Is Kopi Luwak The Best Coffee In The World? Maybe But…


Kopi is the Bahasa Indonesian term for coffee, while Luwak refers to the Southeast Asian native animal called the Asian palm civet. 

This animal bears the Scientific name Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus from the mammal family known as Viverridae. Currently, it’s the most expensive coffee in the whole world.

The distinctive smell and the process of its production earned this coffee international fame and distinction. But in reality, is this coffee worth its price and popularity? Could one categorically say that it’s, by far, the best coffee in the world? Read on as we dissect the issues and facts surrounding Kopi Luwak.

HOW DID KOPI LUWAK START?

As you already know, it’s an Indonesian coffee made from beans that the Asian palm civet has digested. This mammal looks like a cat, but it’s not a cat. 

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These cat-like creatures roam Bali forests at night, ready to eat any coffee cherries before excreting them as coffee beans. The latter are then collected, cleaned, and finally, roasted. 

Because of the process, Kopi Luwak is also called cat poop or civet cat coffee. It all started way back in the late 1700s when the Dutch set up the first-ever coffee plantations in Java and Sumatra. 

The legend has it that the locals saw wild animals ate the ripe coffee cherries and left the beans behind. And since the locals were barred from harvesting these coffee beans, they started brewing the discarded beans.

In the later parts of the 1990s, this specialty coffee showed up in the American gourmet coffee scene. 

This could be attributed to Anthony Wild’s coffee book entitled “Coffee: A Dark History”. Because of this, the coffee appeared in the movie The Bucket List and the infamous Oprah Winfrey Show.

IS KOPI LUWAK A CAT?

Although they are commonly called civet cats, these animals are not cats. Instead, they are more related to mongooses than cats. 

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They thrive in the mangroves, parks, forests, and even on the roofs of urban buildings. They are naturally nocturnal and prefer to stay in high places and trees.

Civet cats have small ears, long muzzles, long tails, short limbs, and sleek bodies. Their dark and greyish brown bodies also have black spots on the side and stripes on the back.  However, their most distinguishing mark is the black mask found across their faces.

The Kopi Luwak Company

IS KOPI LUWAK CLEANED?

Some people are hesitant about trying out Kopi Luwak, thinking it’s unsafe to drink because it’s unhygienic. The truth is, these coffee beans are cleaned before they’re roasted. 

Yes, they may have been processed inside the civet cat’s gut, but after they’re collected, they’re cleaned before getting roasted at over 400 Fahrenheit.

IS IT SAFE TO DRINK KOPI LUWAK?

The reason why some people are antagonistic about Kopi Luwak is that they’re not safe to drink. But, of course, people often associate poop with being dirty, filthy, and germ-ridden.’ 

The excrements may be highly contaminated, but the processed and roasted one is entirely safe and free from e.coli and other contamination-causing bacteria. 

In fact, in the study conducted by the food scientist Massimo Marcone, he found out that kopi luwak has significantly lower bacterial counts than regular coffee.

IS LUWAK COFFEE HEALTHY?

Kopi luwak is considered one of the healthiest coffee beans in the world for a plethora of reasons. One of these is the fact that it has low acidity. 

So if you’re acidic and your tummy gets irritated every time you drink coffee, then you must give Kopi luwak a try as it doesn’t upset your stomach tissues. 

There is even a study from Harvard University claiming that civet coffee can lower the risk of most cancers, especially breast cancer.

The Kopi Luwak Company

This coffee is also famous for its antibacterial properties. This means they can protect and strengthen your teeth while keeping the staining down to a minimal level. 

Its antioxidants also help patients suffering from neurological problems like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. 

The caffeine in the civet coffee also keeps mucus crystals from forming in one’s bile. 

It also releases the trapped cholesterol crystals in the gallbladder, significantly lessening one’s risk of developing gallbladder disease.

IS KOPI LUWAK ROASTED?

Yes, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, they may have been processed inside the civet cat’s gut, but after they’re collected, they’re cleaned before getting roasted at over 400 Fahrenheit.

HOW DO YOU DRINK KOPI LUWAK?

Before you can drink the coffee beans, you need to roast them first at over 400 Fahrenheit. Once you’re done roasting them, you can choose to do any of the following:

  • Use the pour-over coffee method
  • Brew it using a coffee machine
  • Use a French press
  • Use an Espresso Machine

After choosing one of these methods, you can quietly drink your coffee as you wish.

WHAT DOES KOPI LUWAK TASTE LIKE?

Kopi-Luwak-Coffee

Though the taste is subjective, the general description of Kopi Luwak’s taste is this — rich, smooth, syrupy, musty, earthy with chocolate and jungle undertones. 

If you’re wondering if it’s bitter, those who have tried it claim that it’s less bitter-tasting than regular coffee.

DOES KOPI LUWAK TASTE BETTER THAN REGULAR COFFEE?

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The fermented or wet-processed coffee beans are said to have superior flavor compared to dry-processed beans. This is because when the coffee cherries are in the digestive tracts of the civet cats, they go through fermentation and acidification due to the natural microflora in the intestines. 

The lactic acid bacteria and wet process in the civet’s digestive tracks are responsible for the coffee’s unique flavor. 

This only means that the coffee is better-tasting compared to regular coffee.

WHY IS KOPI LUWAK SO GOOD?

Going back to the question, s Kopi Luwak the best coffee in the world?’ — one can categorically answer yes, and it’s because of the absence of protein in the coffee and the fermentation process the beans have to go through. 

Without protein, the coffee beans don’t taste bitter, and without the bitter taste, you can enjoy its rich, smooth, syrupy, musty, earthy with chocolate and jungle undertones.’

WHY IS KOPI LUWAK COFFEE SO EXPENSIVE?

This exotic coffee is so expensive only for one reason — economics. Because of its popularity, there has been a massive demand for this coffee. Unfortunately, there are only a few coffee bean farmers who can produce authentic ones. 

On top of that, to ensure the safety of the coffee beans, the one who processed them must be officially certified by UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, or the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

IS KOPI LUWAK WORTH THE PRICE?

A cup of Kopi Luwak could go as high as $100. So, the question now is this — is it worth the hefty price tag? You see, the answer to this question depends on who is asked. 

Taste is entirely subjective. What tastes significant to you may be off-putting to another. In the same vein, while civet coffee may be worth the price to one, it may be different with another person.

The Kopi Luwak Company

DOES KOPI LUWAK COFFEE EXPIRE?

The lifespan of your coffee beans would depend on how well you store them. Green coffee can last for more than a year if you correctly store them in a cool and dry place. On the other hand, roasted coffee can be stored for a year and more. 

Ideally, it’s still best to consume them within three days after roasting. Through this, you can preserve the rich aroma and delicate, exquisite taste of the coffee beans. 

However, when you choose to store them in a container, ensure that it’s sealed. Then, you can give them two months to de-gas.

HOW CAN I TELL IF MY KOPI LUWAK IS REAL?

The best way to ensure that you’ll be drinking authentic Kopi Luwak is only to purchase them from a trusted supplier. 

If you haven’t found that supplier yet, research prospective suppliers by looking at pictures of their farms, reading about their coffee bean-making process, and even calling them to ask questions. 

You can check if it’s authentic civet coffee without the bitter taste when you have received the package. Original civet coffee has a strong taste, but it will never burn or hurt your throat once you drink it.

DOES STARBUCKS SELL KOPI LUWAK?

Starbucks was once rumored to sell and use civet coffee for their coffee blends, but this rumor has no factual basis. 

For one, there are no civet coffee beans sold in Starbucks shops. Secondly, Starbucks coffee usually costs $1.85 to $5 per cup. Civet coffee beans are known to be expensive. 

If Starbucks sells their coffee at the above price, the cost won’t cover the expensive civet coffee beans. 

And lastly, there are only a few farmers that process and sell civet coffee beans. Indeed, they would have a hard time coping with the massive demand of the Starbucks coffee chain.

Where Can You Buy Kopi Luwak

There are lots of reputable retailers of this exclusive coffee. The Kopi Luwak Company is widely recognized as the world’s finest, tastiest luxury coffee. Their Kopi Luwak coffee beans have been ethically sourced and selected by wild, free-living Asian Palm Civets in Indonesia.

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