All about this infamous coffee and the cat-like creature that makes it possible.
Years ago I heard a rumor of a rare coffee that was collected from the droppings of a wild animal. For quite a while, having nothing to substantiate this I had dismissed this as either an urban legend, or something so rare I was unlikely to ever have access to it.
Well thanks to the coffee explosion this rare and unusual blend is readily available, though still very expensive. My interest in this was rekindled when I noticed Armeno Coffee Roasters, my favorite source for fine coffee is now carrying Kopi Luwak Coffee.
So what exactly is it? The Indonesian word “kopi” translates directly to coffee. The word Luwak refers to a small wild animal native to Indonesia and Vietnam.
So you know what coffee is… what’s this luwak critter? Known as the luwak, luak, musang, toddy cat, civet, palm civet and civet-cat, many people believe it is a wild cat. While it is a mammal it is actually a cousin of the mongoose. Probably it’s closest North American counterpart is the skunk with which it shares the ability to excrete a noxious odor from scent glands near it’s anus. Blueplanetbiomes.com has some wonderful information on this animal.
The animal can range from four to eleven pounds and is largely nocturnal. While it is an omnivore, the luwak is particularly fond of perfectly ripe coffee cherries. Thanks to coffee farmers, the luwak has no troubles finding plenty of coffee.
Once eaten, the coffee cherries take the normal route through the animal’s digestive path. The amazing thing is while the fruit of the coffee is being digested, the bean is left largely unchanged, eventually passing in the animals droppings.
The droppings and their caffeine-laden content are collected by farmers. The coffee is then cleaned and the green, un-roasted bean shipped to roasters.
Why would you want to drink this shitty coffee? There are a lot of theories on why kopi luwak is different. Research has determined that coffee passed by a luwak has been changed chemically. Specifically the process seems to break down some of the bean’s proteins which are known to contribute to the bitterness of coffee.
So research from the University of Guelph in Canada, reported here, and further detailed in this article confirms the coffee’s chemical makeup is altered by it’s special little journey, I think it also important to consider the luwak’s own affinity for fine coffee.
When coffee, like other fruit, is harvested, not all the fruit will be perfectly ripe. Since the majority is ripe and it is to be combined for use, the end product comes out well; however, if you have an animal which naturally selecting only the ripest fruit you will end up with a product of unparalleled quality.
Is it safe? While many are understandably skeptical of eating anything that has already been through the gastro-intestinal track of another, research shows that due to the thorough washing, the luwak coffee may even have a lower bacteria level than other coffees. Certainly whatever the washing process misses the roasting process will make up for.
While I cannot say I have tried this rarest of all coffees, it is on my to-do list. Thankfully Armeno Coffee Roasters offers it in a four ounce sampler for a mere $30. Expect a detailed report here once the taste test is in.
An update: Thanks to Troy at AnimalCoffee.com I have now tried Kopi Luwak. Read my full review here.
87 thoughts on “The Straight Poop on Kopi Luwak Coffee”
Okay, Geee, whose getting all freaking serious in here….Take a look in the mirror…YOU…..And we have just the same right to say what we think about the poo poo coffee. Okay…So spend your money the way you want…Geesh talk about liten up, listen to u’r self.
I have been wanting to try luwak for a few years, but being not exactly rich the $1000 us dollars per kilo was a bit steep. then my lovely ex bought me some for xmas this year…. you know how normally when you have been waiting to try something for ages and then you finally do its normally a let down, well not this stuff. the flavour and smoothness are simply delectable. When i first got it i mentioned it to friends over a game of poker, this was before i had tried it as my grinder was broken and their reactions varied from ‘ew’ through ‘yuk’ to ‘you are bloody kidding, right?’ so far i have fed 3 of them luwak, and everyone of them loved it. so, on closing… ‘all hail the mighty luwak!!!!’
hee hee….honestly i never, ever in my life thought that I would live to see so many well written soliloquays about a fecal oriented subject…..and I did sooo need a good laugh..Cheers to those who have had the desire to try this rare comoditie, for you indeed put your money where your mouth is. As for me, although I do love coffee, I will stick with Veritas…its still warm from the roaster when I get it, and it is divine!
WHATEVER, JUST BUY THE BEST OF THE BEST: ILLY CAFFE.. THE BEST ITALIAN COFFEE.
mark (#9) advises us to drink Folgers instead of Kopi Luwak to save ourselves money, embarassment, and, apparently, his judgment upon us as spoiled Americans. It is hard for me to even get past the recommendation of Folgers to any other issues. Mark, if you drink Folgers, surely a steaming cup of civet shit would be an exiquisite palate cleanser. Unspoiled coffee drinkers of the third world don’t even drink Folgers–they drink arabica.
(PS to the Italian #54 – As fate would have it, I was drinking an Illy espresso when I wrote this.)
I personally enjoy having a cup of coffee every day. If you are worried about drinking coffee and worrying about the lack of money, might I suggest fair trade coffee? It would allow you to get good coffee, while not enjoying it at another person’s living expense. I drink either-or, but I generally tend to try to stick with the fair trade.
Mark: if you surely care about the wellfare of the world I wouldn’t be drinking folgers, since they pay as little as they can for the beans, as well as they mix stuff in the coffee that is pre-ground that shouldn’t be in there.
Going back onto the topic, I would be willing to *try* the coffee. I might and probably would like it, but like most people, i can’t afford to plop down $30USD a cup for the coffee. If it is good, like some people say it is, i would probably find it as enjoyable as other people say.
I do however like some of the local roasts, and generally I try to get it as fresh from the roaster as possible
As far as drinking coffee that came from a cat’s anus, you might want to check what goes into those pre-ground coffees. Because a lot of times they have sticks and bugs in them. not to mention ketchup has so many bugs that go in with tomatoes. Or how about when you pick herbs from a plant that was grown in cow manure? it’s all about the circle of life. Essentually, you could be eating a tomato that has remnants of dinosaur dung in it.
So just be sure what you think you are eating, is what you actually are eating. Heck, i would eat bugs if someone offered them to me (escargot for example) as long is it doesn’t make me puke, i think people need to try things before they spout off about it. things aren’t always what they appear to be
Derek, you sound like a self-righteous elitist. I wonder if you’ve found any cherries up your own bum. Clearly, that’s where you’re “headed.”
Whatever blows your skirt (or whatever else) up! LOL
As far as safety concerns go, the article said that the beans are washed and have a lower bacterial count than even regular beans, but from an infectious disease point of view, one should be more concerned with viruses than bacteria in this case. Usually humans are susceptible to the same kinds of diseases that monkeys are, not always, but much of the time… and monkeys are carriers of many kinds of nasty viruses.
…but is it shade grown?
In the Philippines, we call the Civet cat as “alamid”. The sugar palm civet (paradoxorus Phillipinensis), or alamid in the local language, forages in the mountains and forests around the vast Philippine archipelago. A Filipino couple (Reyes family) discovered this in 2003. From initially just collecting the civet droppings from one site outside Manila, the couple now go on long cross-country trips scaling remote mountains and teaching villagers how to gather the precious waste during the coffee season from October to April. The couple now export this coffee under the “Coffee Alamid” brand/ trademark. As a real mark of its gourmet qualifications, it is even sold in one coffee shop in Vienna. This very brand is being sold by Japan Airlines as a gourmet product on its business class section for $US600 for 100g and is exported to Taiwan, Australia and the United States. I myself bring and sell them to Taiwan.
This is not only a business for the couple but an advocacy to preserve the environment and the civet cat.
If anyone of you are interested, you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can set up a meeting with you and the Reyes couple and we can trek to the mountain for your firsthand experience in gathering these precious waste and at the same time see what civet cat really is.
For more credible news article log on to the site of BBC News :
i come from the philippines and i have tasted that kind of coffee already. it’s relatively cheap here. it tastes so good!
I honestly dont think that people should have to drink crap to make them selves feel “richer” inside. when you reside to animal crap, thats pretty sad. if you want you can just pay me a couple hundred dollars to take a shit and give it to you so you can make “coffee” if thats what you want to call it. so when one day you realize that you’ve been drinking a $30 cup of animal crap. i hope you feel GREAT about yourself!
Thanks Gary in Arizona for setting the record straight on the Red Cross. My Dad told me the same thing. The Salvation Army may be a better bet. Most charities are just money gathering machines.
Fecal coloform and e coli hmmm yeah give me a cup of that.
Hey, if Jack Nicholson likes it, it has to be GOOD!!!
I actually had a cup of this today at Coffee & Tea Ltd. in Minneapolis. They offer it for $420 per lb. or $10 for an 8 oz. cup. It was very good and I can say I tried it. I would not have paid $30+ for a cup but, $10 was not bad to try it. Perhaps I will be verbally attacked by the self rightous but, I make most of my coffee at home (I roast it, I grind it & I brew it) I don’t spend $30-40 a week at Starb**ks or Caribou AND I make better coffee than them. PS….. what the washing doesn’t take care of roasting at 420 degrees will.For all of you people blasting good coffee drinker……. keep drinking the Folgers.
WHAT NEXT? The whole world done gone CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s like the old Cheech and Chong skit,where Tommy followed his Lab around for a time to get his stash back.People don’t care where it comes from,as long as it’s good dope!
I’m a coffee drinker, need a dark one every morning, and as much as I’d like to try this Cat Poop coffee, I can’t seem to find it. Even if it’s expensive, I’d like to try once in my life to see what the hype is all about. We have a similar product coming from Vietnam, even though it’s rare, and you never know when it’s real and not, they have produced something we call “weasel poop” coffee. I’ve tried it, from the source that produce it, mid of Vietnam on the high mountain region, and I have to say the aroma is not found anywhere else. They only produce so much in a year, thus drive up the price. For now, I settle for 100% Kona dark roast straight from Hawaii, or another Vietnamese product, Trung Nguyen coffee that can be found at almost every Asian market. The cheapest one goes about $4.50/500g, and more expensive ones that I have found in Paris goes about 9 Euros for 500g. I have people bringing it over for me from Vietnam whenever possible. If you can find it, try it. Especially if you like a dark cup of coffee, it’s the one to try. I make 1 espresso cup with it every morning. Happy drinking. Once you go Trung Nguyen, you don’t even want to think about Folgers, it’s the worse product ever to reach my mouth. Yes, I’d rather drink poop coffee than Folgers.
If you want to try Kopi Luwak I’d suggest ordering it from http://animalcoffee.com/ This is one of the producers I reviewed on my blog and the product is fantastic! Make sure to get the Arabica. If you’re going to pay the price you should get the best.
I’ll keep an eye out for Trung Nguyen. Thanks!
My wife and son just returned from Vietnam where they purchased a special gift for me. They brought me back 3 pounds of Weasel Coffee. If fact, I am enjoying my third cup of the morning as I speak. Believe me, they did not pay alot for it. At the prices that everyone is quoting, I would suggest jumping on a plane for Ho Chi Min City.
Trust me when I say, this is one of the best coffees that I have ever had. I have travelled the world and have never had better.
I think this is wonderful. Another thing to get addicted to. LOL…Gonna try to see if the boss will buy some. Can’t wait to try it.
Umm… Well I just read all the other responses and actually this coffee is actually alot better because is has been Laboratory tested and demonstrated that there is also a qualitative reason why kopi luwak beans taste better than other coffee. As the beans pass through the digestive tract of the Luwak, the acids in the stomach of the Luwak permeate the bean and leach out some of the proteins in the bean responsible for its bitterness resulting in a sweeter coffee bean. They’re also natural(better for your body) and 30% healthy than other coffee.
What I wrote was what I researched and the real answer. Now Thats your Poop on Kopi Luwak.
I wash down my guilt with a gallon of Kopi Luwang, after learning that my preferred chocolate beverage was pressed from Cote d’Ivoire’s cacao. How could I have imagined that profit from this industry was being used to fund a western African genocide not so long ago?
You can also drink a beer for 10 times its price in a fency reastaurant on any big city. The real cost of a cup of Kopi Luwak is 15 to 25 U$ on a coffee shop or 9 U$ if you brew it by yourself. If you need good information about Kopi Luwak take a look at http://www.realkopiluwak.com
I guess this is the origin of the “Labrador” gag in Up in Smoke.
I suck yo dick!
I have had this coffee and didn’t notice much of a difference between it and regular espresso. Sorry.
Bird nest soup anyone?
I offer Kopi Luwak/Civet Coffee from Sumatera Island-Indonesia. In one month our production untill 500 kilo grams. If you interest please call me +6281369373543 or email@example.com
The reality is> Shit is Shit.
Anyone ever heard the story “The emperors New Clothes”
its so funny how people are sitting here bitching bout where it comes from and yet these are the asses who eat things like hot dogs, rump roast, giblets, chitlins, liver and lord knows what else that comes out of an animal which is sad because obviously u need to see where your meat came from or who most likely pissed on it before it was shipped from a slaughter house. more or less if its older people complaining thing bout anything u used to eat with gelatin in it.. you realize thats pig,cow and horse feet? think of everything those animals stepped in before they had their feet hacked off TO MAKE YOU FUCKING JELLO! HONESTLY GROW THE FUCK UP! And stop bitching bout rare things when u should be more worried bout wtf you’re putting on your plate or on your kids plate!
If you eat natural cheezes, that half digested milk. In the old days, the intestal juice from goat, sheep and cow guts.
this coffee is the most exotic coffee i ever know…. kopi luwak coffee. excellent taste of coffee
anyone who drinks coffee from the anus of an animal has some serious issues and need to go and see a shrink, it came out of an animals ass what sort of fettish freak are you all, you are all sick fucks, why dont i eat coffee and shit it out ill sell it to ya for $300 sickos
From Feces to Your Cup…. but its so awesome..