The Straight Poop on Kopi Luwak Coffee

palm_civetAll 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. 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 I have now tried Kopi Luwak. Read my full review here.

87 thoughts on “The Straight Poop on Kopi Luwak Coffee”

  1. I read about this in the Guiness Book just recently in a Bookstore, I believe it was under ‘Most Expensive Coffee’ – since I think it winds up being between $300-$500 a pound for this stuff. It’s amazing, too, that something found in nature consumes roughly as much as if not more coffee than you or I do. Pretty cool. Although the concept of having a $30+ cup of coffee straight from a Luwak’s rear is kind of weird, I think I’d probably still try it, too. After all, I did enjoy frog’s legs, among other delectible oddities. Definitely let me be on the list of the first to know if you try some.

  2. We imagine this was originally the only safe source of coffee for poor native field workers who didn’t want to be caught stealing. It must reflect a lotof GUILT on the part of pampered Americans who can afford the best of everything; why risk PARASITeS and food poisoning when you can simply use a better brewing method?

  3. An interesting theory Boozenwaash! Kopi Luwak would not be the first food to go from rags to riches. Lobster was once eaten by poor workers, or even used as fertalizer before improvements in transportation made them available in urban areas.

    I have also heard stories about tourists being served Kopi Luwak and rather enjoying it prior to being told where it came from.

  4. Greg on CSI talked about drinking Kopi Luwak — he tried to stop Grissom from drinking his freshly brewed, & Grissom did it anyway

  5. I have been a coffee afficianado for 20+ years now and would definitely give it a try. If what the scientists say is true, then indeed, a rare experience awaits. However, after trying many cups of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (very smooth, light, but not impressive to My buds, I like Kona and Dark/Medium blend roasts best), I figure that it always comes down to personal taste. If canned coffee is your forte, then why not? Just don’t be too impressed because of the rarity. I’m not going to pay $$$75,000 to get to the top of Mount Everest just ’cause it’s there. This coffee is far more affordable than say, a Renoir or a Van Gogh though. They keep trying to feed us with the next big thing and most people can’t afford it, so what’s the deal?

  6. I was given a 1/4 pound of this coffee as a Christmas present and although interesting not worth the money. Give me Max’s Blend from California for $8 shipped to me in NYC anyday. About 2 years ago they had to raise their prices and owner of the company wrote an apology letter. This is a cool company that makes great coffee.

  7. How spoiled do we have to be as Americans to drink poop coffee at $30 a cup. Buy you a $4 can of Folgers and give the other $36 to your favorite charity and save yourself the embrasement of one day relizing you paid $30 dollars to drink a cup of animal crap.

  8. Two years ago I read an article in a certain tabloid, World Weekly News, about this coffee. It gave me the same information as article on this website. I guess some things are true in the tabloids. Who would have thought it?

  9. Hey, if they’re right about coffee beans from animal droppings, perhaps they’re right about Bat Boy too… You never know!

  10. S’cuse me but civet cats started the great SARS flu epidemic a few years back and now the civet cats are dying of bird flu, so drink at your own risk and YUCK.

    That said, there is also a tea in China where they collect the tiny droppings of insects that eat the tea leaves and brew tea from the droppings. They call it Poo-poo Pu-erh, not joking.

  11. That sounds really sick, but then again, I thought I had watched a program all about coffee in some other country, and bat poop is all around where they pick it…. yuk…but it all comes to us in the states,, probably in foldgers and who knows what else…! My point being,,,, why pay 30 dollars or more to know about this disgusting thing…When we are probably getting it in foldgers for about 7.00 to $8.00…. Happy sipping….

  12. I love my coffee–but this is just a bit much.
    Give me a pot of Columbian and don’t give me no shit!

  13. Cat poop? I have cats and there is no way I would drink anything from them! I hope those who try it,throughly cleanse their palate before speaking or kissing any one!

  14. I have to agree with Mare, Donald and Rhonda. I love a great cup of joe, Tanzania Peaberry is one of my favorites as well as a strong espresso by Illy. So, to pay $30 for a cup of coffee from harvested beans from the feces of a disease carrying wild animal is just a bit too much for me to swallow. I’ll stick with my local coffee roaster!

  15. I must say a good cup of “CATTACINO” is the only way to start your day, but if you find your self looking for a litter box at work you might want to think about that second cup. We as Americans can afford the stupidest and most useless items why not a $30.00 cup of Cat Poop Coffee? Really what’s the difference? We eat raw Oysters and they look just like a big ol’ booger! Sammy D.

  16. I used to buy and sell large quantities of coffee and I know prices are based almost exclusively on availability. The less available a particular bean is the more expensive it is. I have sampled and purchased many pounds of coffee from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica and personally I’m not impressed so I can’t see myself paying a high price to taste this stuff. I am currently feeding my dog green coffee beans and I’m only going to be charging $100 a pound, so if anyone is interested let me know.

  17. We live in a sick world where the emphasis is on dollars. You can put a price and a exotic name on anything and
    someone will surely buy it. Hey Mr. Valdez, give me your Yuban please.

  18. What a silly world we live in, where we can discuss in an open forum a persons like or dislike for poo coffee! As for the coffee itself, if I were to stumble upon it, I would scrape it off my shoe with nearby stick while rediscovering every obscenity in the English language, bag it, then sell it to some poor schmuck willing to pay the highest dollar for it. But, mind you, I would save the smallest sampling for myself, only to say that I had tried it, and maybe use that story as an impromptu boast during the next peeing contest I enter at Starbucks.

  19. Apetizing? Curious enough to try it?
    I think not.

    Hhmmmm, I just want to know who first noticed these cats eating coffee cherries and then inspected thier poop, collected the beans, etc…

    Yeah, I want to do dinner at that dudes house…….

  20. Jon–and the rest of you,

    Don’t give a dime to the Red Cross! They are swindlers & embezzlers, as the recent indictments in Bakersfield prove! Ask any serviceman (or woman) about it, and be prepared for a withering blast. The RC charges our troops for a cup of coffee on the battlefield!
    United Way not much better!

    Gary in Arizona

  21. WOW! did I read “right” , the last letter #27,Gary Innes? I know your talking about “poopy coffee” but his comments about the Red Cross?!? Is that really true and how can a person validate that? Anna in Ohio

  22. Thanks Zach. Gotta love Dave Barry.

    From the Dave Barry article Zach mentioned:

    “The reason some of us need coffee is that it contains caffeine, which makes us alert. Of course, it is very important to remember that caffeine is a drug, and, like any drug, it is a lot of fun.”

  23. I drink this coffee, the only way I can describe it is that it is smooth. It has almost none of the bitter ‘kick’ coffee has (which to my mind is a little bit of a disapointment) but it has a plesent enough taste. Most people that drink filer coffee with sugar or milk may find they do not need it for this coffee. This coffee is not cheap though, my supplyer sells it for £13 per 125g of the stuff, compaired to almost half the price for jamacian blue mountian beans, its quite the jump!

  24. Can’t we just enjoy every OZ….Seattle, Costa Rica, Japan…though I don’t feel this should be about more than COFFEE! I do agree with the “save yourself the embarrassment of drinking a $30. cup of animal crap”.
    Carpe DIEM

  25. I’ve just had a cup (a minute ago) and I must say that it had all the good qualities of let’s say, a really good Italian espresso (e.g. the Harem from Passalacqua) but without the distinct bitterness. I acutually quite enjoyed it. And I will definitely buy it again, as it’s worth the price.

  26. I would like to offer you the original beans of kopi luwak that collected from our coffee plantations in Sumatra Island, Indonesia. Kopi Luwak that I offering to you is in Green Beans $70.00 per 1 kilo (2 pounds), the price above is not included the delivery cost to your country. If you interested with my offer, you can contact me at

  27. To each his or her own. One of the greatest experiences in life is trying new and different food and drinks…if i can afford it and won’t feel guilty about having spent the money….i’ll try it! Life is dull enough without new things to experince…Enjoy your coffee and it will all come out in the end!

  28. I personally can’t wait to try some and will be ordering some soon. I do hope that the folks leaving the knee-jerk “ewwwww gross I would never drink cat poop” comments have their tongues firmly lodged in their cheeks, but I suspect this is not the case. The beans are washed after collection, you know.

  29. I have some peanuts in my shit, that doesn’t mean thy tast good does it, is there anyone out there dumb enough to buy the peanuts in my shit??


  30. So all of you who don’t want to try the coffee feel SOOOO strongly about not trying it that you just can’t help but post a comment here? As for Mother Theresa and the the suggestion to give the money to charity instead of spending it on this coffee….lighten the “f” up! Unless you have absolutely no earthly possessions, quit your preaching and let the rest of us spend our money on what we want to spend it on. Last time I checked we were still in a free enterprise system. For those of you who haven’t tried it, ask yourself this question before posting a comment on something you know nothing about….”why would anyone care about my opinion?” And grow up, there are far worse things people ingest every day in this country than pre-digested coffee beans.

  31. btw – for those of you turned off by the price….do the math on how much a cup of Starbucks a day turns out per pound

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