Overhearing a raging debate on the benefits of cow dung and urine, my mind wandered to a similar situation. Here people pay lot of money to buy coffee beans which are processed in an animal’s stomach and exited as faeces. While the health benefits of cow keeps raging on, lets see this unusual coffee and why it is famous.
Meet the smart cat Asian palm civets
Wild Asian palm civets are cats commonly found on the islands of Indonesia like Java, Bali and Sumatra. Their diet includes fruits, insects and coffee fruits from the plant Coffea arabica. These cats are selective in picking the fruits which many believe they chose the best ripened fruit from the wild. Once the coffee fruit lands in their stomach, the digestive juices remove the outer pulp and do a kind of fermenting process on the coffee beans. These partially digested coffee seeds are excreted as waste. This is collected in the wild by farmers, cleaned, dried and roasted. The coffee beans processed in the stomach of this small lemur like cat give the coffee its tangy flavour. The gastrointestinal juices react on the beans for the amount of time it remains in the body. Be it the process or the novelty, what drives up the price is also the rarity of the harvest since it is in the wild.
Demand for the coffee is so high that local have kept palm civets in cages and force feed them with seeds to bump up the supply. Since the animals are kept in small cages and are under constant stress, they are not able to produce the same quality of beans as those in the wild. Price for a kilogram of coffee beans sourced from the wild can reach up to USD 700.
Other interesting facts about kopi luwak
- Coffee lovers need to thank the Dutch who banned the coffee production to the local farmers. Locals then started harvesting the coffee beans in the jungle from the animal.
- Selection and digestion gives the coffee its unique taste. It is interesting that the best beans are produced in the wild.
- It is also known as civet coffee.
- Market is flooded with all kinds of imitations and fancy rip offs