Kopi Luwak : the world’s most expensive coffee
This black treasure can cost anywhere from $20 to $50 around the world for just one cup. The most expensive coffee in the world, the “Kopi Luwak” , harvested in the many islands of Indonesia, Philippines and other countries, delighted these producers.
In Indonesian, Kopi means “coffee” and “luwak” means a small carnivorous mammal called “civette” in French. If this coffee is so expensive, it’s because of its manufacturing process. The story begins in the XVIII century, when coffee plantations are set up in Indonesia, settlements of the Dutch East Indies. At that time, they were hunting the luwak, which loves coffee cherries. But who would have thought that this small mammal would create coffee itself? Indeed, it’s by feeding on the best coffee cherries and the qualities of his digestive tract, that the Luwak digests the fruit pulp but leaves the coffee beans intact.
The producers had the idea of roasting, like the coffee beans, the excrement rejected from the Luwak. The grains are obviously washed and then dried before roasting. The result is a “Kopi Luwak” of rare quality, much more exceptional than ordinary coffee. Kopi luwak has a caramelized or chocolate flavor, with an absence of bitterness.
Recognized by coffee lovers, it quickly became the rarest and most expensive in the world. Indonesia’s often small producers struggle to meet the demand: only 100 kilograms of this exceptional product is available for the global market that negociates up to several hundred dollars per kilogram in Europe or in the United States. It is also Asia’s most developed country. The “Kopi Luwak Diamond” continues to win new fans, who consume in the most chic cafes.
Basically, this practice of harvesting coffee grains doesn’t in any way endanger the health of the mammal. The “Luwak” prowls freely around the coffee plantations at night and eat the fruits of the coffee plant. But now, with the craze of Kopi Luwak, the harvest has become wild: the breeding of Luwak for production have associations of animal welfare reacting.
Indeed, behind this coffee hides an abusive harvest of the Luwak: in cage and supercharged, they become claustrophobic and self-harmed, according to a study revealed in May 2016 of the Animal Welfare Institute. Coffee production methods are described as “a slave industry”. If these coffee bean crops are worth a fortune around the world, it’s the Luwak that suffers spells of abuse. It’s a very lucrative business in Indonesia: the trade becomes enticing in this country where the average wage is a 1$ a day. However, it doesn’t only concern Indonesia but also other Asian countries. It becomes difficult to distinguish grains from animal abuse from those of wild Luwak.
The rare and original production of this coffee fascinates as much as it displeases around the world. And you, what do you think ? Does the most expensive coffee in the world justify the mistreatment of this mammal ?