Yes, it’s true, and before you begin to moan and gag, think for a moment, about what you might be missing, especially if you are a true coffee lover.
Well, there must be a reason why people would pay a lot of money for coffee that is apparently extracted from the feces of the civet, a mammal common to many parts of Southeastern Asia.
It sounds totally gross, but it is not as unsanitary as it sounds.
The coffee berries are first eaten by the civet.
The civet is known for its discerning taste, so it will pick out the best ripest berries to consume.
The digestive enzymes supposedly give the coffee beans an improved flavor over the regular coffee beans. The beans are removed from the feces, cleaned, fermented, dried, and roasted.
The price ranges anywhere from $50 – $100 a pound and in some cases can be sold for much much more.
AlamSari – Luwak Coffee, Bali Coffee, & Bali Spices
On the way to Ubud, I rode with Cynthia, Danielle, and Ivant. This was one of the few stops we made on the 2hr drive from the Bukit Peninsula heading North.
It was a rainy morning and afternoon, but it actually did clear up for us when we stopped at AlamSari. The girls mentioned that we would be making a few stops along the way and I didn’t mind.
I didn’t know anything about Kopi Luwak until we arrived there.
Our host, explained to us as soon as we arrived what was included in the tour of AlamSari. We agreed to order a large sampler of all of the different teas and coffees that they offer. and then took turns tasting the teas and coffees after our host prepared them.
I had quite a few favorites.
It was interesting to see how the kopi luwak was processed by the ladies working there. I am sure they were just waiting for some tourists to come in, so they could show us.
Afterward, we casually walked around the property and I took a few more pictures. The property was beautifully landscaped and there were all sorts of plants, flowers, and fruit trees throughout.
At the very end, we were escorted to a little shop where we could purchase any of the brews we taste-tested in an instant powder form or ground. I bought some red ginger and lemongrass teas on this particular trip.
I did drink some of the kopi luwak and it was smooth and not as acidic as most coffees I have had.
I am not a coffee connoisseur, (thank you spell-check) but it tasted good to me. The Bali coffee was very strong, but good.
About a week later on my way to Mt. Batur I was coaxed into going to another coffee plantation, where I actually ended up buying some Kopi Luwak to bring back home, but that’s another story.
Our little tour of Alam Sari was the highlight of our daylong journey to Ubud, and it was a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon with my new feisty and funny friends from Canada.
That trip just wouldn’t have been as fun without them. Miss you, girls!
I hate to end this on a down note but I’ve since found out that many of the Kopi Luwak farms around Indonesia cage the Civet cats.
The cages we saw at AlamSari as I recall were very large and the animals have space to roam about, but apparently, there are some farms that cage them in very tiny spaces where they pace back and forth erratically. The small cages cause the civets much mental distress.
Even the second farm I visited had a decent-sized cage.
However, there are farms supposedly where they only collect from wild Civets that roam freely.
I was just made aware of this when researching stats for this story.
The truth is many of us eat animals every day and have no awareness of the conditions the animals go through before they are slaughtered and served up for our dining pleasure.
There are just way too many hypocrisies that can be brought up with this topic.
So, I just want to make you aware, that there are places where the civets could be living in horrible conditions, and it is up to you to do the research and decide whether or not you want to support a particular farm or not.
Brian Dennis is a full-time software engineer, some-time traveler and location-independent entrepreneur.
Chasing his passions in addition to travel in recent years has become a little challenging but even more fulfilling with his wife Betina and 1-year old son Divine.
Currently he is located in S. Florida and continues to share what he's learned with travel tips, guides and some motivating inspiration to encourage others to do more and experience more outside of their comfort zones.