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Kopi Luwak

The most expensive coffee in the world is produced in Indonesia in a very unusual way


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Kopi luwak is a type of coffee that is made from partly-digested coffee beans that are eaten and then defecated by a small animal called the civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). Fermentation occurs as beans pass through the civet's digestive system, enriching them with a special flavour that is cherished by coffee connoisseurs all over the world. A cup of kopi luwak can cost you around $35 elsewhere, but in Indonesia, you can pay $5 and learn about this unique type of coffee firsthand.

The legend has it that during colonial times, the Dutch didn't allow local farmers to use coffee beans for their own consumption. The only way they could try it was by picking the undigested coffee seeds found in the poo of civet cats. The farmers collected these seeds, cleaned and roasted them, and discovered a beverage that was better than regular coffee.

Kopi luwak is very valuable, and there are plenty of farms where civets are kept in cages. Many of these places are open to visitors and welcome tourists, but many animal rights activists criticize these farms for cruelty towards civets. Some tour operators organize trips to show how civet coffee is collected in the wild. The best time for this activity is during the dry season when coffee beans are ripe and fall from the trees.