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What Is Kopi Luwak? Origins, Pricing, Variation and Ordering

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Coffee connoisseurs around the world pay a shocking amount of money to get their hands on the infamous kopi luwak coffee.

This coffee is very pricey for many reasons.

Production is the leading reason why this coffee will set your checkbook back so far.

If you are a coffee lover or intrigued by things out of the normal, keep reading to learn more about the renowned kopi luwak coffee.

What Is Kopi Luwak Coffee?

Kopi luwak coffee is produced by byproducts of the civet cat.

That’s right; we’re talking about cat poop coffee.

This coffee is made by using the cherries the Asian palm civet has already defecated.

They consume a diet of fruit, seeds, and insects.

Their digestive enzymes are what make kopi luwak so special.

Kopi luwak also happens to be one of the most difficult coffees to produce and obtain.

It is also one of the most expensive because of its rarity.

Taste of Kopi Luwak Coffee

People believe that the reason kopi luwak is so highly praised is because of the civets themselves.

Traditional producers and consumers of the civet cat coffee believe that the Asian palm civets know which cherries produce the best bean.

The combinations of the processing of kopi luwak give it its renowned taste.

Drinkers have described the coffee as earthy and musky but are lighter than traditional coffee.

It is described as smooth and even chocolatey in taste.

People have also described the coffee as having fruity or nutty flavor profiles.

All of these flavor combinations are due to the enzymes from the civet’s digestive system.

Variations of Kopi Luwak Coffee

Like many types of coffee you may see at your local coffee shop or grocery store, kopi luwak comes in many different variations.

These variations are not due to the brewing style, but due to the coffee beans themselves.

There are four types of coffee beans available, all of which come from a coffee cherry.

The four types of coffee beans are known as:

  • Liberica
  • Excelsa
  • Robusta
  • Arabica

The type of kopi luwak you consume is dependent on the type of coffee bean a civet chooses to eat.

Since civets are highly selective, the cherries they consume often have high-quality beans.

The most common type of bean used in kopi luwak coffee is the Arabica bean.

Robusta and Liberica are also commonly used in kopi luwak.

Some companies will even produce civet cat coffee with a blend of two, three, or even all four types of coffee beans.

To learn more about the variations of kopi luwak, let’s look more into each type of bean it can be produced with.

Liberica

The Liberica bean originated in Liberia and has a wide array of flavor profiles.

The most notable flavors of this coffee bean are:

  • Floral
  • Bold
  • Smoky

Excelsa

The Excelsa bean, the least common of the four, is also used occasionally in kopi luwak blends.

It was originally found in Southeastern Asian countries.

Excelsa is a variety of the previously mentioned Liberica bean.

This bean, however, has very different flavor profiles to Liberica.

People note the Excelsa bean as:

  • Nutty
  • Fruity
  • Light roasted

Robusta

The Robusta bean is one of the more commonly known varieties of coffee beans.

This bean originated in Africa but is used in many countries today.

This bean is more affordable than other blends, so using it in kopi luwak may slightly cut the costs of production and selling prices.

People love this variety for many reasons; one reason being the harshness of this bean.

The flavor profiles of the Robusta bean may be more common to the average coffee drinkers’ palette.

The most commonly noted flavors of this bean are:

  • Bitter
  • Earthy
  • Nutty

Arabica

Lastly, we have the Arabica bean.

This bean is the most commonly used coffee bean around the world, not just in kopi luwak.

A lot of the coffee you drink at home may come from the Arabica bean.

This bean was first found in Ethiopia and is used frequently all around the world.

The flavor profiles of this popular coffee bean are:

  • Fruity
  • Smooth
  • Nutty

All of these beans may be commonly found in a cup of civet coffee.

Without a doubt, the most popular bean used in kopi luwak is the Arabica bean.

Why Is Kopi Luwak So Expensive?

Kopi luwak is expensive largely due to its process of production.

It is a very specific, invasive, and laborious process which makes it hard to produce and maintain the product.

Another aspect that contributes to the high prices of kopi luwak coffee is the supply and demand of the product.

Since it is difficult to produce, it stays relatively low in supply.

Due to its popularity, people seek this coffee much more than it’s produced.

Farms have a difficult time keeping up with consumer needs, so the price has to rise to compensate for supply and demand discrepancies.

History of Kopi Luwak Coffee

With such an abnormal coffee, you may wonder how this coffee came to be produced in the first place.

Kopi luwak coffee first originated in Indonesia during the Colonial period.

During this time, the Dutch were in control of the surrounding area.

Since the Dutch had control, the rights of the native people in Indonesia were limited.

Coffee beans happen to be one of the things the Dutch kept a tight grip on.

Natives and farmers were prohibited from picking the fruit from coffee trees.

Farmers found a way around Dutch rules and began picking the fruit and beans that had already fallen from the tree.

As this is a tedious task, they noticed that the droppings of the civet contained a large number of undigested coffee beans.

The native farmers began collecting the feces of the civet cat and thoroughly cleaned, roasted, and ground the beans into what we now know as kopi luwak coffee.

Production of Kopi Luwak

The production process of kopi luwak is a thorough act.

It has to be clean and efficient due to the possibilities of food-borne illness.

However, experts say that you should not be afraid of trying a cup of kopi luwak because of precautionary measures.

First, the civet cats choose the coffee cherries.

These animals are known for being meticulous when picking coffee cherries to consume.

Some believe the digestive enzymes break down the coffee bean just enough to where it obtains a distinct flavor.

The flavor of kopi luwak is credited to this process specifically.

 It is excreted after the bean passes through the civet’s digestive system.

Farmers will then take the feces and begin the cleaning process.

The farmers begin by thoroughly washing the beans twice to ensure proper sanitary measures.

These beans are traditionally dried in the sun between each washing.

After the beans get washed, they begin roasting.

The beans will roast at very high temperatures (typically over 400 degrees Fahrenheit).

This happens to be sure all bacteria have been eliminated.

After the cleaning and roasting process, the beans are ground or packaged whole for sale.

Ordering Kopi Luwak

After reading about the renowned civet cat coffee, you may be wondering how to get your hands on a cup (or two) of it.

It may be difficult to locate because it is low in supply and high in demand.

Kopi Luwak Price and Availability

As previously mentioned, kopi luwak is typically very pricey and is hard to come by.

A single cup of kopi luwak may set you back anywhere from $35 to even $100.

In countries that produce it, the price can be much more affordable.

If you wish to save money on this cup of coffee, you may want to travel to a country like Bali.

Farmed kopi luwak coffee in Bali can cost as little as four dollars for one cup.

Where Is The Coffee Shipped From?

The most trustworthy and authentic kopi luwak will ship from Southeastern Asian countries where production happens.

Some companies may be third-party sellers and ship from somewhere not associated with kopi luwak farming.

To be sure you are receiving authentic kopi luwak coffee, you should check the credibility of the seller and the source of their beans.

How Long Will It Take For The Coffee To Arrive?

Depending on which company you purchase from and your proximity to them, shipping times for kopi luwak can vary drastically.

To accurately know how long shipping will take, you should contact the company you choose to buy from to get a shipping estimate for your home.

How Should I Store The Coffee and How Long Should I Store It?

Kopi luwak should be kept in a sealed container in a dry, cool place.

It is best to leave the container unopened until ready to consume to keep it fresh.

After opening, kopi luwak typically lasts around three months.

If your container is unopened, it can remain on the shelf for six months.

Read here to learn more about tips to keep your coffee fresh for longer.

What’s The Best Method To Brew The Coffee?

Brewing kopi luwak can happen in a variety of ways.

Many people use their preferences to decide the best method of brewing kopi luwak.

Some of the most popular ways to brew kopi luwak are:

  • Pour-over
  • French Press
  • Ibrik
  • Vacuum

The most important thing about brewing kopi luwak to remember is the temperature of the water.

Your water should be around 200 degrees to make the best cup of kopi luwak.

Alternative: Imitation Kopi Luwak Coffee

If you aren’t ready to spend that much on a cup of coffee, we understand.

Lucky for you, there may be an alternative to kopi luwak to give you a similar flavor experience.

Some popular alternatives to kopi luwak are:

  • Fermented coffee
  • Cultured coffee

Some scientists have even found a way to make other coffee beans taste like kopi luwak.

Kopi Luwak In Popular Culture

You may have heard of the movie The Bucket List.

This move popularized coffee as it became known as the bucket list coffee.

After viewing this movie, people sought after the bucket list coffee.

Other Considerations About Kopi Luwak Coffee

Other than the price tag, some people have other concerns about kopi luwak.

Animal Welfare

Some farms keep civets in small unsanitary cages to produce kopi luwak.

This harms the animal’s health in many ways.

Some people may prefer wild civet coffee for this reason.

Other people oppose the coffee entirely to not support harm to the civets.

Authenticity and Fraud

Another reason people won’t purchase kopi luwak is the lack of authenticity.

The price tag makes kopi luwak’s name profitable.

Some people or companies may falsely name their coffee as kopi luwak to turn a profit.

Wrapping Up

Kopi luwak is a rare commodity people around the world wish to buy.

Its grueling harvesting and production process make it one of the world’s most expensive cups of coffee.

You can find this coffee around the world, but it is commonly found in Indonesia, where it originated.

It is crucial to be sure you purchase authentic kopi luwak and not get scammed.

You may be intrigued to try a cup of kopi luwak, and rest assured, it is a safe experience.

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