Kopi Luwak, the World’s most expensive coffee is made from coffee beans that are the excrement of the small Asian Mammal Civet. This may sound weird that the coffee includes partially digested coffee cherries that is eaten and defecated by a cat.
This coffee is also named after the cat as Civet Coffee. The cats only eat ripen coffee berries with fruit pulp. After spending a whole day in the civet's digestive tract, the beans are then defecated in clumps covered with some of the fleshy berry's inner layers.
The producers of Kopi Luwak argue that feeding flesh pulp to this mammal improve the selection and digestion mechanism.
Several studies have suggested that animal’s stomach acids and enzymes digest the beans covering and ferment them.
When the fresh berries pass through Civet’s intestine, the digestive tract helps in fermentation. So the enzymes permeate into the beans and help to cover shorter peptides and free amino acids.
The beans collected with other faecal matter, undergoes a long process involving cleaning, drying and opening its skin. Three to four days are required to complete the entire process depending upon sunlight.
The dried beans are roasted for around forty-five minutes using woodpiles to improve the flavour and aroma of coffee. After crushing the beans for thirty minutes, sieving to strain the powder is the last process.
The high cost of this coffee marks interesting to check out the process behind the production. The small productivity and labour contribute to this high cost.
Kopi is an Indonesian word for coffee and Luwak is the local name of Asian palm civet in Sumatra.
This small mammal is mottled with grey-black colour. They eat berries and pulpy fruits and thus help to maintain ecosystem through seed disperse. They show nocturnal activity patterns with peaks between late evening and until after midnight.
Due to this trending drink, these cats are increasingly captured from wild and fed with coffee beans for massive production. This leads to their isolation, poor diet, small caging, and high mortality rate.