Kopi Luwak: Why People Are Spending $80 For A Sip | The Daily Dish

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Kopi Luwak: Why People Are Spending $80 For A Sip

No Comments | Written on August 11, 2017 at 10:45 am , by

If you’re anything like the majority of the population, the idea of “cat poop coffee” sounds pretty gross, and a lot of us, without hesitation, would refuse to even try it. However, there are some people who are a bit more adventurous, so they would jump at the chance of taking a sip of Kopi Luwak.

Kopi Luwak is the world’s most expensive coffee – the average price of one cup ranges between $30 – 80! – and, in recent years, its popularity has surprisingly skyrocketed.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it before, so you know why it’s so special. But for those who haven’t, I’ll let you in on the secret.


Keep reading…

Kopi Luwak is made from Asian palm civets’ poop. Well, not actual poop, but particularly the digested beans that the civet has disposed of.

If you’re wondering if you read that right, yes, you did read that right.

In all honesty, poop coffee seems like a weird trend that a hipster created to try to boost his hipster credibility. However, Kopi Luwak was discovered hundreds of years ago – in the mid-nineteenth century – during the Dutch’s cultivation system in Indonesia.


The Dutch’s prohibiting of domestic coffee consumption for profitable exportation lead to Indonesians looking for ways to fulfill their caffeine cravings, and after discovering that civets snuck into plantations to feed from coffee plants, the natives realized they could harvest the undigested beans in civets’ droppings.

Kopi Luwak, therefore, became known as a poor man’s drink and held its title for years, until Kopi Luwak Direct discovered it.

Over 15 years ago, the founders of Kopi Luwak Direct met the B’laan tribe, who lived in in the mountains in bamboo and twig huts. They often lacked the income to feed themselves and their family, yet they still drank a rich and flavorful coffee.

Confused by this, the founders learned that the tribespeople would roast the coffee beans found in civets’ droppings on the forest floor, just like the farmers under the Dutch’s rule.


Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee (as translated from Indonesian), is not a coffee species like Arabica or Robusta. On the other hand, this coffee consists of beans from all types of coffee species.

So, the coffee beans aren’t the reason for Kopi Luwak’s rising popularity; rather, it is the harvesting process that has generated an enormous hype. And here’s how it works!

The civet selects the ripest berries from a coffee plant and eats the whole fruit. However, because it is unable to digest the seed, or the coffee bean, it only digests the cherry pulp and disposes of the coffee beans in its feces. Farmers then roam the forest collecting the feces and crumble the layers surrounding the beans. After the beans are peeled, cleaned, and dried, the best coffee beans are hand-selected to obtain a premium taste. Everything else is thrown away.


Once the beans have been washed and dried under the sun, using a wooden mortar, they are pounded to remove the skin and easily extract the coffee beans. These final beans are then roasted to perfection.

Still not convinced that the process is that special? I wasn’t either until I did a little bit of more research.

It turns out that the digestion of the coffee beans is what creates the coffee’s rich taste.

Because fermentation occurs in the digestive tract, the coffee beans undergo fermentation once the civet digests the cherries.

The civet’s protease enzymes seep into the bean, which breaks down its proteins and gives the coffee a distinctive taste during roasting. Furthermore, digestion also lowers the beans’ bitterness to create a flavor that differs from regular coffee.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to try a cup myself, so I can’t vouch for its taste. But, after reading the Amazon reviews, it seems as if Kopi Luwak is not worth the price.


(Source: Amazon)

Some optimistic reviewers commented that the taste is “very high quality…very smooth” and “phenomenal.”

Yet, most users believed that the coffee was “alright but way too expensive” and “it kind of taste[d] bad.” One reviewer wrote that quality is “not really that much better than any other high quality Arabica.”

As a lot of people pointed out, Kopi Luwak is more about the novelty and experience of tasting a coffee with such a unique process, rather than the taste itself.


(Source: Cluwak)

However, one thing I couldn’t ignore while looking through the reviews was the copious number of animal-rights activists who were trying to dissuade people from buying the product.

Due to the limited population of wild civets, Kopi Luwak roasters have created civet farms to fulfill the coffee’s rising demand.

At these farms, the wild civets are captured, caged, and mistreated. They are force feed low quality and unripe coffee beans to increase the process of production and earn a larger profit.

Since civets aren’t hand-selecting the seeds, the coffee becomes unauthentic and loses its rich, premium taste.

So, perhaps the real reason behind the negative reviews is due to the mass production of Kopi Luwak. If roasters allowed the civet to roam free, they would obtain the best quality coffee. Although the pricing may be high, at least we’ll know its authenticity is worth it. Quality over quantity, right?

But the real question is, would you drink poop coffee?

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