Kopi Luwak: The Most Expensive Coffee In The World

Coffee is an extremely popular beverage, and there are so many varieties out there. Each variety has a different origin, method of production and its own qualities.

One of the most expensive types of coffee you can find is called Kopi Luwak, also known as civet coffee.

This coffee comes from Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. There’s a lot to understand about the world’s most expensive coffee, and a lot of controversy surrounds the origin and production of the coffee beans.

Civet cat in the wild. (Wikimedia Commons)

From Poop To Potion

Once the beans have been excreted, they will be collected and then washed

This is one reason why civet coffee is so expensive. It can be difficult to find people who are willing to do this job, especially if they don’t work in unethical civet farms and have to search for wild civet poop.

When the beans are washed, all the remnants of the coffee cherries will be removed. The beans will then be dried before roasting.

Is Kopi Luwak Safe?

The washing and roasting process is said to eliminate any dangerous germs from the beans. If the droppings aren’t found in the first 24 hours, the probability of fungus growth does increase.

There is no way to guarantee this if the bean is being picked from wild civet poop, but it can be done.

What Makes Kopi Luwak Superior?

Cat poop coffee doesn’t sound like the most appealing beverage, but this drink’s superiority originated in coffee plantations and was discovered by the workers there.

They weren’t allowed to make coffee from the beans that they had to process on the plantation, so instead, they would collect beans from the wild civet poop.

The workers really enjoyed the coffee, and it didn’t take long before the plantation owners discovered its delicious taste as well. The bitter taste and strong aroma quickly became a favorite in Bali and word soon spread.

However, due to the scarcity of the beans, prices were much higher than for the coffee grown organically on the plantations. It was a mix of the delicious taste and the scarcity that made the coffee so desirable at first.

kopi luwak coffee
Wild Kopi Luwak coffee is humanely sourced and rare, but most Kopi Luwak these days comes from unethical civet cat farms. (Source)

Where Does The Flavor Come From?

Why would beans that have passed through the digestive tract of a cat and then been pooped out taste so much better than regular ol’ coffee?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, wild civet cats will only eat the ripest, most perfect coffee fruit. If it’s not in prime condition, they won’t touch it.

Second, the Civet cat’s stomach ferments the fruits, giving the beans a specific flavor that can’t be achieved with manmade production processes. The fermentation process takes a couple of days, with the beans still being whole upon defecation.

The Controversy

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the production of Kopi Luwak. Collecting beans from wild civets can be tough and time-consuming, so, unfortunately, most of the coffee does come from cruel civet farms.

There are also issues surrounding the treatment towards the people who produce the coffee. If you want to purchase civet coffee, finding a reputable source that collects the beans from wild civets and is Fair Trade, like Kopi Luwak Direct, will ensure you don’t support any cruelty to the animals or people involved in the coffee’s production.

Other people believe that the coffee isn’t worthy of its high price tag and that the coffee only reaches a high price due to its history as opposed to its production process.

Kopi Luwak isn’t for everyone, but those interested in tasting this truly unique, luxurious type of coffee should look for an organic, cruelty-free and fair-trade brand to purchase your beans from. This will allow you to enjoy the smooth, delicious, natural and balanced flavor of the coffee while supporting the right methods of production.


About The Coffee Maven
bryan de luca
Bryan De Luca

I'm Bryan but most people know me as The Coffee Maven. I grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts and received my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Providence College. My first introduction to coffee was during my college days, when I used it as a source of caffeine to fuel late-night study sessions, but soon I became obsessed with the chemistry of coffee. How did changes to water temperature or contact time affect its taste? Why do beans from Africa taste fruity while beans from Indonesia taste spicy? I launched The Coffee Maven in February 2017 to explore these questions and help others brew their perfect cup. Welcome to my site, and thanks for reading!