal rights groups pointed to the growing number of civet “farms,” where tens of thousands of animals were confined to tiny cages and force-fed a debilitating diet. Hermetise, however, claims that its product is guilt-free, because it forgoes civet farms and collects its coffee beans by hand in the wild instead. ■