Kopi Luwak, or Luwak coffee, is one of the most infamous coffee beans in the world. From its weird and unhygienic production process to its link to animal cruelty, this coffee is certainly not your average espresso.So what exactly is Kopi Luwak? Is it really worth it? We will be answering all of these questions and more!
What Exactly Is Kopi Luwak?
Kopi Luwak is one of the most unique coffees in the world. Why? Because it is made from Arabica coffee beans excreted by Asian Palm Civets, otherwise known as Luwak.
This probably sounds disgusting to most people (and for good reason), but hear us out. The excreted coffee beans are thoroughly cleaned and dried before it comes anywhere close to your coffee cup.
Despite its “unorthodox” cultivation method, Luwak coffee is actually one of the most sought – after premium coffee beans in the world. In fact, it is unlikely that you will find this magnificent coffee in most cafes and coffee shops. You will need to go to an upscale coffee bar or a fancy restaurant to find this extremely pricey coffee.
How Much Does Kopi Luwak Cost?
A cup of brewed kopi Luwak can fetch a price of up to SGD 300, while a kilogram of roasted kopi Luwak coffee beans has a current market price of nearly SGD 1700!
Yes, drinking kopi Luwak regularly would probably burn a hole in your wallet. But is it worth it? Let’s take a deeper look.
How Is Kopi Luwak Made?
The process of making kopi Luwak is pretty simple:
- Farmers would start by growing good quality Arabica coffee beans
- Once the coffee plant starts to mature, its cherries are then fed to the Luwaks or Asian Palm Civets
- The cherries would then go through a fermentation process in the digestive system of the Luwaks. This involves enzymes and digestive acid breaking down the cherries’ flesh
- Coffee beans would be excreted from the animals’ bodies, and farmers would handpick those that survive the entire process
- Those hand picked coffee beans are cleaned and dried carefully before then being roasted
- The roasted Luwak coffee beans are then packed and sold, before later being brewed in a similar manner as any other coffee
Positives Of Drinking Kopi Luwak
There are 2 main reasons why Luwak coffee is superior to most other types of coffee.
The first reason is that the coffee beans excreted by wild Asian Palm Civets (native to Indonesia) are guaranteed to be of good quality. Wild animals are able to identify and are only willing to eat the ripest and best quality coffee cherries. Thus, the beans they excrete will definitely be of a high standard. This is in stark contrast to human farmers who will often just harvest every single coffee cherry in sight.
The second reason why Luwak coffee is so popular is its colourful taste profile, sweet aroma, and velvety texture. Those coffee beans go through a light fermentation process in the Civet’s body where enzymes break down chaff and flesh, as well as allow them to be better prepared for the roasting process.
This is why they score very high in the taste, scent, and texture categories.
Negatives Of Drinking Kopi Luwak
The main reason why people are campaigning against Luwak kopi is its tendency to promote animal abuse. Most of the Luwak coffee beans sold and exported are made from captive civets. These animals are often locked in tiny cages and forced – fed coffee cherries every single day. Any civet unwilling to eat them will either starve to death or be killed by the farmers.
Another reason you should avoid kopi Luwak is that it is so difficult to verify. Just like most expensive things (think shoes, designer clothes, watches, etc), the market will be filled with con men selling fake products to make a quick profit. Luwak coffee beans are no exception, and the fact of the matter is that there is almost no reliable way to prove their authenticity.