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People everywhere have their favorite way of consuming this dark, savory liquid. However, no matter how a person drinks this finished product in Indonesia, it all starts with cat feces. Yes, it is true — Kopi Luwak is excreted from Asian palm civets, and it is the most expensive coffee in the world. It is so expensive that in the United States, a cup, yes, one cup, costs $80.
People often ask, “where did this come from, or who discovered Kopi Luwak?” Without a doubt, it is an understandably reasonable question because who would think to take coffee beans from the poop of an animal?
The region grew coffee in vineyards which attracted the Asian palm civet or Luwak as they are popularly called. These Indonesian wild cats love to eat coffee cherries.
Kopi Luwak evolved out of desperation among growers in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). In 1830, the Dutch created a system that increased the exploitation of the local growers. Laws were created prohibiting local farmers from taking any of the crops for individual use.
The farmers began to notice the Asian palm civet’s droppings contained the beans whole. They started searching for this cherished dung, which is cleaned and processed like any other coffee.
Due to its unique flavor and aromatics, the Kopi Luwak, the demand for civet coffee grew. It was not until the early 1990s that a tourist brought some back to the United States that its fame spread. The demand soared but keeping up with the orders is difficult with wild-sourced Kopi Luwak.
Written by Sharri Rogers
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Gayo Kopi: The History of Kopi Luwak; by Jeff Bickley
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Sascha Lobo’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by ßlåçk Pærl Courtesy Wikimedia – Creative Commons License