It might sound like a joke but it’s absolutely true: the most expensive coffee beans in the world are excrement. Literally, that is: we’re talking about Kopi Luwak, the coffee defecated by the civet, a rodent mainly found in Indonesia.
The very name of this unique variety of coffee describes its origins: the Indonesian words “Kopi” and “Luwak” can be translated respectively as “coffee” and “civet”. Those who have tasted it assure us that it has a very sweet taste, similar to a blend of chocolate and caramel. Let’s find out why…
It would appear that the civet is unable to digest the inner part of the coffee berries. As a result, the animal only metabolises the exterior, so removing the bitter part of the berries. This is why its faeces contain such extra sweet berries: the secret lies in the fact that the berries pass through the intestine of this small Asian rodent.
The price of defecated coffee
But how much does defecated coffee cost? A kilo of Kopi Luwak can cost up to 1,000 dollars, while local producers only receive the meagre sum of 15 dollars (ten times the price of traditional coffee). In fact those who order a cup of this coffee can expect to spend up to 70 dollars.
But the extortionate cost of this unique variety is not only due to its extremely tasty flavour. The main reason lies in the limited production of defecated coffee: only about 230 kg are roasted per year due to its difficult production.
Kopi Luwak coffee: protests of animal rights activists
So indeed, as you can imagine, Kopi Luwak is by no means easy to produce. For this reason, over the years a number of civet farms have been established. In these farms, the animals are only fed with coffee berries and are literally detained inside tiny cages, in appalling conditions of hygiene, all of which has devastating effects on their health, including psychological illnesses and nutritional deficiencies.
Many animal rights organisations have taken an interest in this situation to raise public awareness about the shocking conditions in which the small rodents are kept. The result has been a campaign against defecated coffee, which has already claimed more than a few victories, such as the withdrawal of packets of Kopi Luwak from the Harrods stores in the UK.
Say whatever you like: we may be incurable traditionalists but here at Caffè Aiello, the taste of a perfect coffee made with the moka pot or home espresso maker is second to none. On an everyday basis, nothing beats the Caffè Aiello capsules, pods or ground coffee: trying is believing!