Saturday, 14 September 2013

Kopi Luwak: World's Most Expensive Coffee

Civet cat coffee's animal cruelty secrets

The BBC secretly filmed civet cats being held in battery-style conditions 

Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans excreted by Indonesian palm civets - small, mongoose-like creatures. Coffee firms say wild civet cats eat the ripest beans which gain a desirable flavour

But undercover reporters in Indonesia witnessed civets held in battery-cage conditions to produce the coffee. Animal cruelty during the production of one of the world's priciest coffees has been exposed by a BBC investigation.

And experts say they are "totally convinced" kopi luwak from caged animals ends up on the London market.

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WSPA International: the Cruelty behind the World's Most Expensive Coffee

"Behind the world's most expensive coffee are huge animal welfare issues", says the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA (, and consumers, retailers and governments need to help end the cruel practices behind civet coffee production. A BBC report on this issue, launched today, features WSPA wildlife experts highlighting animal welfare concerns related to civet coffee, and now has retailers questioning whether or not they should continue to sell this luxury product

Selling for up to $100 USD per cup, civet coffee, or 'Kopi Luwak' as it is known in Indonesia is made from coffee beans that the small cat-like mammal, known as a civet partially digests and excretes. The digestive process is believed to ferment the beans and produce a coveted smooth taste according to coffee aficionados.

Whilst some beans are still sourced harmlessly and traditionally by local people gathering civet droppings in the wild--a method believed to produce the most superior tasting civet coffee--disturbing evidence presented to WSPA by the BBC shows that civets are increasingly caged in cruel and inadequate conditions in South East Asia to increase the yield of beans for this rare and highly coveted drink.

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Cutting the Crap on the World's Most Expensive Coffee

A 24 carat gold foil bag of kopi luwak coffee is available for £6,500 at Harrods, the luxury department store in Central London. But if you can only stretch to just a cup, then a speciality coffee shop in West Village, New York City will relieve you of $30 for a shot, while there's a place in Rupert Street, London, W1, which will serve a cup (or should that be chalice?) for £60. Meanwhile the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Singapore lets it go for 80 Singapore dollars a hit (£40).

This was the ultimate bling coffee for over twenty years, and a furtive, cherished secret amongst coffee aficionados. But the cat was finally let out of the bag when kopi luak starred in a crucial scene of the Hollywood blockbuster movie The Bucket List, as the coffee of choice for Jack Nicholson's exacting billionaire. Impoverished Morgan Freeman triumphantly breaks the news to an incredulous Nicholson, that the coffee acquires it's unique flavour, because it's found in animal pooh.

For film fans who may have been nonplussed, if this part of the otherwise fictional movie was indeed true, we can confirm that genuine Indonesian kopi luwak is collected from the droppings of a wild cat-like animal called the luwak (otherwise known as common palm civet, Paraxorus Hermaphroditus). A shy, solitary nocturnal forest animal that freely prowls nearby coffee plantations at night in the harvest season, eating the choicest ripe coffee cherries.

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Indonesian cat-poo coffee producers deny mislabelling

In this file photograph taken on July 21, 2010, a wild civet in a cage is fed ripe arabika coffee fruits at a coffee plantation producing expensive luwak coffee on Bali island. Indonesian producers of luwak coffee made from beans excreted by civet cats denied on September 13, 2013 that the industry has been misleading consumers after the BBC reported the animals being kept in battery-like farms. AFP PHOTO / FILES / SONNY TUMBELAKA

Indonesian producers of gourmet coffee made from beans excreted by civet cats denied Friday they were routinely misleading consumers after a report said coffee from caged animals had been labelled “wild”.

The Indonesian Kopi Luwak Association also defended the practice of keeping  the weasel-like creatures in cages to make the coffee, saying it was fine as long as the end product was clearly labelled.

Kopi Luwak” has found its way to cafes around the world in recent years,  and is one of the world’s most expensive coffees. The Asian palm civets sniff out and eat top-quality coffee berries and then  defecate the fruit, giving it a rich creamy flavour.

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Animal dung coffee at £50 a cup

Cup of Caffe Raro
The blend is made from two rare coffee beans

A gourmet coffee blended from animal droppings is being sold at a London department store for £50 per cup.

Jamaican Blue Mountain and the Kopi Luwak bean are used to create Caffe Raro which is thought to be the most expensive cup of coffee in the world.

Kopi Luwak beans are eaten, then passed, by the cat-like Asian palm civet, and sell for £324 a kilogram. All profits from sales of the coffee at Peter Jones in Sloane Square in April will go to Macmillan Cancer Support

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Civet Cat Coffee's Animal Cruelty Secrets

Coffee firms say wild civet cats eat the ripest beans which gain a desirable flavour - but as Chris Rogers reports, many are kept in captivity

Animal cruelty during the production of one of the world's priciest coffees has been exposed by a BBC investigation.

Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans excreted by Indonesian palm civets - small, mongoose-like creatures. But undercover reporters in Indonesia witnessed civets held in battery-cage conditions to produce the coffee

read more

Coffee in Vietnam - It's the shit

In a humid outdoor café surrounded by palm trees, Hung Pham Ngoc launches an attack on his coffee, pushing aside a cup of pungent black java for a Coke. “Everything is fake!” complains the professional coffee taster and self-proclaimed snob. “It's all made from artificial flavours. It's undrinkable.” He fumes on about the problems of the coffee industry, and what he calls a grievous oversupply of substandard beans.

Vietnam is the world's second-largest coffee producer, but also one of the most obscure. Unlike coffee exports from countries such as Brazil and Ethiopia, Vietnamese beans are typically used in cheap instant Western coffee, which earns scant international commendation. His country, he declares, needs to market a trendy style of coffee drinking—like Starbucks, he adds, but finer. “Civet dung,” he proclaims. “Civet dung makes coffee good. It's natural, and it makes real coffee.”

Mr Hung is one of a handful of Vietnamese aficionados trying to revive tastes for this epicurean and elusive beverage. At specialised coffeeshops around the world, this coffee sells for around $30 a cup. As it happens, civet cats are coffee connoisseurs. With their long noses, they sniff out and eat the best and fleshiest beans. Their digestive enzymes ferment the beans and break down the proteins. These beans, harvested from the faeces, then create a coffee that tastes rich and slightly smoky with hints of chocolate. The beverage is known in Vietnamese as ca phe chon, or civet-cat coffee, and is also commonly produced in Indonesia and the Philippines. The final cup delivers a smooth, dark palate that is stronger but, some say, less bitter than typical coffee.

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The Philippines' taste for civet coffee

The droppings in their natural state

Beans for a unique cup of coffee 
Civet in  a cage
Civets are seen as pests in the Philippines
Lusina Montenegro rinsing the beans
Finding and preparing the beans is labour-intensive work
Andrew Gross tasting the coffee
Mr Gross said the coffee had 'some substance'

The Philippines has recently discovered it produces one of the world's most expensive and coveted kinds of coffee.

But it comes from an unusual source - the droppings of a nocturnal, cat-like animal called the palm civet.

Civets, related to the mongoose, are usually seen as pests in the Philippines and hunted for their meat. But their droppings are worth their weight in gold.

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Kopi Luwak - Not just an urban legend

Kopi Luwak coffee comes from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, an area well-known for its excellent coffee. Also native to the area is a small civit-like animal called a Paradoxurus. That's the scientific name, the locals call them luwaks. These little mammals live in the trees and one of their favorite foods is the red, ripe coffee cherry. They eat the cherries, bean and all. While the bean is in the little guy's stomach, it undergoes chemical treatments and fermentations. The bean finishes its journey through the digestive system, and exits. The still-intact beans are collected from the forest floor, and are cleaned, then roasted and ground just like any other coffee.

The resulting coffee is said to be like no other. It has a rich, heavy flavour with hints of caramel or chocolate. Other terms used to describe it are earthy, musty and exotic. The body is almost syrupy and it's very smooth.

One must wonder about the circumstances that brought about the first cup of Kopi Luwak coffee. Who would think to (or even want to) collect and roast beans out of animal feces? Perhaps a native figured it was easier to collect the beans from the ground this way, rather than having to work harder and pick them from the trees? We'll likely never know. But because of the strange method of collecting, there isn't much Kopi Luwak produced in the world. The average total annual production is only around 500 pounds of beans.

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Luwak is the Indonesian name for the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), one of several species of small mammals native to Africa and south east Asia. Musang is another generic Malay name for any cat or fox like animal and doesn't specifically refer to the luwak. 

Civets have a long association with humans and the African civet was historically used as a major source of musk, the base fixative of many well known perfumes and one of the most expensive animal products known.

Luwaks are found throughout tropical south east Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam where they inhabit tropical rain forest and, unavoidably, fruit and coffee plantations. They are strongly arboreal preferring to spend most of their time in trees, and omnivorous meaning they will eat almost anything available. In nature their diet consists of eggs, insects, other small animals and whatever fruit is in season. When coffee plantations flower, and then consequently produce fruit, the bright red cherries form a major part of their diet resulting in deposits of kopi luwak in the plantations and surrounding jungle.

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Quality Of Wild Indonesian Civet Coffee

For coffee lovers in Indonesia actually isn't foreign to hear civet coffee (Indonesian is kopi luwak) or low that comes from the stomach or through the digestive fermentation of a civet, the foremost expensive low in the globe in step  For coffee lovers in Indonesia actually isn't foreign to hear civet coffee (Indonesian is Kopi Luwak) or low that comes from the stomach or through the digestive fermentation of a civet, the foremost expensive low in the globe in step with wikipedia is additionally smart for health additionally to the fragrant aroma of low when brewed.

Additionally to being the foremost expensive low, coffee sorts are also a lot of the audience as a result of of the style, aroma and health benefits. For those who have problems with the stomach, currently you'll be able to relish the taste of low with the presence of civet low is safe while not interfering with the performance of 2 sorts of gastric you. There Luwak low is created in Indonesia is the results of wild civet and from mongoose l breeding results.

Wild Civet Occasional (Indonesian: Kopi Luwak Liar) comes from animal feces mongoose that deliberately sought and located within the woods or around the occasional plantations freely. There's a belief, wild civet coffee quality is comparatively higher compared with captive civet low, because the process of choice of the coffee fruit is consumed by the animal mongoose occur naturally and not forced. However there is an excess of civet low captive than wild civet, mongoose though pets don't seem to be selecting and eating cherries straight from the tree, however certainly given the captive civet occasional berries are ripe and recent. Animals are still sorting themselves mongoose cherries are ripe optimal primarily based on a keen sense of smell and a unique digestive system and then fermented completely.

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What is Cat Coffee?

Also known as kopi luwak, cat coffee is a type of coffee made from coffee beans excreted by a small Indonesian mammal. Sometimes called "cat poop coffee", this rare type of coffee IS made from poop, but NOT made from cat poop. It's actually made from the poop of a civet-like animal called a Paradoxurus or (locally) a luwak. (Kopi is the local word for "coffee", so kopi luwak literally means Paradoxurus coffee.)

Like the Rhesus monkeys that give monkey coffee its unique flavor, the luwaks on the Indonesian island of Sumatra seek out the sweetest and ripest of coffee cherries. They then chew them and (unlike the Rhesus monkeys) ingest them. After they digest the coffee cherries, they "poop out" the seed of the coffee cherry, which we commonly call the "coffee bean". The excreted coffee beans are carefully collected and rinsed, then processed much like ordinary coffee beans.

If you can get past the gross-out factor of this rare and unusual coffee, you are likely to be in for a culinary treat. The digestive process of the luwak removes much of the acid from the coffee beans and creates unique enzymatic changes in the beans, resulting in a particularly rich, smooth, complex, sweet cup of coffee. Coffee connoisseurs are known to pay $300 US or more for a single pound of cat coffee, and to say it's well worth the price!

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What is Monkey Coffee?

Monkey coffee is a rare type of coffee made from beans that were chewed by Rhesus monkeys. The monkeys are instinctively drawn to the ripest, sweetest coffee cherries growing on coffee estates. They select the best coffee cherries, pick them, chew them leisurely for a few minutes and then spit the remainder of the fruit (the seed we known as the "coffee bean" and the "parchment" layer surrounding the seed) onto the ground.

After the monkeys spit out the coffee beans, workers painstakingly harvest the chewed seeds. The seeds are then rinsed, washed, processed and dried. The dry beans look gray (rather than the usual green color of raw beans) and sometimes have tooth marks from the Rhesus monkeys. After drying, the coffee beans can be roasted and then sold like other commercially available coffee beans.

You can prepare monkey parchment coffee at home just as you would any other coffee beans. However, like cat poop coffee, monkey parchment coffee tastes very different from typical coffee. This is because the monkeys' saliva causes enzymes in the beans to break down, thus changing the overall flavor profile of the coffee.

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Kopi Luwak (or civet coffee)

The price per cup ensured we just ordered one

Kopi Luwak (or civet coffee) is something I was unaware of until arriving in Singapore. I like coffee but I guess I'm not really a connoisseur of all things coffee related. Upon hearing about it though and subsequently discovering that the production of the coffee is fairly unique my curiosity was peaked to see if perhaps I could find an opportunity to try it at some point.

Just in case you do not know kopi luwak is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and partially digested by the Asian Palm Civet. These civet's are cat like animals native to South and South East Asia, they can even be found in Singapore. They are omnivores eating a variety of berries (and the coffee beans) as well as small mammals and insects.

Back to the coffee though and as I mentioned the civets eat the coffee beans which is the start of the kopi luwak production process. Whilst in the civet's stomach various enzymes seep into the beans and chemical changes occur to the partially digested bean. After they are passed by the civet the beans are collected from the animal's faeces and once gathered are thoroughly washed, sun dried then lightly roasted and brewed to make what is currently one of the most expensive coffees in the world (hence my husband and I deciding to share a cup).

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I Had Kopi Luwak, the Most Expensive Coffee in the World

It all began like this… “Wanna drink sh*t?” my friend D asked excitedly.

“What??” I demanded, unsure whether it’s a genuine question or insult. “You wanna drink sh*t or not?” he persisted, like that’s the most natural thing in the world. “Come, come, I show you.”

Intrigued, and a little disgusted, I followed him to where another friend K sat. K had just returned from the depths of the Indonesian jungle. He brought back with him a small bottle of brown substance.

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