Where Kopi Luwak Came From

Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee. Kopi Luwak comes from an Indonesian island called Sumatra which is well known for producing delicious coffees the most famous of all probably being Sumatra Mandheling.

coffee luwak

a closeup of unprocessed luwak coffee the most expensive coffee in the world

One of the animals native to the island is a cat called the Toddy Cat (Palm Civet). The local islanders call these cats Luwaks. They are a kind of mammal and live in the trees on the island and their favourite food is ripe-red coffee cherries.

If you haven’t guessed it already. Kopi Luwak is the name for coffee beans once they have been eaten and excreted by the Toddy Cat.

The name has also been adapted to call the beans used to make coffee. It is thought that the Toddy Cats eat only the best coffee cherries, and beans.

While the coffee bean is in its stomach. It is covered in digestive juices and stomach acid which act as a form of chemical treatment and fermentation.

The coffee beans leave the Toddy Cat via its digestive system still intact. These beans are then collected by the islanders from the forest floor.

Then cleaned, roasted and ground just like any other normal coffee.

It is said that this process results in the best cup of coffee on earth with the digestive processes of the Toddy Cat improving the flavour profile of the coffee beans.

It is also believed that the Toddy Cat only picks the freshest, most ripe beans and therefore it produces its very own ‘pick of the crop’ blend.

The problem with this is that no two cups of Kopi Luwak coffee will ever taste the same. As the Toddy Cats will eat berries from different farms and different coffee plants. In this way, it’s truly unique.

History Of Kopi

The history of Kopi Luwak is closely connected with the history of coffee production in Indonesia.

It is said that when the Dutch banned the local farmers and plantation workers from picking coffee fruits for their own use.

The local farmers turned to the droppings of the Luwak.

Who they knew ate the fruits and left the coffee beans undigested in their droppings.

Making coffee this way spread to the local Dutch plantation owners and soon became their favourite.

And because of its rarity and unusual processing this coffee was expensive even during this era.

All of this means that Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee on Earth with coffee beans costing as much as £70.00 per 200 grams.

It has a rich, heavy flavour with hints of caramel and chocolate. The body of this coffee is syrupy and very smooth.

Unfortunately, the increasing interest in coffee beans and in particular the interest in Kopi Luwak has created an artificial farming situation.

Where Toddy Cat’s are very often caged in order to use them for intensive farming methods, i.e. So that they can be force-fed coffee beans.

Yet despite this madness, Kopi Luwak has become a bling coffee, drinking by the richest members of society.