India is the seventh-largest producer of coffee in the world. Our nation also produces “Civet coffee,” commonly known as “Kopi Luwak,” the priciest type of coffee. This premium coffee sells for between 20,000 and 25,000 per kg on the international market and is in high demand worldwide. This coffee is not your typical coffee, as you might have surmised from its exorbitant pricing. Instead, it stands out because of the highly peculiar production process. It is a civet cat poop coffee.
Yes, you read that correctly. A specific cat’s processed faeces is used to make the most expensive coffee in the world. But then, it is no ordinary cat either. So here’s everything you need to know about this unique civet coffee.
What is civet coffee?
Civet cats, a nocturnal mammal resembling a raccoon and in danger of going extinct in the Western Ghats, can be found in Coorg. They typically live in tropical rainforests and coffee plantations. Although these tiny animals frequently irritate villagers by scaling buildings at night and making excessive noise, the coffee they are known for has made their faeces more than worth the inconvenience. For obvious reasons, it is the most expensive coffee in the world, but if you are a true coffee enthusiast, you won’t hesitate to pay Rs 20,000–25,000/kg! India is just one of just 3 to 4 countries where you may find this unique coffee. But how was it discovered?
History of civet coffee
Civet cat poop coffee dates back to when Indonesia was still known as the East Indies. Early in the 1600s, the Dutch migrated to the East Indies, where they encountered a new delicacy: coffee. They started to grow Arabica coffee using imports they had brought with them. However, they established a cultivation system in 1830 that made it illegal for native coffee producers to collect coffee cherries. This rendered unemployed a segment of the native Indonesian population who had previously relied on coffee production to provide for themselves and their family.
Desperate farmers in Indonesia developed a way around this. They discovered that the palm civet ate the coffee cherries they were gathering and that the coffee beans appeared in the animals’ faeces, seemingly undamaged. The villagers then cleaned and roasted the beans before using them to make coffee. The plantation owners eventually caught wind of the local’s superior brew, sampled it, and were persuaded that it was, in fact, the better coffee.
This is how civet coffee came into being. Civet cat poop coffee was scarce and expensive due to the peculiar nature of its manufacture. Despite this, it immediately achieved tremendous popularity and spread worldwide because of its aroma and taste.
How is civet coffee made?
Like its history, the civet cat poop coffee is made by harvesting the faeces of civet cats. Civet cats adore coffee cherries and frequently visit coffee plantations to munch on the berries. The civet has an unusual yet natural ability to choose only the best coffee berries for consumption. The undigested coffee beans are expelled in the civet’s stool after a 24-hour digestive process. First, the beans have been gathered and rinsed. Next, any coffee cherry fragments are removed at this time. After that, the beans are dried, roasted, ground, and brewed.
Civet cats digest the coffee cherries as they pass through their stomachs and digestive tracts, becoming more flavorful as they do so. It is crucial to remember that the flavour is primarily due to digestive enzymes and the process of the cherry breaking down, rather than the civet cat actively passing the beans. Coffee growers then collect the civet faeces with embedded coffee cherries, and after washing and sanitising, you will have suitably fermented coffee beans.
The method is time-consuming and necessitates a large number of supplies. That is why the beans themselves are so expensive. The civet cat’s well-being is critical to the overall flavour and quality of the beans. The civet cat’s diet and stress levels can alter the flavours and potentially make them less palatable. Because of the product’s scarcity and the tremendous lengths it takes to create, these beans are far more expensive than their typical counterparts, making them one of the most expensive coffees to drink.
What does civet cat poop coffee taste like?
Because civet coffee is commonly regarded as the most expensive, it must have the most exquisite flavour, right? Of course, it’s popular for a reason other than being an unusual way to obtain it. It has a deep earthy, fruity, nutty flavour, is gentle and smooth, and lacks the typical bitterness of coffee. In case you’re wondering, civet coffee is completely safe to drink. To ensure that authentic and genuine civet coffee beans are safe to drink, they are properly cleaned and roasted at extremely high temperatures. You can book a cab from Bangalore to Coorg to sample this extraordinary coffee yourself.
Where to buy the civet coffee?
In Coorg, Karnataka’s largest coffee-growing state, a start-up enterprise, Coorg Consolidated Commodities (CCC), has made a modest start by producing premium coffee on a limited scale. It has also opted to open a cafe to serve the brew locally. The company obtains the animal faeces from plantations near the forest, where civet cats congregate to devour the ripest coffee bean cherries. The unique coffee is offered under the brand ‘Ainmane’ in the local market. The company only has one store located inside the Club Mahindra Madikeri Resort and sells locally made coffee, spices, and other products. Here’s a guide to Coorg, with comprehensive details on activities and things to do here, to make the most out of your trip.
Now that you know all about this coffee, given a chance, would you like to have a cup, keeping in mind the fact that the coffee beans used in making it derive from the excreta of a cat? Book a cab in Coorg and find out yourself!