Coffee made from cat poop, what is that?!

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cat poop beans
Pic: Anand Osuri/Wikipedia

Yes, it is possible to drink coffee from poop, but not cat poop. Civets are the creature that are responsible to make poop coffee which is not a cat. Civets are more closely related to mongooses or musang in Malay and Indonesian language.

Civet coffee is a type of coffee drink originating from Indonesia, with its production spread across Java and Sumatra. In Indonesian language, it is also called as “Luwak”. Interestingly, this coffee was first discovered on the island of Java during the Dutch era. The type of coffee serves as the main ingredient in Arabica coffee and is notably expensive. Luwak coffee only gained fame among global gourmet coffee enthusiasts when it was introduced in the 1980s.

As the name suggests, this coffee comes from an animal called the civet, which belongs to the civet tribe. It occurs because civets have a preference for consuming various fruits, including coffee beans. The civet’s keen sense of smell can identify the best coffee beans, and when ingested, these beans are not fully digested. This is what imparts different taste characteristics to coffee beans retrieved from civet droppings.

The discovery of Luwak coffee is closely intertwined with the historical context of Dutch colonialism. Dutch coffee plantation workers, who received low wages, were unable to afford the coffee they cultivated. It was during this time that they stumbled upon coffee beans found in the droppings of civets around coffee plantation areas. These beans were subsequently processed to create a unique coffee experience. Surprisingly, the flavor of this coffee surpassed that of regular coffee, marking the serendipitous beginning of the Luwak coffee tradition.

There are various interesting facts about Luwak coffee. The first is its rich and distinct taste. This quality is a significant attraction because it avoids excessive bitterness. Additionally, it has a slightly fruity and sour flavor, preventing it from being overly bitter. Second, the aroma of this coffee variety distinguishes it from others due to its heightened fragrance.

History of the Discovery of Luwak Coffee

Pic: Podeyo/Wikipedia

The first arrival of Indonesian coffee occurred in 1969 during the Dutch colonial period. At that time, the Dutch introduced various types of coffee, including Indian Arabica and Malabar, with the intention of cultivating coffee plants on the island of Java. The initial area selected for coffee cultivation was the Kedawung agricultural region near Batavia.

Following Indonesia’s independence, coffee plantations were nationalized, reclaiming them from former Dutch colonies. Consequently, Indonesian coffee cultivation began to flourish once more, free from the forced cultivation system. This is what led to Indonesia’s production of several coffee varieties, ranging from Gayo coffee to Bajawa coffee. Additionally, by the year 2000, Indonesia had become the world’s largest coffee-producing country, alongside other coffee-producing nations like Colombia, Vietnam, and Brazil.

Next, we will delve into the discovery of civet coffee during the Dutch forced cultivation era. Initially, between approximately 1830 and 1870, the Dutch prohibited local residents from picking coffee for personal consumption. However, coffee plantation workers stumbled upon a type of civet animal that had a penchant for consuming coffee berries. It was from this point that indigenous people began collecting the feces containing coffee beans and initiated the coffee-making process using civets.

How to Process the Coffee

Making Luwak coffee, also known as jungle cat coffee, is a fascinating process that involves a unique role played by jungle cats or civets. These animals consume raw coffee beans, digest them, and then the fermented coffee beans are retrieved from their feces. In this article, we’ll explore the step-by-step process of making Luwak coffee and unveil the secrets behind this renowned coffee.

Prepare the Necessary Equipment

To make Luwak coffee, you’ll need the following equipment and ingredients:

  • Fresh and high-quality ripe coffee cherries.
  • Several healthy adult civets
  • A clean and comfortable civets cage to prevent stress.
  • An oven machine for roasting the coffee beans until they turn dark black.

Coffee Bean Selection Process

The next step involves selecting ripe, red coffee cherries for the civets to consume later. Choosing red coffee cherries is essential because civets favor their sweet taste. Additionally, consider the age of the civets; these animals can typically consume coffee fruit when they are 6 months old, but for coffee cultivation, it’s preferable to have civets that are around 1 year old.

Fermentation Process

Following cherry selection, the coffee cherries are fed to the civets, and the beans go through a fermentation process in the civet’s stomach. This fermentation enriches the coffee with various compounds, including enzymes. The enzymes in the civet’s digestive system enhance the caffeine content of the coffee beans. Every two days, you can check the civet cage to collect coffee bean droppings.

Cleaning and Drying the Coffee Beans

The fourth step involves washing the coffee beans thoroughly to remove impurities. Then, the beans are dried in the sunlight. Once they are adequately dry, they are placed in the oven for 8 hours at a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius. Subsequently, the coffee beans are roasted in a hot pan for about 45 minutes using a wood stove. After this process, Luwak coffee is ready to be enjoyed.

Utilizing Advanced Technology

In recent times, advanced technology has been employed to expedite the Luwak coffee-making process without compromising quality. Researchers have developed a technology that replicates the fermentation process of civet enzymes, eliminating the need for civets. This technology involves three types of bacteria: cellulotic, proteolytic, and xylanolytic. By utilizing this technology, Luwak coffee production becomes faster, more cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

In summary, Luwak coffee production is a meticulous and unique process that can be done traditionally with civets or with advanced technology, making it more accessible to coffee enthusiasts while maintaining the distinctive qualities that make this coffee so sought after.

The Most Expensive Coffee in the World

The first on the list of the most expensive coffees in the world is Black Ivory from Thailand, which commands a hefty price tag of approximately 1,500 US dollars per pound. What sets this coffee apart is its unique production process involving large four-legged animals, specifically elephants. Interestingly, this process yields only a small quantity of coffee beans, rendering it even more special and valuable.

The second contender hails from Indonesia, known as Luwak coffee, with a selling price of around 600 US dollars per pound. Remarkably, this coffee is also considered safe for individuals with stomach ulcers or high stomach acid, adding to its appeal for many coffee enthusiasts.

Lastly, there’s Finca El Injerto coffee, originating from Guatemala, which exclusively utilizes special coffee beans. This exclusivity arises from the fact that coffee plants thrive primarily in the Guatemala region, particularly on the Finca El Injerto plantation. The scarcity of these coffee beans, coupled with the challenges in their production and processing, contributes to the coffee’s high cost. Furthermore, it is sold at an annual auction for approximately 51 US dollars per kilogram, further accentuating its premium status.

Why is Luwak coffee so expensive?

Luwak coffee, or civet coffee, is renowned for its high cost, and there are several reasons behind its premium price tag:

Unique Production Process: Luwak coffee is produced in a distinctive manner involving civets. These animals eat ripe coffee cherries, and during digestion, enzymes in their stomachs alter the coffee beans. This fermentation process imparts unique flavors to the beans. The beans are then collected from the civet’s feces. This intricate and time-consuming process contributes to the coffee’s high cost.

Limited Production: Due to the specific conditions required for the civets to produce coffee beans in this manner, the production volume is naturally limited. Civets are choosy eaters, and not all beans they consume result in quality coffee. This scarcity of beans adds to the expense.

Flavor Profile: Luwak coffee is known for its distinctive taste, characterized by a lack of bitterness and a slightly fruity, earthy flavor. The unique flavor profile is a key factor in its high price. Coffee connoisseurs seek out these unique and subtle taste qualities.

Quality and Roasting: To maintain the coffee’s quality and unique flavors, it’s crucial to use high-quality coffee beans and roast them correctly. This careful handling and attention to detail in the roasting process contribute to the coffee’s premium status.

Brand and Trends: The branding of Luwak coffee and its association with exclusivity and luxury also contribute to its high cost. In the world of specialty coffee, unique varieties and flavors are highly sought after. The rarity and unique taste of Luwak coffee align with the trends in the coffee industry that value distinctiveness.

In summary, Luwak coffee’s expensive price is a result of its unique production process, limited availability, distinctive flavor profile, quality maintenance, and its alignment with the branding and trends in the specialty coffee market. All these factors combined make it a sought-after and costly coffee choice for enthusiasts.

Pros of Luwak Coffee

Luwak coffee, renowned for its uniqueness and luxury, offers several distinct advantages that set it apart as an exclusive choice for coffee aficionados worldwide. Foremost among these advantages is its extraordinary taste.

The unparalleled taste of Luwak coffee results from the unique fermentation process that coffee beans undergo as they traverse the digestive system of civets. This distinctive journey imparts a flavor profile that is challenging to replicate. The result is a smooth and creamy taste, characterized by exotic notes reminiscent of chocolate, fruit, and flowers, delivering an unparalleled sensory experience for discerning coffee enthusiasts.

Beyond its exceptional taste, Luwak coffee boasts an exclusive status in the world of coffee. Recognized as one of the most expensive coffees globally, its premium price is not solely attributed to its unique flavor. The limited availability of Luwak coffee plays a pivotal role in elevating its status. The intricate production process, which involves the contribution of civets and meticulous processing, renders this coffee exceptionally rare and highly coveted.

For those seeking a truly exceptional coffee experience and are prepared to savor the allure of exclusivity, Luwak coffee emerges as an unparalleled choice. In this discussion, we delve further into the advantages that elevate Luwak coffee to a captivating phenomenon within the realm of coffee.

Headache Relief

One of the initial benefits of civet coffee is its potential to alleviate headaches. Coffee, owing to its caffeine content, exhibits a vasoconstrictive effect. Consequently, the relatively low acidity of brewed coffee can be suitable for individuals prone to migraines. It’s essential, however, to consume coffee in moderation and refrain from excessive intake when experiencing prolonged headaches.

Rich in Antioxidants

Luwak coffee is replete with antioxidants, which serve as a formidable defense against various threats. These antioxidants not only thwart the presence of harmful bacteria but also provide protection against viruses and insidious pathogens. Moreover, they play a vital role in combating inflammation, averting atherosclerosis, and mitigating the effects of oxidative stress. Opting for a cup of this coffee ensures that you receive a dose of essential antioxidants, bolstering your overall well-being.

Cancer Prevention

Another notable advantage is that this beverage may aid in preventing breast cancer, with research supporting this claim. Consuming three cups of coffee has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, particularly among women. It is also beneficial for women approaching menopause to include this coffee in their diet. Additionally, drinking two cups a day can provide protection against the harmful effects of UV rays, thereby reducing the risk of skin cancer.

Mood Enhancement

From a psychological standpoint, another benefit is its potential to uplift one’s mood when consuming Luwak coffee. This mood improvement can be attributed to the caffeine boost and the satisfaction derived from indulging in a high-quality and luxurious beverage. Enjoying such premium coffee can also serve as a symbol of an improved quality of life. Furthermore, savoring expensive food and drink on occasion can create valuable experiences to share with future generations.

Oral Health Maintenance

The final advantage pertains to the maintenance and protection of dental health. Unlike some other coffees, Luwak coffee is less likely to cause teeth discoloration or yellowing. Moreover, it provides protection against the bacteria responsible for causing cavities, helping to prevent toothaches. Additionally, it may reduce the risk of conditions associated with oral cancer, contributing to overall oral well-being.

Luwak Coffee Controversy

One of the controversies surrounding this beverage pertains to food safety, as it involves the extraction of coffee beans from feces. The concern arises because feces, in particular, harbor potentially harmful microbes. However, these issues arise when the washing and drying processes are not executed with precision and thoroughness. Inadequate cleaning during the washing process can lead to the presence of mold and hazardous microorganisms in the coffee.

The second controversy centers on the welfare of civets, an issue that animal lovers argue involves forced labor and animal exploitation. Conversely, some individuals, including government authorities, liken this situation to the treatment of dairy cows. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that captive breeding not only involves coffee berries but also includes other food sources. In response to these concerns, some breeders have adapted their breeding practices to ensure the comfort and well-being of civets.

Additionally, several Luwak coffee producers assert that their coffee originates from wild civets, implying that there is no breeding or confinement involved. Wild Luwak coffee is sourced from the feces of civets living in their natural habitat, which makes the price of wild Luwak coffee even higher.

Indonesian Recipe with Luwak Coffee

One of the Luwak coffee recipes that you can enjoy is served with durian. This coffee drink is a favorite dish from the Lampung area. The method to make it is also quite easy: simply pour 5 tablespoons of coffee powder into 500 ml of warm water. Next, add the ripe durian to the coffee while adding sugar, then filter the coffee.

For a modern variation of Luwak coffee with a milk blend, you can easily purchase the necessary ingredients, such as full cream milk or biscuit toppings. The process to make coffee milk blend is to place all the ingredients, including milk, ice, and coffee, into a blender. Blend the ice until smooth and then simply add the biscuit topping to the drink.

Grass jelly ice with coffee flavor from Luwak can be a refreshing drink in hot weather. The combination of cold grass jelly and coffee creates a refreshing sensation. All you need to do is cut the grass jelly into small pieces and then place it in a glass. Afterward, brew coffee with ice and add the grass jelly, stirring until it’s evenly mixed.

The final recipe is to make a cake, specifically a Luwak coffee sponge cake. The soft texture of the sponge cake and the aroma of coffee make this treat a delightful snack for the family. You’ll need various ingredients, including 4 eggs, granulated sugar, powdered milk, wheat flour, melted butter, coffee, and cheese. Combine all the ingredients in a container until they are evenly mixed, then bake the coffee sponge cake from the roasted civet in the oven.


In conclusion, the previous discussion highlights the numerous benefits of Luwak coffee, which can be utilized to create a variety of foods and beverages. Additionally, its high malic acid content can provide a rapid energy boost. Luwak coffee also contains citric acid, which enhances iron absorption and helps reduce the risk of kidney stone development. Finally, it offers the advantage of reducing anxiety and depression due to its inositol content.

To avoid counterfeit products, it’s crucial to be familiar with the authentic characteristics of this beverage. Firstly, it possesses a robust coffee aroma, noticeable even from several meters away, with its distinctive fragrance. Secondly, the original coffee beans have a yellowish-green color. When brewed, authentic Luwak coffee produces a creamy white layer on the surface. After consumption, the coffee’s flavor lingers strongly for up to 30 minutes.

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