What is Kopi Luwak The 'Civet coffee' from cat poo

What is Kopi Luwak The 'Civet coffee' from cat poo

Kopi Luwak, often hailed as one of the most exclusive coffee in the world, has intrigued coffee enthusiasts and the curious alike with its unique origin story. It even made an appearance in the 'The Bucket List'. This delicacy, also known as 'civet coffee', has a production process that's as unusual as it is fascinating. But beyond the novelty and the luxury, Kopi Luwak has a darker narrative tied to ethical concerns around animal cruelty.

What is Kopi Luwak?

Kopi Luwak refers to partially digested coffee cherries eaten and then excreted by the Asian palm civet, a small mammal native to South and Southeast Asia. The civets are believed to select the ripest and finest coffee cherries to eat. Enzymes in their digestive system break down the outer layer of the coffee cherries but leave the coffee beans inside relatively intact. The fermentation process during digestion is said to give the beans a unique flavour profile.

How did Kopi Luwak originate?

The origin of Kopi Luwak dates back to the colonial era in Indonesia. Indonesian farmers working on Dutch plantations were forbidden from picking coffee fruits for their own use. Resourcefully, they discovered that the civets would eat the coffee cherries and leave the beans in their droppings, still intact. These beans, cleaned and roasted, produced an unexpectedly smooth and aromatic coffee, leading to the birth of Kopi Luwak.

Kopi Luwak Coffee cat poo drink

Is drinking cat poo coffee safe?

Despite its unique processing, Kopi Luwak is perfectly safe to drink. The beans found in the civet's excrement are thoroughly cleaned and then roasted at temperatures around 200°C, killing any bacteria present. The roasting process also brings out the unique flavours that make Kopi Luwak so sought-after.

Kopi Luwak Coffee poo cherry Basic Barista Shit coffee

The dark side of Kopi Luwak industry

With the rise in demand, ethical concerns have emerged, primarily due to the treatment of civets. Many are kept in cages and forced to consume coffee cherries, including those of lower quality, which goes against the original appeal of the coffee beans selected by wild civets for their ripeness.

This practice not only raises significant animal welfare issues but also compromises the authenticity and quality of the coffee produced.

One producer we were able to verify uses traditional methods without caged animals was 'The Poop coffee'. This company also has an ongoing initiative with the World Animal Protection where they are developing a set of standards to help protect Civet's and the negative aspects to this side of the indusrty.

Is there any legitimate civet coffee?

Verifying the authenticity of Kopi Luwak is challenging, given the prevalence of counterfeit products and unethical production practices. Truly authentic Kopi Luwak, sourced from wild civets without harm or exploitation, is exceedingly rare. Consumers seeking genuine Kopi Luwak must do thorough research and buy from reputable sources such as 'The Poop coffeethat ensure ethical treatment of the animals and authenticity of the coffee.

Kopi Luwak Civet Natural coffee selection Basic Barista Australia Melbourne

What does true Kopi Luwak taste like?

Genuine Kopi Luwak is characterised by its smooth, rich flavour, with a lack of bitterness often found in other coffees. It boasts a complex flavour profile, with hints of chocolate, caramel, and a subtle earthiness, attributed to the fermentation process within the civet's digestive tract paired with coffee grown in this side of the world. However, the taste can vary significantly depending on the specific coffee cherries consumed by the civets, as well as the processing and of course the roasting profile used.

While Kopi Luwak offers a unique taste experience, the ethical implications of its production cannot be overlooked. As the debate around its consumption continues, it serves as a reminder of the complexities that lie behind a cup of luxury coffee, urging consumers to consider the origins and impacts of coffees they choose to drink.

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