Kopi Luwak

There is a scene in The Bucket List where Jack Nicholson is making some of the most expensive coffee in the world in a complex machine. He explains to Morgan Freeman that the beans go through the digestive track of some animal. I thought it was all made up for the movie. Turns out it wasn’t.

On our recent trip to Indonesia, we went to a small farm in Bali. In there they made Kopi Luwak. This is known to be the most expensive coffee in the world, sometimes sold for $50 USD or more a cup. Thankfully, if you don’t factor in the cost of getting my butt to this place, the coffee ends up being no more than your regular cup of Starbucks Iced-Venti-Mochachino-Espresso-Latte-Double-Skim-Vanilla with whipped cream (hold the sugar).

This is what a Luwak, a.k.a. Asian palm civet looks like:

A caged Luwak is probably not a happy Luwak.

Turns out these things like to eat mature coffee beans. But they can’t digest the beans. So they poop it. The final product looks just like my poop after eating lots of corn:

Luwak shit is the shit.

Alone, these would make excellent biscotti replacements. But in Bali they take it further. The coffee beans are thoroughly washed – supposedly (and I certainly hope so) the beans are perfectly fine for consumption – but their chemistry is altered due to the animal’s digestive juices reacting with the beans. Then they are traditionally roasted, ground, and prepared as normal Turkish coffee. Yummy!

So how is it? Honestly, it’s very good. Yes, you can tell the difference. It is less bitter and less acidic than your usual coffee, yet it tastes very much like coffee. I wouldn’t pay $50 USD for a cup – maybe I’m just not rich enough. But I was able to afford about a pound at Balinese farm prices, I had an outstanding cup of coffee, and I get to blog about rat poop drink. All in all, undoubtedly a worthy investment.

Handsome tourist.
Handsome cup of Luwak coffee.
“Hmmm… doesn’t smell like poop.”

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