Kopi Luwak or civet coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world, and yet it comes from poo. What is all the fuss about??
My daughter is doing a school project about this latest phenomena, and we spent all last night reading about it, so here is what we found out:
Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans that have been eaten by a civet cat, and passed through their stomachs, still whole, and then collected from their poo. Luwak means civet cat, so the name refers to the animal through which the beans pass through, and not the type of coffee.
Luwaks (civet cats) used to be considered as a nuisance in Bali, and would be caught and made in to sate or meatballs, until it was discovered that people would pay a high price for the coffee found in their poo. There was then a bit of a frenzy to exploit these animals, and there have been horrific tales of them being kept in cages and force fed coffee beans. This may still be a practice, but there are also people making this coffee in ethical ways.
In our research, we read about a village in Kintamani that has set up a form of zoo on a two hectare plot of land, which is fenced. The civets roam freely, and they have routine health checks to make sure they are doing well. There is a restaurant and children’s play area for visitors, as well as tours of the facilities with explanations on how this weird coffee is produced.
Genuine kopi luwak has many health benefits, as it is low in cholesterol and almost caffeine free. However, there are many fake versions of luwak coffee flooding the market, so here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the real deal:
fake beans will develop a fungus after a few days, and will have a strong odour.
Real beans have a sour smell due to the way they ferment in the civets stomach.
Why is it so expensive? Due to the various processes involved in making the coffee, and the fact that the civet cats only eat the finest beans, which results in the finest coffee.
Even though the beans are collected from poop, they then go through various processes, to create the coffee, and so it is perfectly clean, and hygienic to drink!
I personally cannot see what all the fuss is about, but if you are a coffee lover, why not come and try?