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How Are Cats and a $100 Cup of Coffee Related?

How Are Cats and a $100 Cup of Coffee Related?

Who knew that the existence of the rarest coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, depends on a cat? Well, okay a toddy cat, which is actually a palm civet or as it is know locally, a luwak. This highly prized coffee is found primarily in Indonesia and Sumatra where the wild luwak lives.

The luwak has the unusual inclination to dine on coffee berries, but only the sweetest of the sweet. After becoming a meal for the luwak, the red berries pass through the animal’s stomach and out the other charming end.

Enzymes in the toddy cat’s stomach break down the the coffee bean’s natural bitterness but not the bean itself. The intact beans are “harvested” from the scat, washed and roasted — and then sold for up to an astonishing $600 a pound! Less than a thousand pounds of this highly aromatic coffee make it out to the international markets each year. Thus, in Japan and the U.S. expect to pay up to a $100 a cup for this rare java that tastes like a warm swirl of caramel and chocolate.

If I find an extra $100 bill floating around, I just may have to try this exotic coffee. I am left, however, with the question of “why in the world did someone first think that roasted civet-pooped coffee berries would be such a gastronomical delight? Seriously.

Coffee: The Examined Cup
5 Strange Food Inventions You’ve Never Heard Of
Does Your Cat Eat Strange Things?


Read more: Cats, Drinks, Feline Muse, Food, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, , , , , , , , ,

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.


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12:26PM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Interesting, but amazing what people will spend money on while complaining about the economy, debt and giving paltry donations to charity groups. Aside from that, you could ask this very same question about many of the foods we eat today... looking at mushrooms, for example, and knowing how many are actually toxic, who thought it would be a good idea to eat them, and how many died trying to figure out which ones were not poisonous?

11:15AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Very interesting!

9:26AM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

This is referred to in the excellent film THE BUCKET LIST with Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman in.

9:10AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

i am sure the civit takes offence to be called a cat. they are not felines. spread the word about Viverrids!

also. I do not think digging though their dung hurts the critter. it would if they farm them. but no rainforrest, no civit, no coffie, no beans, no money.

thus. you save what you care for and love.
even if it means saving something for it's turds and coffie beans.

4:02AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

3:36PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

OK, who was the first brave soul who washed up the pooped-out beans and discovered they make great coffee?

8:56AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

The last sentence-- a question-- sums up my feelings exactly.

8:35PM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

Very interesting :) ty

8:21PM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

I love my cup of coffee, but would never think of wasting money for this one. But, then again, how many people buy wine that costs much more?

7:36PM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

Thanks Cherise.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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