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Kopi Luwak: World’s Most Expensive (and Cruel) Coffee

Luwak

“Luwak” by Jordy Meow – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Civet Coffee, or Kopi luwak in Indonesian, is made from the Asain Palm Civet’s ingestion and defecation of coffee berry seeds. It is claimed that the civets’ digestive system gives kopi luwak a unique rich aroma and smooth flavor.

According to Time.com, “A cup sells for $30 to $100 in New York City and London, while 1 kg of roasted beans can fetch as much as $130 in Indonesia and five times more overseas. The ultimate in caffeine bling is civet coffee packed in a Britannia-silver and 24-carat gold-plated bag, sold at the British department store Harrods for over $10,000.
The justification for these exorbitant prices? A claim that kopi luwak is sourced from wild animals and that only 500 kg of it is collected annually. The claim is largely nonsense.”

Kopi luwak was initially collected from feces of wild civets, but has given way to intense and cruel farming methods where civets are kept in small cages and are force fed a diet of only coffee berries. Besides the stress of living in a small cage, the coffee berry-only diet leads to nutrient deficiencies in the civets and their bodies begin to deteriorate.

PETA, in this article, reports that they sent one of their investigators to visit several civet coffee farms in Indonesia and the Phillippines. They found that although many of these farms claim to be “wild-sourced” kopi luwak, they are in fact cage-sourced, with “sick civets suffering from infections and exhibiting signs of zoochosis, a condition in which captive animals constantly spin, pace their cages, and bob their heads in frantic displays of frustration”.

In September 2013, Tony Wild, the coffee executive responsible for bringing kopi luwak to the Western world, posted an article regretting his actions and launched a campaign aimed at ending the industry that he created.

See the below YouTube video:

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