Listen up, coffee lovers! Have you heard about Kopi Luwak? This intriguing coffee made from beans found in the feces of cats might be the best coffee you’ve ever had. Let’s learn exactly what it is that makes Kopi Luwak the best coffee in the world.
What is Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)?
Kopi Luwak, also known as Civet Coffee, is one of the most expensive ways that coffee is made in the world. Its high price comes from the way it is produced. Kopi Luwak is made from uncommon methods which makes it very exclusive as it is produced from coffee beans that are excreted by an Indonesian palm civet.
The reason it is called cat poop coffee or civet cat coffee is that it is produced from the coffee beans which have been digested by a cat-like animal, the civet cat, as mentioned before. It is safe to drink if the safety precautions are taken seriously by those who process the coffee beans.
How Was Civet Cat Coffee Discovered?
Kopi Luwak was discovered in Indonesia at a time when native farmers were forbidden from harvesting coffee for themselves. Therefore, they had to find other ways to harvest it for their own use. The native farmers and plantation workers discovered that a specific cat, known as the Civet Cat, would ingest coffee cherries without actually digesting them.
This meant that once the cherries were passed out of the body, the undigested coffee beans could be brewed. The workers were surprised that this coffee tasted better than conventional coffee.
Sumatra is now the main producer of civet coffee, along with other major producers such as Bali (Ubud), Philippines, Vietnam, Sulawesi, etc.
What Makes This Cat Poop Coffee So Special?
Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive coffee types in the world. The method of production is the reason this coffee is so expensive and exclusive: The price range depends on the following factors:
- How are you buying it (cup or pound)?
- What’s the supply in your region, as compared to the demand?
- Is the coffee from wild civets or caged civets?
In America, however, the civet coffee can range anywhere between $100-$600 USD.
You can expect to pay at least $50 USD for a cup of civet coffee, as compared to average coffee which ranges from $2 to $5 per cup. The “specialty” nature of the coffee adds to its high value. But how exactly is this exclusive coffee made?
How Is Kopi Luwak Made?
The production of Kopi Luwak begins from beans falling from a coffee tree all the way to a cup of civet coffee offered at coffee shops. The coffee tree, Coffea, produces seeds, which are the coffee beans. The seeds have caffeine in them as a defense mechanism against animals, however, it is not protected against the civet cat.
Since Kopi Luwak comes from the Asian palm civet, the civet first eats the ripe coffee cherries. These coffee cherries go through a 24-hour digestion process, but the coffee cherries are undigested. These undigested coffee cherries are then excreted in the civet’s poop, hence the term – cat poop coffee.
The beans are then collected by plantation workers and farmers and thoroughly washed. This process allows all the remnants from the coffee cherries to be removed. The beans are then dried, ground, and finally brewed. The washing and roasting process gives enough time for the germs to be eliminated, making it perfectly safe to drink. The type of coffee brewed depends on the type of beans that the civet eats, ranging from the arabica coffee plant to the robusta plant.
What Does Kopi Luwak Taste Like?
Kopi Luwak gets its taste from the unique processing that it goes through. Proteolytic enzymes involved in the process are able to break down the outer layer of the coffee beans which contains the bitterness. By removing the bitterness, it gives a smooth taste to the coffee. Many describe this Kopi Luwak coffee as having a nutty rich flavor. This is why civet coffee naturally lacks bitterness due to the lack of the outer layer.
Civet coffee (sometimes called “cat shit coffee”) is typically always given a light roast before it is served since it is not as bitter as other coffee beans available. The light roast allows the natural flavors to be enhanced while preserving the uniqueness of the bean.
Things To Consider When Buying Civet Cat Coffee
There is a huge controversy around civet coffee and the way it is processed, even though rarely any harm is brought to the civet cats. With that being said, there are several things to consider when deciding to purchase civet cat coffee.
1) Fake Civet Coffee
A lot of the civet coffee that is available for purchase is not 100% pure kopi luwak. Therefore, it is important to do your research when buying civet cat coffee to make sure it contains genuine coffee.
2) Kopi Luwak Farms
Natural kopi luwak comes from natural sources without harming the animals involved. As the demand of the civet coffee rose, many farmers avoided the natural cultivation and looked for dangerous alternatives which brought harm to the animals. Kopi luwak that comes from civet that picks their own cherries is normally the best quality coffee because the wild civet only selects the ripest coffee cherries.
3) Is It Safe To Drink?
As mentioned before, the civet coffee is perfectly safe to drink as the germs are eliminated during the washing and roasting process.
Coffee Made From Poop – The Bottom Line
Kopi Luwak is a special method of production that involves brewing coffee beans that are excreted by the civet cat. It is perfectly safe to drink and consists of a nutty-like taste. Many drink civet coffee for the taste, but many also drink it just to participate in the bizarre nature that the coffee comes from.
The unique lack of bitterness in civet coffee and the method of production makes it one of the most expensive coffee in the world today. Are you going to try it?
P.S.: Wandure, , a new great travel app for travel buddies and unique experiences abroad, recently posted a blog post on exploring coffee abroad that details the ethical issues surrounding Kopi Luwak, be sure to check it out!
Hi my name is Larry, a coffee aficionado and passionate traveler from the US. I have already visited Colombia, Sumatra, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Jamaica in my pursuit of finding the best-tasting coffee beans that make you feel like you are in heaven. I currently write from Bali and enjoy the relaxed life that you can find only in Indonesia. Welcome to my coffee world!