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Kopi luwak – to drink or not to drink?

I heard about kopi luwak (civet coffee) some years ago and cringed at the thought of drinking it. Why would I (or anyone in the right mind) want to drink coffee made of coffee cherries eaten by an animal (luwak), and then passed through the animal’s digestive track? Maybe if I were competing in Fear Factor and there’s a half million dollar prize at the end of it, sure.

Here’s what luwak, the animal looks like.


Pretty cute, right?

And here’s what the coffee cherries look like after they’ve passed through luwak’s digestive system.

Luwak droppings

I was surprised to see this is what the coffee cherries look like after. I thought they would look more like rabbit droppings rather than pebbles.

It was during our trip to Bali and a stopover at Dewi’s coffee plantation that  we learned how kopi luwak is produced. Apparently, luwaks are picky. They eat only the ripe coffee beans, the best ones. The luwak’s enzymes seep into the beans while in the digestive system. Then they pass through the intestines and are defecated. I know, sounds gross right?

After they come out, they get washed thoroughly, dried and then peeled. The peeled beans are then washed and dried again before going through the roasting process.

And the finished product is an expensive cup of coffee that’s at least 8x the price of a regular cup of coffee. The taste? Strong and tangy and not at all bitter (coffee should never be bitter anyway).

Luwak coffee

Yes, I did drink kopi luwak. Twice – once in Jakarta and once at the coffee plantation in Bali. I figured this would be the only chance I had to try it, so why not?

Life is about experiences, and drinking coffee that has passed through an animal’s butt was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I just couldn’t pass up.

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