The Most Expensive Coffee on Earth – From an Animal’s Butt. Curious How it Tastes?

by Darwin on January 1, 2012

most-expensive-coffee

I’ve become a bit of a coffee snob lately.  My wife finds it to be really annoying.  One of my co-workers showed up one day with a French Press.  The coffee tasted way better out of there than the crappy company coffee stand in for our afternoon wakeup call.  From there, we researched how to make the perfect cup (way more involved with a French Press but we think we have it down! haha).  Then, the conversation turned to the coffee we buy.  Store brand…Green Mountain…Starbucks, then…what’s better than that?  Well, we delved into the most expensive coffee on earth.

Kopi luwak

As hard as it is to imagine, for coffee-lovers with a discerning palette, there’s a specialty coffee that consists of coffee beans initially eaten by the Asian Palm Civet of Sumatra and Java, which then passes through its digestive tract.  Once in there, apparently, the enzymes make it taste just awesome.  The beans are pooped out, gathered, dried in the sun and then roasted/brewed for the high income market.  According to wikipedia, it goes for around $100-$600/pound.

Asian-Palm-Civet

This one goes in the annals of “who the heck figured this out?”  and how much animal crap elsewhere in the world did people taste that didn’t go over so well?  For the answer, the history goes back to the 18th century when the Dutch settled Java and Sumatra.  The Dutch had prohibited native farmers from picking from the crops for themselves (greedy bastards).  So, the natives, being curious, figured out that the native civets were eating coffee beans and pooping them out undigested.  They thought it tasted great!  The Dutch overlords eventually caught on and it became a delicacy even back then since it relied on civets which were in limited supply.

Where Can I Get Some!?

Apparently, most customers are Asian.  There are reports now of coffee shops sprouting up in London, Milan and the US where it goes by the cup around $80.  Hmm, I dunno, maybe once in my life to say I tried the best coffee on earth?  I might spring for the $80 if I knew it was the real thing.

How About You?  Would You Try It?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Moneycone January 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

I’ve heard about these, no, not in a hurry to taste them though! 🙂

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Darwin January 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm

You’re not the least bit curious?

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Financial God January 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Jesus people will eat/drink the weirdest things… but I think I’d try it at least once as well.

What is the deal with the French press? I am not yet a coffee snob, but when it’s good it’s really good. I had a coworker with one of those and I was always curious what it did to make the coffee better.

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Darwin January 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I’m not sure myself; I suppose the paper filters remove some of the components which carry nice flavors with them. Since it’s ground more coarsely, the surface area is smaller as well so perhaps a different particle size distribution in the materials in solution. I’m probably over-analyzing, but it does taste much better.

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retirebyforty January 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I heard this on NPR a while back. Seems silly to me.
The best coffee I’ve had is Jamaican Blue mountain when we were visiting the island. 🙂

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Darwin January 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I must say, the place we stayed in in India had the servers walking around with French presses in the morning and I couldn’t get enough. First time I’d seen that in a restaurant as the standard coffee offering. Ahh, it was like a dream….

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101 Centavos January 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

I have a package of Kopi Luwak in the cupboard now. It tastes OK. A friend in Singapore sends me one every once in a while. He as connections with a civet cat farm in Indonesia. Seems that the locals figured out it was easier to have these cats all in one place, rather than following them haphazardly through through the forest. They feed them coffee berries, and collect the um, end product.

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Darwin January 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Yeah I figured it’s only a matter of time before they walmart the heck out of the process.

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Paula @ Afford Anything January 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I wrote an article about this for Specialty Coffee Retailer magazine! I actually filed the story from Hanoi, where I found some civet coffee for sale.

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Darwin January 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

So, did you try some? Link to the article, would love to read it!

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