Drinking Civet Cat (Poop) Coffee – Kopi Luwak – Bali, Indonesia

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We had seen kopi luwak (civet cat coffee) sold at many different places in Indonesia, but this was the first time we had seen the operation “end to end”.

During a day spent hiking through the rice terraces around beautiful Ubud, Bali, we stopped in at a spice farm that was selling this famous beverage.

When we heard the coffee is produced by “civet cats” we pictured cute, fluffy, purring kittens. In actuality, the Asian palm civet is a nasty little ferret-type creature, with beady little eyes and a mean temper.

Asian palm civet "cats" wired up on a never-ending diet of coffee beans.Asian palm civet "cats" wired up on a never-ending diet of coffee beans.
Asian palm civet "cats" wired up on a never-ending diet of coffee beans.24-Aug-2011 11:00
 

The civets eat coffee beans in the wild, though they only actually digest the fleshy “cherry” fruit that surrounds the beans. The beans are (ahem) expelled through their feces intact. I wish I knew the full story on the first guy that decided to try brewing coffee from these beans, but sadly that story has been lost to the sands of time.

There's gold in that poop! These are the uncleaned beans collected from their cages.There's gold in that poop! These are the uncleaned beans collected from their cages.
There's gold in that poop! These are the uncleaned beans collected from their cages.24-Aug-2011 10:55
 

Back home in New York City, this coffee goes for $30 a cup, but here in Indonesia I was able to sample it for 50,000 Rupiah (about US$5).

Naturally "fermented" luwak cofee.Naturally "fermented" luwak cofee.
Naturally "fermented" luwak cofee.24-Aug-2011 11:03
 

The beans are cleaned before they are roasted, ground, and brewed into coffee as usual. Coffee connoisseurs claim the civet cat coffee is smoother and mellower than your normal cuppa joe. So, what did I think? Watch the video:

While it sounds absolutely disgusting, in actuality I found kopi luwak tastes just like normal coffee. Perhaps my pallet is not refined enough to pick up the subtle differences in taste and acidity this coffee is renowned for…or perhaps they just sold me an overpriced cup of normal coffee.

Either way, I won’t be rushing back to try another cup.

3 thoughts on “Drinking Civet Cat (Poop) Coffee – Kopi Luwak – Bali, Indonesia

  1. Philipp

    How were the living conditions for the Luwaks? According to PETA the situation for the caged animals is very cruel. Maybe they exaggerated…

    Reply
    1. Erik Post author

      Hi Philipp – we were only shown a few Luwaks in a couple medium-sized cages. It’s hard for me to assess these conditions, and I’m assuming it would be much different in a real Kopi Luwak harvesting operation.

      Reply
  2. jj

    Moron! They are in cages – how do you think they are doing. You are a parasite of everything that is wrong with the world. Hope you enjoyed your cup of coffee fuckwit.

    Reply

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