If I say Indonesia...What is the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps pristine beaches majestic mountains or beautiful islands! Well...If you love expensive coffee I am sure your answer would be kopi luwak (kopi is coffee and luwak is a palm civet). Kopi luwak is a type of coffee made from beans found in the poop of the palm civet.
Indonesia is not the only country that produces kopi luwak but also Philippines and Vietnam. However, the kopi luwak in Indonesia has its significant connection to its history under the Dutch colonization way back from 1800 to 1950. At some point the Dutch East Indies were in near bankruptcy because of the subsequent wars they had and they created a new system called cultuurstelsel (Enforcement Planting).
During the 1930s under the cultuurstersel cash crop system the Dutch prohibited the farmers from picking coffee beans for their own use. So to satisfy their craving for coffee, the farmer started to follow the palm civet in the wild and harvest the civet poop. They washed them to remove the pathogen and endocarp then roasted and brewed the beans. Soon however, the cash crop owners heard about it. Because of its aroma and taste kopi luwak became their favourite coffee to drink. They also started exporting them with a higher price than the regular coffee.
In the supermarket the kopi luwak is sold for $100 US per kilogram and it said to be 5 times higher in price than the local coffee.
Researchers said that the digestive system of the palm civet altered the proteins that makes it less bitter and gives coffee a nice flavour. The kopi luwak also contains volatile that makes the aroma and taste different than other coffee.
Because of its popularity however, many palm civet are being captured and caged by the farmers to produce kopi luwak. Some of these animals live in horrific conditions and are force-fed coffee berries so they can harvest the coffee poop. Others think that because the animals are stressed they cannot produce good kopi luwak like when they are free in the wild.
A cup of kopi luwak is sold for $50 US. Do you think it is worth that?