This is the most expensive specialty coffee in the world, selling for between $120 and $1500 USD per pound, mainly in Japan and the United States. Why is it so expensive? Because it is a little eccentric, and there is only a little bit of it, made in certain parts of Indonesia and the Philippines. Worldwide, only about 1000 pounds are being sold each year.

Kopi (Indonesian for “coffee”) + Luwak (Indonesian name for the palm civit)

And it should taste like shit…

Well, these coffee beans have been through the digestive system of a cat-like local animal called the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). The animal loves coffee berries; it finds the most ripe berries, eats them, and passes the seeds whole as it cannot digest them. These coffee seeds are collected by local farmers who then roast them and prepare them for sale.

According to research by Dr. Massimo Marcone at the University of Guelph (CA) has shown that the digestive juices of the civet actually penetrate the beans and change the proteins, resulting in their unique favor.

But commerce has corrupted the product here as well; there are farms were Asian Palm Civits are kept to produce the premium coffee bean. In this case the farmer decides which berries the pal civits eat, so these will likely not be the fine species that the animal would have selected in the wild.

How anybody ever got the idea to drink from these defecated coffee beans remains a mystery to me.

Super Gourmet Coffee: Kopi Luwak Coffee – $65 a cup!

Similarly strange types of coffee:

  • Kopi Muncak (also known as Kopi Muntjak) – coffee produced from the feces of several species of Muntjak (barking deer) in Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Weasel coffee from Vietnam. You can guess by now where those beans have been…

As a side note: the Kopi Luwak coffee made Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s “Bucket List” in the 2007 movie of the same name.