The Unsettling Secret Behind the World's Most Expensive Coffee
Are you prepared for this disturbing secret? The most expensive cup of coffee in the world is made with cat poop. Yep, you read that right. If you're a serious coffee lover, then you may have heard of the fascinating but gross civet cat coffee - also known as kopi luwak coffee.
This traditional Balinese coffee is considered to be the most expensive coffee in the world. Made from coffee cherries that have been eaten, digested, and defecated by the Asian palm civet cat, Balinese farmers have persuaded for generations that this method produces the best tasting coffee.
With prices ranging between $35 and $100 a cup, or about $100 to $600 a pound, kopi luwak is widely considered the most expensive coffee in the world! - via Business Insider.
Why do Indonesian coffee producers believe for generations that this method produces the best tasting coffee? One, the civet is apparently a very picky eater and will only eat the best, most ripe coffee cherries. Two, the animals' digestive enzymes "change the structure of proteins in the coffee beans, which removes some of the acidity to make a smoother cup of coffee - via National Geographic. Lastly, digestion removes all the fruit pulp that sometimes gets left on the bean during processing. - via Business Insider.
Why is it so expensive? The hefty price tag seems to come from the "specialty" nature of the coffee. Collecting wild civet cat droppings is very time consuming as it is hard to find and gather. As well as the difficulty harvesting the feces, many people believe it is superior coffee with a more aromatic and smooth flavor resulting from the process it went through inside the civet cat.
For decades in the past, kopi luwak was an Indonesian specialty, it was almost exclusively produced by wild civet cats. The animals would graze in the wilderness, picking the best cherries at their leisure, and coffee producers would hunt for the feces.
However, there are concerns regarding civet cat coffee now. As the kopi luwak coffee method gained popularity worldwide, demand for this delicacy increased significantly, which in turn has created a cruel industry. As a result, majority of kopi luwak is made from civets that have been captured and put in cages on giant plantations.
“Similar to foie gras geese, they’re basically force-fed coffee berries,” Suwanna Gauntlett, founder of Wildlife Alliance, a conservation group, told Globalpost in 2016.
Even if you don't care about animal welfare, there's the reality that the coffee just doesn't taste that good. Many say that kopi luwak was discovered during Dutch colonial rule, when Indonesian farmers were barred from harvesting coffee cherries for their own use. They had to scrounge around to get beans. The dung of the wild civet supposedly provided a shortcut to high-quality, cleaned coffee cherries free from the mold or decay that would've been common at the time. - via Business Insider.
Those of us eager to try this delicacy should only purchase products from “wild” farms and only then with diligent research to confirm the animals are roaming free of their own volition, indulging in only the choicest beans and getting a natural and varied diet!