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.
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The Civet Cat
In Indonesian, Kopi means coffee, and Luwak is what they call the civet cat, which is why this coffee can be referred to as civet coffee.
The type of coffee we get will depend on the variety of bean the civet cat chooses to eat. The civets often eat the ripest coffee cherries, which makes the best coffee.
It takes around 24-36 hours for the coffee cherries to ferment in the civet cat’s digestive tract. The proteins in the beans are broken down by enzymes, altering the chemical composition and overall taste of the bean.
The undigested beans are then excreted and plucked from the civet poop.
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 It 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.
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.
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.
Have you tried Kopi Luwak before? We’d love to hear what you thought in the comments.