Nowadays, luwak coffee is considered the most expensive coffee in the world. Made from undigested coffee berries eaten by a civet cat, luwak coffee has a perfect taste and special aroma that is widely acclaimed by coffee lovers across the globe. The natural selection process of the coffee beans, which involves a civet’s skill to select quality berries, is the main factor behind the perfect flavour of luwak coffee.
Using their instincts, civets will select and eat the best quality coffee beans; the probability a civet will swallow unripe berries is only around 1 percent. The selected beans will be later fermented in the civets’ digestive system for around 8-12 hours and plucked via their feces. With such a complicated process, it is no strange that luwak coffee cannot be produced in a large scale, making it the most expensive coffee in the world.
The popularity and huge profits of luwak coffee have led to the mushrooming of civet husbandry in areas across Bali. Luwak coffee has become a prime commodity and its production has developed into one of the island’s attractive tourist destinations, with many tourists eager to see more closely the production method of the most expensive coffee in the world.
However, few people are aware of inhumane practices in the collection process of fermented coffee beans. Civet breeders catch the omnivore species from their natural habitat and put them in cages where they are forced to eat coffee berries.
Recent research jointly conducted by the Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and the World Animal Protection uncovered 50 wild civets kept in cages in 16 coffee plantations across Bali. According to their findings, the civet grooming methods of many luwak coffee producers was inhumane. (ebf)