5 January 2018

Costliest coffee in the world?

We went to a agrobusiness coffee plantation in Bali (Batubulan village) that advertised Luwak coffee. We saw quite a few plantations like this. I had no idea what Luwak coffee is or why it is so costly. At the end of the tour we had a little of the coffee too.

What I did not know is how the coffee is made. I remember seeing the whole coffee production process in a coffee plantation in Costa Rica once but this is rather unique. And gross.

First a cat like animal – called civet – Indonesians call it a “luwak” (see the picture – the farm had quite a few of them) actually eats the coffee cherries from the trees. Inside the stomach, the cherry goes thru the digestion process. The fermentation dissolves the outer layer but the beans themselves (there are two beans in a pod) cannot be digested by the cat’s digestive system. So, next day, it poops the beans out (this is the gross part). You can see dry poop in the picture.

The poop is then collected and cleaned and the beans recovered. The shells are broken and then roasted in an open oven as shown in the picture. Finally, the beans are ground to powder like the lady was doing.

After packaging, it is then sold at prices that reach 20X-40X more than normal coffee!!

Posted January 5, 2018 by Rajib Roy in category "Coffee", "Vacations


  1. By Sibapriya Dasgupta on

    Only these “luwak” cats can digest the outer coating of the coffee cherries or rather cannot digest the inner beans ? How much cheaper it would have been if our digestive enzymes were similar ….though it would have been ‘ grossest ‘ !

  2. By Murali Hegde on

    I believe Luwak coffee from wild Luwaks are more expensive than farm luwaks. Wild luwaks are experts in selecting and eating the best coffee cherries and coffee beans out of their system are the best and lot more expensive.

  3. By Gaurav Deshpande on

    Check out the movie “Bucket list” – it has a hilarious dialogue between Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about Luwak coffee :-).

  4. By Sasvata Chatterjee on

    We got some as gifts, did not taste. My research says that the Luwak seem adept at picking the best berries. If you start with decent Arabica beans to begin with, then not much detectable difference. I keep wondering how desperate must the person who first tried this have been!

  5. By Jeff Kavanaugh on

    Check out the The Bucket List and ffwd about 3/4 the way into the movie. The ‘laugh so hard you cry’ item, which describes thr verrrrry expensive Luwak coffee is one of the best parts of the movie.

  6. By Rajib Roy on

    Ever since I read your comment, I had been wondering what is the origin of the phrase “to give a wide berth”. Finally, this morning, before everybody got up, I got a chance to do some research. I might have to dig deeper but as of now, I think I know enough !!


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