Fascinatingly, one of the world’s most expensive coffee beans is excreted coffee. excreted coffee by ‘luwaks’ or civets in English. A Civet is a small cat like animal that lives in Sumatra. It is an omnivore and part of its diet are coffee beans. As it cannot digest the beans themselves (which are the seeds of the coffee cherry) they pass through the Civet creating a new musky additional aroma to enhance the coffee.
This process improves the flavour in some peoples view. Farmed in Indonesia, this coffee sells for up $2000 per kilogram once it has been processed and roasted. It has been claimed that the coffee is good for two reasons. Firstly, the process of selection means that the civets will only chose to eat the best coffee berries and second, the digestion process adds greatly to flavour.
The rich pickings from this product has led to less scrupulous suppliers harming the Civets themselves. Sadly some Luwak coffee has been produced using farmed Civets who are overfed coffee beans and forced to live in cages. They are shy, nocturnal and companionless in the wild and this artificial environment causes them significant distress.
A campaign to eliminate farmed Luwak coffee seems to be working and Civet friendly coffee is now more widely available but with a rather expensive price tag. It may be a while to go for Connect Vending kopi luwak coffee machines but in the meantime make your way down to Harrods if you fancy a coffee treat – but be sure your credit card is fully loaded!!