Kopi Luwak

What makes this coffee so exclusive?

The Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is common in the tropical rainforests throughout South and Southeast Asia. It eats fruits, small birds, loves eggs and ripe coffee cherries.

Therefore civets have not been very popular among the coffee farmers for a long time, similar to the martens in our country. It has to be said that at that time it was forbidden for exploited farmers to squeeze coffee for private use under threat of massive penalties. The harvest was intended exclusively for the colonial masters and for export.

Kopi Luwak was the poor farmers' coffee! All that crap. No Colonial Lord bothered to do so.

Already around 1880 Alfred Brehm describes in his scientific book Brehm's Animal Life the civet in detail.

1. Fermentation in the stomach

This is the botanical exclusivity

On its nocturnal forays through the plantations Civet delights in the sweetest coffee cherries. However, of the coffee fruits it can only digest the pulp. The beans are excreted undigested, but already fermented. It has not escaped the attention of the local coffee farmers that the leftovers (i.e. the excrements) contain undigested coffee seeds.

Clever coffee farmers have discovered that the Civets always crap in the same place again. Therefore, just follow the Civet toilets known to you. The farmers collected the heaps, cleaned and roasted them. Probably they did not realize back then that they were drinking the most exclusive coffee on the planet.

2. The Bucket List

This is the commercial exclusivity

No sooner has Edward Cole (alias Jack Nicholson) slurped his beloved Kopi Luwak in the Hollywood tragicomedy "The Bucket List" than the demand for it shoots through the ceiling.

It was only a question of time that the chicki mickis outside the USA also wanted to have it.

Up to $1'000 a kilo!

Is this horrendously high price justified?

In colonial times, no one cared a thing about this coffee. It was poor people's coffee.

With an estimated 300 to 500 tons of wild Kopi Luwak being produced worldwide, the harvest is quickly sold out and prices are rising.

It was not until around the turn of the millennium that demand regularly exceeded supply. Since Jack Nicholson drank Kopi Luwak in a Hollywood movie in 2007, demand has skyrocketed. If Kopi Luwak was produced exclusively from free living animals, the price would be absolutely justified.

But - and this is the big BUT...

As soon as the demand has risen immeasurably, the annual production has also risen to over 5,000 tonnes within two three years. That is 1,000 percent more! The growth rate in the double-digit percentage range continues unabated.

This means that 4,500 tonnes of Kopi Luwak coffee beans from emaciated musangs kept in cages are "produced" annually (and the trend is rising). Unlike in freedom, where the diet is balanced, the poor critters are fed exclusively with coffee cherries from dawn to dusk.

Kopi Luwak Bali

There are no free living civets on Bali

The Kopi Luwak, which is exclusively offered on the different coffee plantations in Bali, comes solely from captured civets. Crammed into far too small cages they vegetate to oneself.

Only a few are kept in spacious enclosures to reassure the many (sceptical) foreign tourists.