MUI declares civet coffee

Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) declared Tuesday that civet coffee (locally known as Luwak coffee) is allowed to be consumed (halal) by Muslims as long as farmers clean beans before grinding them.

Luwak coffee is made from hard beans that have been eaten by the nocturnal critters and then fermented in their stomachs before it is excreted and roasted. It is highly prized for its smooth flavor and bitterless aftertaste, sometimes fetching well over $200 a pound ($440 per kilogram).

The MUI acting head Maruf Amien said the coffee beans that were excreted by the nocturnal critters were considered mutanajis (afflicted with something unclean).

“Nevertheless, the farmers do not have to cleanse the beans with water seven times as Islam is told. As long as the beans are spotless, they are okay,” he said, adding cracked beans were still considered unclean and could not be consumed.

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