In this beautiful area surrounded by forest covered mountains and waterfalls I invite you to coffee plantation in southern Vietnam close to the city of Dalat. I have to admit that I am more of a tea lover but I like to drink good coffee from time to time, especially when it is something new to try straight from the plantation. I have heard before that best coffee in the world and in the same time most expensive is made from shit but for the first time I had the opportunity to try it. From the whole variety of coffees offered by this plantation I decided to choose the shitty one called Kopi Luwak.
Who is the author of the shit?
Luwac or Civet cat is a cat-like animal which lives in tropical Asia, mostly Indonesia. It’s a small mammal which belongs to Viverridae family. Coffee beans which are in fact seeds contain caffeine as a plant defense against animal. However, this protection doesn’t work for civet cat, because coffee cherries are its delicacy! Producers believe that these cats make selection and choose only the best beans to eat, that is another reason why the coffee is so good.
The civet chews the cherries for the fleshy pulp, but yet the seed is not digested. During digestion though certain process of fermentation occurs giving the seeds it’s unique favor. After around 24 hours the cat poops all the coffee seeds which can be collected and processed. In Vietnam these feces are considered as golden. In the next steps seeds are washed from other fecal matter, dried and pounded to remove the skin. At last, they are sorted and finally roasted.
The traditional method of collecting shit from wild civets has given way to intensive farming methods in which cats in battery cage systems are force-fed the cherries. This method of production has raised ethical concerns about the treatment of civets due to bad conditions. These include isolation, poor diet, small cages and a high mortality rate. Intensive farming is also criticized by traditional farmers because the civets do not select what they eat. Cherries which are fed to them in order to flavor the coffee are of poor quality compared to those beans collected from the wild. Planning to buy kopi luwak please be concern about these facts and check carefully the source of your coffee.
Why is this shit most expensive in the world?
Kopi Luwak has surely most uncommon means of production than any other coffee. Many animals are needed and overall process is not very productive. Collecting poop of wild cats or buying it from farmers should be the natural way of production, though gives even less product. This kind of coffee being the most unique received its extremely expensive price tag reaching €550 / US$700 per kilogram for an excellent quality. Low quality should be around 100 USD.
Now I can tell you that shit tastes really good!