Kopi Luwak has officially been named the most expensive coffee available due to the strange way that it’s made. Before being washed, and roasted, the coffee beans pass through a cat’s digestive system and are sold as a delicacy.
No, we’re not kidding. The world’s most expensive coffee is made from beans that have been digested and then excreted by the civet cat, which technically means that it contains traces of cat poop.
The civet cat is a small mammal that looks like a cross between a weasel and a house cat. It’s found in the jungles of Indonesia, Vietnam, and parts of China. The civet cat eats coffee cherries but can’t digest the beans. So, it poops them out. Let's look at how the coffee is made and why it’s so expensive.
How is civet coffee made?
A small bag of Kopi Luwak can cost up to $100 or more due to the limited supply and the labor-intensive process required to make it. The coffee is made by collecting coffee beans that have been swallowed and excreted by civets. The civets eat the coffee berries for their fleshy pulp, but they can't digest the beans.
As the coffee berries pass through the animal's intestines, it goes through a fermentation process. The cat then defecates the coffee beans whole, and farmers collect the beans from their droppings.
This might sound unappetizing, but coffee experts say that the beans picked up by the civets are of superior quality. The civets only eat the ripest and best-tasting coffee berries, and their digestive process apparently adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the flavor of the coffee. Kopi Luwak is produced in limited quantities and is available only in certain coffee-growing regions, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.
What is a civet cat?
The civet cat is a small, carnivorous mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa. It is related to the mongoose and shares many of its characteristics, including its long, slender body and a pointy snout. Civet cats are nocturnal animals that spend most of their time in trees. They are skilled climbers and can leap great distances. These mammals are solitary creatures that only come together to mate.
Civets are also called the toddy cat or palm civet. They are about the size of a house cat with a long tail. These animals are timid and aren't generally considered dangerous to humans. However, they can be aggressive if they feel threatened.
What does civet coffee taste like?
Civet coffee is said to have a rich, smooth and chocolatey taste. Some say it has fruity or floral notes. The coffee is also said to have less bitterness than other coffees.
Another interesting fact is that Kopi Luwak is that it contains about half the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee. This is because the bean ferment in the civet’s stomach. Although there’s less caffeine, civet coffee is still said to provide an energy boost, and you may also find there’s less of a caffeine crash afterward.
The health benefits of Kopi Luwak
Kopi Luwak isn’t as disgusting as it sounds, as after the civets have passed the beans, they are cleaned and processed. This helps remove any feces and bacteria that inevitably attach themselves to the beans in the civet's stomach.
Civet coffee is a very healthy drink for several reasons. The coffee contains high levels of inositol, which is beneficial for brain health as it helps reduce depression and increases the effects of neurotransmitters. Inositol also helps to improve the symptoms of women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Kopi Luwak also contains high levels of citric acid, which helps reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and conditions such as osteoporosis. Another benefit of this exotic coffee is that it contains fewer tannins than your standard cupper, which means that it’s less likely to cause staining on your teeth.
Where can you buy Kopi Luwak?
Kopi Luwak coffee is available for purchase online and in some specialty coffee shops. The price of Kopi Luwak coffee can range from $50 to $100 a bag.
Kopi Luwak is also available in ground form, but it is important to know that the quality of the coffee diminishes after it is ground. For this reason, it is best to purchase Kopi Luwak coffee beans and grind them yourself just before brewing.
Is Kopi Luwak ethical?
Traditionally Kopi Luwak was made by farmers who collected the poop of wild civet cats. As demand for the coffee grew and formers realized they could get a high price for the coffee, civets were captured and kept in battery-like conditions.
Sadly, nowadays, Kopi Luwak has become a big industry with animals being kept in small cages and being force-fed cherries. These civets don’t have a healthy diet and are often kept inhumanely, which results in high mortality rates.
Hopefully, awareness of the industry will put people off drinking Kopi Luwak or encourage them to pay a little extra for the ‘wild’ version.
Would you be tempted to try a cup of cat poop coffee? Sorry I mean Kopi Luwak? (does that sound more appetizing?) A cup of this coffee may set you back a small fortune, but it’s ultimately the civets that pay the price due to cruel farming methods.
Article written by Abi Latham, Cat Care Checklist