- Daily Zen
While coffee is dubbed the biggest source of antioxidants in diets, many prefer having it as a means of rejuvenating the liver or for psychoactive benefits. But some will insist on the most expensive coffee in the world – definitely for the taste. Can you afford to spend 60 bucks for a cup of coffee? We are referring to a beverage that would cost at least $200 for a pound. You have been going on a very moderate price if you have not had the Kopi Luwak – the world’s most expensive coffee.
Kopi Luwak is a rare coffee from Southeast Asia. Though it’s not classified as Robusta or Arabica coffee, some farmers suggest the seed is from any of the mentioned coffee beans. But history books describe the beans more as Arabica. So, why is classifying the most expensive coffee not that important? Because of the processing! Kopi Luwak is derived from the Indonesian word for coffee, “Kopi” and a palm civet cat, “Luwak” a cat-like animal which eats and digests the coffee beans. And how does this disgusting phrase concern the most expensive coffee?
Coffee beans used in producing Kopi Luwak is collected from the droppings of Luwak, a shy forest animal that feeds on ripe coffee cherries. The animal consumes the cherries but can’t digest the coffee beans. Hence, Luwak defecates fermented coffee beans alongside its droppings for the coffee production. Farmers collect the beans, clean, wash and process them to give us the most expensive coffee in the world.
What’s so special about Kopi Luwak? Well, the wild animal’s anal scent glands and digestive tract usually change the molecular structure of the coffee beans to offer an irresistible taste and aroma – a quality that most people can afford to buy a pound even at $500. And what does the world’s most expensive coffee taste like? Kopi Luwak beans have a deep, overroasted smell to them. We sourced ethically harvested Kopi Luwak and had it brewed in a french press. The result was an aromatic, thick, espresso-like drink. The taste is pristinely earthy, with less acidity and a musky aftertaste.
Being that the Palm civet is a wild animal, it’s a lot difficult to collect the droppings for the production in a commercial quantity. The animal is not as many as fish in the waters to offer massive droppings. Hence, seed collection is not predictable or regulated. And many farmers have joined the production due to high demand; this has also raised more competition to force nearby countries; Philippines and Thailand into Kopi Luwak production.
About 1100 lbs or 500 kg of beans are collected annually from the wild Luwak in the entire countries. This leaves farmers in a tight condition to meet up with the growing demand, forcing civet farming, where the animals are confined (usually in bad condition) for the precious stones in their droppings. The shy wild animals are caged and forced to feed on a regular meal; coffee cherries.
An estimation of about 50 tons of Kopi Luwak coffee is produced from the civet farms annually. But consumers insist that the wildly sourced coffee beans have more quality since the animals are not forced on low quality coffee cherries.
The scarcity of Kopi luwak has been a major drive to its cost. Some analysts would suggest that civet farming is helpful in bringing down the cost somehow, despite the negative values. The question is, if the entire market has 500kg annually, how much do you think a pound of the world’s most expensive coffee cost?