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Would you buy Bali’s most expensive drinkable poop?

balinese coffee, kopi luwak, expensive coffee in bali, expensive poop coffeeCivet Coffee: Would you buy Bali’s most expensive drinkable poop?

When I think of coffee, Indonesia doesn’t generally come to mind. Images of surfing,  temples, beaches, rice fields and forests all surface… but not coffee.  Not until now, as  I’ve just learned that Indonesia has the stamp on one of the world’s most expensive coffees. It’s called Kopi Luwak.

Read  18 Things to Know Before you Go to Bali

What does the Bali’s most expensive coffee come from? 

Poop. That’s right… poop!  I was on a group tour and we stopped over at one of the coffee farms to sample coffees and see the process of Kopi Luwak. Most of us think that coffee comes from beans on a tree and with Luwak coffee, that’s partially right. Coffee beans are still grown on trees; however, there’s an intermediary channel it goes through, called the Asian Palm civet muskrat or a raccoon-striped weasel called a ‘Luwak‘!

kopi luwak

Would you buy Bali’s most expensive drinkable poop: The Luwak civet creates Bali’s most expensive coffee

Luwaks reside in trees and  are said to be extremely particular about what they eat. They only eat red coffee berries and of that it’s selective.   Anyways, the finicky luwak eats and digests the fruit around the red coffee bean and then phffft! Out comes the undigested beans in clumps. It’s said that the enzymes in the luwak’s stomach seeps into the bean and that, in fact gives it its flavor.

(That’s a good one if I’ve ever heard of it.)

luwak berries

The luwak’s bean poop is then gathered, boiled in hot water, hand peeled, dried and then put in a pan and roasted.

balinese coffee, kopi luwak, expensive coffee in bali, expensive poop coffee

 

What is the cost and taste?

At $160 /lb, I wasn’t about to pay to sample it.  In the U.S. it’s said to go for between $100-600 a pound. Our tour guide said that Luwak kopi is aromatic, but strongly bitter.    Not very good tasting, actually.

Kopi Luwak

Would you buy Bali’s most expensive drinkable poop: Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee

Where is Luwak coffee produced in Indonesia?

I took a tour of the Teman Coffee Plantation to learn about this, but you’ll find this coffee produced in Bali, but also, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Java.  Now you know.  If you’re  a coffee connoisseur and you make a trip over, this would be the perfect time to stock up.

bali coffee samples

Sampling Bali’s coffees and teas

What do you pay to drink Bali’s most expensive drinkable poop? Ever tried Kopi Luwak? Would you?

 


 

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23 Comments

  1. becatgrowinghome says:

    Coming from poop and being ‘pre-fermented’ doesn’t worry me at all… but animal welfare concerns do. I have read that in some cases the civet cats are kidnapped from their homes in the forest, kept in cages, and supposedly released after a months worth of enforced service. I’m not really into that, but am keen to try and find somewhere that sells it who have better conditions. Whilst I am not a vegan or PETA fanatic, I try to avoid eating caged animals or animal products.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @becatgrowinghome: I hear ya. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where they might have better conditions. With developing countries, I see a lot of animal use and mistreatment but it’s for the sake of livelihood survival and to feed families ( vs. corporations) and sadly, it often mirrors human situation, as well. “Free range” is still largely a western concept and alternative lifestyle choice. It could take time getting to Asia.

  2. Sid - The Wanderer says:

    Wow! I am impressed…would surely try it out, despite the cost 🙂

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Sid: Good for you! I’m sure a sample cup wouldn’t cost nearly as much as it would if you bought a souvenir bag.

  3. Wow. I wonder how they even found out about the process of making this coffee!

  4. TravelGenes says:

    I currently have 2 dogs who loves to sleep with me all day around, and I once had a cute looking cat as a pet. While I loved my cats and dogs, it never occurred to my empty mind that I should look into the waste they excrete every day and say, “I think this would make a fine breakfast beverage.” Never!

  5. Derek4Real says:

    Given the extensive amount of time and travel I’ve done in Indonesia, not to mention the fact I now speak and blog in Bahasa Indonesia as well, it should be no surprise that I am also very familiar with kopi luwak. I’ve had it several times but I am no coffee connoisseur so I personally didn’t notice exactly what made it so special. However, I did find the history of kopi luwak rather interesting…

    Back when the archipelago was colonized by the Dutch they quickly set up countless coffee plantations and began exporting all of the best coffee. In fact it was even outlawed for locals to produce any coffee for their own consumption. As a result it was only the crappiest coffee left behind for the local Indonesians. No, that wasn’t a kopi luwak luwak pun — literally only the stuff that was of the poorest coffee was left behind.

    During this period that locals started to notice when civets ate the coffee beans they came out intact and undigested in their bowel movements. It was at this point that locals first started experimenting with these bowel beans and the taste surprised even them. However they couldn’t keep it secret for long and soon the Dutch had adopted this method and were exporting kopi luwak as well.

    To this day it remains the most expensive coffee in the world. However various reports have concluded that somewhere between 50-100x more civet coffee is sold around the world annually than is actually produced. Many places abroad do not sell authentic kopi luwak, even certain places in Indonesia have been known to substitute in lower grade beans. As such one has to realize that depending on the reputability of the coffee establishment they may not be getting an authentic taste.

  6. Brianna says:

    I’m a bit of a coffee snob but I’ll pass on this. Due to the demand and high prices much Kopi Luwak is produced by captive civets who are force fed.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Brianna: That’s sad to hear about the civets. You would think Indonesia might be better than the U.S. in it’s treatment of animals for commerce.

  7. Syd says:

    This is totally crazy! I would try it, I’ll try anything….but I probably wouldn’t pay that much to try it. Realistically that would empty my bank acct at the moment. Aaaand I can think of things I want to try more than some ferret like thingy’s poop.

  8. travelnlass says:

    They produce weasel coffee in Vietnam as well. But after seeing the way the animals are caged (I mean, you did say “Luwaks reside in trees…”), personally I’d not touch the stuff at any price. ;(

  9. Joella J says:

    Sure, I’d give it a try. I guess you never know what’s been pooping (or pesticide-ing) all over the apples we eat, so sure, why not poop filtered coffee? 🙂

  10. agnesstramp says:

    I’ve been to Bali and this was indeed so expensive to order Luwak Coffee even in local restaurants. It was very strong, but definitely worth spending the money just for the experience!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @agnesstramp: True, you only live once and I forgot you love your coffee.

  11. Besides the fact that it’s made from poop, I don’t blame you for not wanting to pay that much to sample it! It’s really interesting though. I’d love to know what was going through the head of the first person to make coffee this way…

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Simon: Exactly! That would take a serious chemistry set to figure out… or someone accidentally thought it was a coffee bean on the ground, ate it and then had to justify why they ate weasel poop.

      • Derek4Real says:

        Really? I explained the history behind it in my comment above and have been subscribed to comment notifications ever since, just waiting for your response 🙁

        • Derek4Real says:

          Oh oops…you have newest comments up top and oldest on the bottom. Sorry, that screwed me up. Didn’t sleep last night, was busy trying to get caught up on work. Feel free to delete these two comments. Later!

          • Christine Kaaloa says:

            @Derek: Were you being a disgruntled commenter? lol. No worries. Glad to know you care =)

            • Derek4Real says:

              Ahhh ha, so that’s how I illicit a response from you 😉 Sorry it came across that way, just trying to empty out my email inbox and unsubscribe from some of the comment notifications I am receiving. I have a tendency to stop reading blogs if I see that my long (and dare I say informative or thought-provoking?) comments are being ignored and didn’t want your blog to be one of those 😉

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