While most people would pay on average $3-4 for a cup of black gold, aka coffee… the true connoisseurs among us know that is nothing. The exclusive ‘Kopi Luwak’, also known as Civet coffee can cost up to $800 per kg and in some places $50 a cup. But what is Civet coffee?
Civet coffee gets its name from the civet which is a furry, long-tailed catlike animal that lives in Southeast Asia. It eats on the tastiest coffee cherries and then excretes the coffee beans which have been fermented in the civet’s stomach acids. This process is said to produce a coffee that is smooth, chocolaty and has no bitter aftertaste.
The largest producers of civet coffee are in the Philippines and Indonesia where the huge demand for the brew initially caught them by surprise. The Filipinos were well aware of the coffee beforehand but considered it to be low grade. In their minds the lower grade stuff was on the ground and the premium stuff was up in the tree.
To cope with and cash in on the demand many producers have taken to caging civets and feed them the coffee beans. The debate is raging on though, on what exactly makes civet coffee, civet coffee? Is it just the process the bean goes through from time of ingestion to time of secretion or is it the fact that the wild animals select only the best coffee beans to eat. One producer mechanically strips the coffee cherries and mixes it with bananas. The civets eat it all. In his eyes, it’s all the same and the taste is the same. Another producer gives the animals the beans and lets them choose the best of the lot. The majority stick to the original formula and hire the native people to go into the forest and collect the droppings from the wild animals.
Want to see what all the fuss is about? Better start saving now, with global coffee prices rising, you may end up paying more than a pound and a crown for a cup of crap.