Cornwall Hospitality Ltd.
  • By admin
  • / 16, January 2024

Having watched Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson laugh themselves silly over how Kopi Luwak coffee is produced in the film The Bucket List, I thought no more of it until I went on a private tour of Bali with my wife. Towards the end of the tour we were taken to a coffee producer set in the countryside. The first clue came as we walked down the pathway to the site we saw the sign BALI CAT POO CHINO (below). At the entrance to the site there was a small roastery where the beans were being hand roasted and we were offered samples to taste. After the tasting we were given a talk on how the coffee was produced. 

Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee, and Luwak is the name for the Civet (below). The Civet is a nocturnal animal, during the night they eat ‘coffee cherries’ as the fruit is called, picking only the ripest, and most tasty. They digest the tasty outer pulp, and excrete the seeds – which are known as coffee beans. Farmers follow the civets around during the day, collecting the faeces, from which they pick out the beans and wash them, then leave them in the sun to dry, which removes the outer layer of the bean. The beans are then sorted, roasted and sold as whole beans or ground coffee.

Kopi Luwak coffee is noticeably different in taste from ‘ordinary’ coffee, due to some kind of fermentation process that occurs in the digestive system of the Civet. It’s not fully understood how this process works, but the enzymes that act on the beans subtly alter the flavour, making it smoother and less acidic. The taste is similar to a high-quality Arabica bean from the same part of the world, if it is roasted and brewed similarly.

You should be aware that the cachet associated with Kopi Luwak coffee has encouraged people to attempt to farm Kopi Luwak coffee, using captive civets, rather than wild ones. This reduces the quality of the coffee, as the civets are unable to choose the best and ripest coffee cherries, and do not generally have a balanced diet, so are not in the best of health. This affects the coffee, as the beans used are lower quality, and the process they undergo within the civets is also impacted. 

It pays to research your sources for Kopi Luwak coffee, to ensure that the health and wellbeing of the civets is prioritised, and the beans are sourced from wild civets only. Single-source beans are also a good choice, to guarantee a uniform flavour profile within each cup.

Ethically and sustainably sourced Kopi Luwak coffee is available from Amazon on this affiliate link.


Photos  by Paul Hole FRSPH