No, this is not a joke. You read correctly, the most expensive coffee in the world comes from poop. More specifically, it comes from the feces of a cat-like animal known as the Civet Cat.
As a result, the coffee has been given the name Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee. Don’t worry, the beans are treated so nothing “extra” gets added into your coffee. I have explained the different types of coffee below.
Where It All Started
In the early 18th century the Dutch established a coffee plantation in the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch banned native farmers from picking coffee for their own use, but the farmers wanted a taste of this intriguing beverage.
They became aware that the Palm Civet fed on coffee cherries and excreted undigested coffee seeds in their droppings. The locals collected these seeds, cleaned, roasted, and ground them to make coffee.
Word spread among the locals about how aromatic it was and soon even became popular among the Dutch.
The Science Behind This
To produce the best Civet Coffee, two processes must be maintained. These are selection and digestion. The selection process is simple; the Civet Cats choose the best cherries to eat.
Next comes the digestion process. Fermentation occurs once the consumed fleshy pulp moves through the digestive tract. The enzymes seep into the beans, creating shorter peptide bonds and free amino acids.
Funny enough, even though the beans are in contact with feces and pathogenic organisms, only a very small amount is present with the beans. Once collected they are thoroughly washed and roasted to kill any remaining traces of pathogens.
The taste of Kopi Luwak changes as the diet of the Civet Cat may vary region to region. The overall view, by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), of this variety of coffee is that… it tastes bad. Many critics believe that this coffee is bought for its novelty and not for its taste.
The only positive aspect generally agreed upon is that Civet Coffee has a distinct smoothness compared to other coffee. The SCAA believes that the digestion process causes this smoothness, but diminishes the flavor.
This backs up the claim that Civet Coffee is only sought out for its novelty and rarity, not for its taste. Who knew coffee that comes from poop does not taste great, something to definitely remember.
The price varies place to place, but it is expensive everywhere. Typical Kopi Luwak was sold between US$100 and US$600 per pound in 2010.
Another variety of Civet Coffee in Vietnam is sold at US$3,000 per kilogram. Some specialty coffee shops sell cups of Kopi Luwak between US$35 to $80.
I personally have not heard of a more expensive cup of coffee. I had no idea poop could be so valuable and produce something so expensive!
Never in my life did I ever believe I would be writing about poop or coffee brewed from feces, but here I am doing just that. After all the r to the final product.
Although I do not believe the novelty or rarity of Civet Coffee is enough for me to try it, I cannot speak for everyone. If you are feeling adventurous and have deep pockets, then go for it and let me know about your experience. I look forward to hearing from all of you.