Many myths surround Kopi Luwak, sometimes referred to as poop coffee. While the nickname may not be as appealing, the remarkable, sweet taste and health benefits of the coffee have many interested in trying it for themselves. In the following article, we will clarify some of the false claims that all luwak coffee is unsustainable and introduce you to the history and processing methods of this unique drink.
What is "Kopi Luwak" Coffee?
Kopi luwak, also known as civet coffee, is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries. The cherries are eaten and pooped out by the Asian palm civet. As the coffee cherries pass through the civet’s intestines, they become fermented. After collecting the beans (that come out intact!), they are thoroughly cleaned and further processed as regular coffee beans, undergoing roasting and such.
In Indonesian language, "kopi" literally means "coffee". While "luwak" means "civet". Thus, "kopi luwak" is literally translated as civet coffee.
The coffee is most commonly produced throughout the Indonesian Islands, as well as many other Southeast Asian Countries and some coffee-producing countries in Africa.
Bali, one of Indonesia’s most well-known islands, is where we source our civet coffee.
Kopi Luwak price is known to be one of the highest amongst all coffee in the world. Unethical farmers try to use this to their advantage by capturing the civets, keeping them in cages, and force-feeding them the coffee cherries. These unethical practices tarnish the original health benefits of kopi luwak. Be careful when buying kopi luwak and try to only purchase from trusted sources!
At Path of Cha, we have personally visited the kopi luwak plantation in Bali, Indonesia, where all our coffee is produced. We first-hand saw that the cute little civets are cage-free, living in conditions almost identical to those they would experience in the wild. Furthermore, all of the civets are released back into nature once they have reached a mature age.
You can buy our kopi luwak here. Also, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this article to stay updated about new blog posts and promotions.
The History of “Kopi Luwak” Coffee
The history of kopi luwak dates back to the 17th century when Indonesia was under Dutch rule. Geographically, Indonesia has one of the best climates in the world for coffee production and was recently one of the top 5 coffee producers in the world.
During Dutch colonial rule, local Indonesian coffee farmers were forbidden to harvest the coffee cherries for themselves. All that was left for them to do was scavenge for it in their own free time.
This is how the natives discovered that the luwak enjoy the coffee cherries. And that, after they eat them and process them through their digestive system, the beans come out still intact. The farmers collected these luwak coffee beans, cleaned, roasted, and brewed them. The result was a smooth coffee that tasted better than any coffee they had tried at the time. From this point on, locals would always scavenge for the coffee beans eaten by the civets.
Why is Luwak Coffee Better?
As they always say — if you want to know if something is good or not, watch and see if an animal will eat it!
Civets eat only the best, most ripe coffee cherries.
While farmers harvest all cherries to meet with production requirements, the little creatures have no such requirements in their minds. Their only requirement is that it is ripe and tasty!
Yes, letting it pass through the animal’s digestive tract makes it better! Why?
Enzymes entirely strip the fruit part of the coffee beans during digestion. Normally these fruit parts would ferment outside, causing unwanted taste and sometimes even mold.
However, this way, it ferments in the civet's intestinal tract. As a result, the composition of the coffee beans’ amino acids is altered, and they gain an incredibly new and unique aroma. Furthermore, the seeds begin to malt, which results in a more uniform taste with almost no bitterness.
Nowadays, with proper coffee making understanding and coffee farmers who care about their product — this is not such a big issue. However, by trying kopi luwak, you will be tasting a coffee like no other. Smooth, mellow, and rich, with hints of caramel and a delightful finish.
The 7 Steps Of Kopi Luwak Production
- Coffee cherries grow on the coffee tree year-round
- Civets (luwak) climb the coffee trees in search of the tastiest, ripest beans (which are actually seeds!)
While the seeds naturally contain caffeine to keep animals away, the caffeine does not bother the civets, and they love it!
- The cherry pulp breaks down in the civet's stomach, while the beans remain whole.
- The beans further undergo fermentation in the digestive tract which gives them their unique flavor.
- After 24 hours, the civets poop out the beans — time for harvest!
- The beans are thoroughly washed, dried, further cleaned, and finally roasted.
- The coffee is checked for optimal taste and packaged. It is now ready for you to enjoy!
Luwak Coffee Taste
The taste of Kopi Luwak is noticeably less acidic. While many coffee enthusiasts enjoy the acid flavor of certain roasts, others may enjoy the incredibly smooth qualities of kopi luwak coffee beans. Because the coffee beans go through a natural malting process, the taste is sweet and caramel-like. For those sensitive to the stronger qualities of coffee, we suggest trying kopi luwak!
The taste of the coffee is not always uniform. Regional differences, as well as roasting and processing techniques, become evident in the coffee’s flavor. Most importantly, the health of the civet will be noticeable in a bad kopi luwak. Sad, stressed, and unhealthy civets kept in cages cannot produce good coffee. We urge you to buy only from trusted sources!
Just as with quality loose leaf tea, we do not recommend drinking kopi luwak coffee with milk or sugar. Instead, drink it black to fully absorb its original taste. Kopi luwak is so remarkably smooth that most people prefer to drink it as is.
Our "Kopi Luwak" Coffee from Bali
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