Sunday, 15 April 2012

Civet coffee gains popularity [Updated, April 2012]

By Jackie, Researcher
Type of business industry: Food & beverage
Product: Civet Coffee/ Kopi Luwak/ Kopi Musang

“Kopi” is the Indonesian word for coffee and the “Luwak” is the indigenous animal
who plays an “active” role in the harvesting of the raw coffee cherries.


The objective of this week's research is to find out which type of coffee is considered the most expensive coffee in the world. A deep discovery and understanding was done through viewing a number of media news including CNN to find out the processes involved to make this coffee, the global market price of this coffee, the customers' response after drinking this coffee, the issues related to this coffee, and the potential of doing this type of coffee business.

"Kopi Luwak" or civet coffee is coffee made from coffee berries which have
been eaten and passed through the digestive tract of the civet cat.

Strange, but true!

Well, it is hard to believe that the most luxury coffee in the world is actually made from “animal dropping”. Yeah, that is true. In order to be more specific, I would say that it is made from Asian Palm Civet’s [and other related civets] dropping. Ideally, these civets are kept in cage and feed on beans of coffee berries as their major diet. They enjoy eating the berries fleshy pulp. Then, those coffee berries are passed through their digestive system and finally defecated. Amazingly, the defecated coffee beans are still in shape. This is because the civets eat the berries but the beans inside the berries which pass through the cat’s digestive system are still undigested. After that, their dropping is gathered and undergoes a series of processes such as washing, sun-drying, light-roasting and brewing. Some customers state that these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness.

Coffee connoisseur Chris Rubin explains what makes "kopi luwak" worth the exorbitant price: 
"The aroma is rich and strong, and the coffee is incredibly full bodied, almost syrupy. It's thick with a hint of chocolate, and lingers on the tongue with a long, clean aftertaste. It's definitely one of the most interesting and unusual cups I've ever had."

Connie Veneracion, a consumer who had given a jar of civet coffee beans by her brother and family who had just came back from Indonesia in 2009 said:                                                           
“I tore the seal, opened the jar and the first thing I noticed was the glossy exterior of the coffee beans as though they were coated with oil. After dinner, I dumped half of the contents of the jar into the blender and processed the beans to a coarse grind. The aroma was decidedly fruity and sweet. The ground civet coffee beans went into the coffee percolator and, several minutes later, I was excitedly serving civet coffee to everyone who cared for a cup.”

Expert cupper and Sprudgie Award winner Stephen Vick had this to say on his kopi luwak experiences:
 “On the cups that I didn't present defect I found very mild sweetness and acidity with some grassy, iodine notes and a pretty rough finish. One of four cups was moldy and another single cup showed phenol. I tasted band-aids, iodine, and oyster.”

[Again, those comments were only based on their personal opinion and thus, controversial]

Price and availability
Ranging from US$120 and $600 (RM400 to RM2,000) per pound. 

“One small cafe in Queensland Australia has Kopi Luwak on the menu at A$50.00 (US$33.00) per cup. Brasserie of Peter Jones department store in London’s Sloane Square started selling a blend of Kopi Luwak peanut and Blue Mountain called Caffe Raro for £50 (=US$99.00) a cup” 
(, 2011)

Sumatra is the world's largest regional producer of civet coffee, followed by Java and Sulawesi [This data might have been changed as Southeast Asia’s countries entrepreneurs such as Malaysia have started to invest heavily in production in their homeland due to exceptional high market price]. It is mainly sold in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and United States. Most of us simply cannot afford it.

1. Halal or non-halal (vary in different country)
 Indonesia: Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) declared that civet coffee (locally known as Kopi Luwak) is   
 Halal and can be consumed by Muslims as long as the beans are thoroughly cleansed before grinding. 
 MalaysiaThe exotic and highly-priced kopi luwak (Civet Cat Coffee) has not received Halal status from 
 the National Fatwa Council, Malaysia. A Harian Metro report advised Muslim consumers to refrain from 
 drinking the coffee due to its unconfirmed Halal status. 

2. Fake Civet Coffee
 Due to the lucrative market for high-priced Civet coffee it seems inevitable that some unscrupulous people   
 would try to capitalize through dishonest means, passing off as Civet coffee certain coffee beans which 
 indeed had not been consumed and expelled by a Civet. 

3. Maligned, abused, and beleaguered
    The civet cat has an unknown future on many fronts. The civet was traditionally hunted as a pest, but a   
    booming market in civet coffee has changed its fate, turning it from ‘pest’ into ‘producer’. 

Business Potential
In term of economic perspective, this business industry has a bright future due to its high demand, but limited supply. Franchises like Coffee Bean, Starbucks and etc which are available globally are selling it at extraorbitant price indirectly boosting more new entrepreneurs [mostly from Southeast Asia] to venture into this industry. This commodity has no price control as it is classified under luxury good, instead of essential items. It is usually considered as small scale manufacturing business as the current annual output produced from factories are not very large [usually in pounds instead of tonnes]. However, the difficulties are the methods to keep those civets healthily, halal or non halal issue, law constraint [protected species in some countries], and health benefits [some manufacturers didn’t undergoes the correct cleaning processes, resulting in producing a harmful output].     

Related links:
CNN News Team Tries Kopi Luwak Coffee: Tests Kopi Luwak Coffee:
Kopi Luwak Coffee - $65 a cup!:
Kopi Luwak 猫屎 咖啡:


  1. i like coffe guys,,terima kasih atas informasinya

  2. Kopi Luwak terkenal di mana mana.....
    Enak nia.....
    Sip Mas......

  3. luwak coffe is the best in the world,

  4. Well, I never liked coffee to begin with, but now that I know some is made from animal droppings I will NEVER drink the stuff again

  5. Great blog entry, congrats my dear friend, Interesting topics 'm excited.
    Best regards from Berlin, Joey

  6. walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =)

    Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

  7. I never thought it really pass thru some animals digestive tract. thanks for the info.

  8. rasa kopi popular didunia ini... :)

  9. I agree that most luxurious coffees are made from animal dropping. It's a harsh fact. But the good news is, if you are not keen of such coffee, you can have a decent cup of Kopi Luwak and enjoy its unique flavor which can't be found in any other kind of coffee in the whole world.