Disturbing Secret Behind the World’s Most Expensive Coffee

Published September 15th, 2021 - 11:29 GMT
Luwak (civet cat) eating coffee bean
Luwak (civet cat) eating coffee bean (Twitter)
Highlights
Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans plucked from civets’ feces. This is bad news for civets.
Kopi Luwak, also called civet cat coffee or cat poop coffee.

If you’re well-versed in the world’s strangest and most specialized coffees, you’ve probably already heard of Kopi Luwak. Some people believe that this specialty coffee is the best in the world, but there’s one big reason you may want to give it a pass – and it’s not the impressive price. 

It’s the world’s most expensive coffee, and it’s made from poop. 

Kopi is the word for coffee in the Bahasa Indonesian language. Luwak is an Indonesian name of the Asian palm civet native to Southeast Asia shown in the picture below.

Kopi Luwak is the world’s most exclusive coffee. The main factor of its high price is the uncommon method of production. It is produced from coffee beans which have been partially digested by the Indonesian palm civet and then excreted. Yes, it sounds kind of gross! The outer layer of the coffee bean is removed during processing and the remaining beans are completely cleaned before being roasted. 

The history of Kopi Luwak coffee starts way back in the 1700s when the Dutch first set up coffee plantations in Sumatra and Java. According to legend, the locals noticed that wild animals were eating the ripe coffee cherries and leaving the beans behind. They were prohibited from harvesting coffee beans for themselves, so they started brewing coffee from these discarded beans.

Civet has a long tail like a monkey, face markings like a raccoon, and stripes or spots on its body. It plays an important role in the food chain, eating insects and small reptiles in addition to fruits like coffee cherries, and mangoes, and being eaten in turn by leopards, large snakes, and crocodiles.

Despite some misunderstanding, Kopi Luwak is not actually a type of coffee, but rather a method of production. Therefore, the taste may vary significantly depending on the source of the beans and the roasting process. 

What does Kaya Kopi Luwak taste like? It is noticeably not bitter and is intensely aromatic. It has a complex flavor profile that is smooth, earthy, and sweet with a hint of chocolate.

Kopi Luwak it’s famous for something other than its unique processing: its price. A cup of Kopi Luwak coffee typically costs between $35 and $100, and the per-pound price can range from $100 to $600. That’s 20 to 60 times more expensive than average coffee!


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