Last Updated 03/01/2023.
Kopi Luwak or Luwak Coffee is often described as the most expensive coffee in the world, prized for it’s mellow taste. The first stage of coffee luwak coffee production is growing the coffee beans of course, but after this, the ripe coffee beans must be eaten and partially digested by a small mammal, a civet cat. These semi-digested beans are then collected, cleaned and roasted to make Kopi Luwak beans, to be ground and sold around the world.
Kopi luwak is highly controversial. An expensive, luxury, unnecessary coffee product made at the expense of captive animals. Ethical, or cruelty-free kopi luwak does exist, but for this to happen the beans have to be gathered in the wild, not collected from caged animals. The kopi luwak industry isn’t something we’d wish to support, but we stumbled upon a Kopi Luwak farm in Bali, quite by chance.
How Much Does Kopi Luwak Cost?
The price of Kopi Luwak varies depending on where you’re drinking or buying it, its quality, and its form. You can buy kopi luwak on Amazon (check out the astronomical price here). This brand claims to produce kopi luwak from wild animals and is cruelty-free. This particular brand of luwak coffee comes from Malaysia made from Arabica beans grown in Sumatra and Java.
At this price tag this coffee is certainly exclusive and a luxury item.
Kopi Luwak Bali
The most expensive coffee in the world, coffee Kopi Luwak, starts with a civet in Bali or neighbouring islands. These little civets are hard at work processing coffee beans to make Kopi Luwak.
I’d never heard of coffee kopi luwak until the day we accidentally visited a spice garden in Bali, much less knew how it was produced, whoever would have thought that coffee kopi luwak needed some extreme processing to make it so smooth and expensive?
This may offend the more sensitive among you.
Kopi Luwak Bali, How It’s Made
At the Luwak civet coffee farm we stumbled across, the little furry civet cats eat the red coffee berries, digest the fruit and pass the indigestible beans in the normal way.
During the process digestive enzymes enter the beans, doing something to peptides and amino acids that makes the resulting coffee less bitter. The civet poop beans are washed, dried and brewed as normal
I tried the luwak coffee. I wasn’t hugely impressed, I certainly wouldn’t pay the hefty price tag even if civet abuse wasn’t involved, but it’s good coffee.
We visited a spice farm on Bali where they produced the Kopi Luwak, it’s also made on Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi. If you’re visiting Bali with children or have a particular interest in civet poop coffee, this would be one of my top ten things to do for the spice farm rather than the poor little civets.
Despite the coffee not doing it for me, the spice farm was great, we travel with two small children so it’s all new and interesting to them, touching and smelling the spices, watching the coffee beans being hand-roasted and tasting a selection of teas and coffees. Lemongrass tea was a big hit with them, heavy on the sugar.
Check out our post on the best family hotels and resorts in Bali!
If you’re ever in Bali, check it out, but be aware that the industry, on a big scale, is very abusive to these little civets. There are links in the comments.