4 reasons to avoid Kopi Luwak

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High-quality coffee is a luxury that we all deserve to enjoy and yet, most people don’t know anything about specialty coffee. A decade ago it was harder to learn about it because it was expensive, there were few standards and almost no scientific grounds for it. 

Knowledge dissemination on this topic has increased over time but not enough. A proof of it is that there are still consumers who buy Kopi Luwak despite its cruelty and high price tag.

A recent research paper found a renewed interest in digested coffees. This trend can just worsen the situation for an already shady and damaging business.

This post is a bit of a rant, but I explain briefly the 4 strongest reasons I found to avoid Kopi Luwak.

#1. It’s cruel

Civets are locked up in cages, which limits their movement. They don’t even have enough room to walk around. Despite this poor treatment, the civet coffee farmers force them to eat unripe coffee cherries so that they produce abundant beans and then collect them from dungs.

Some people consume Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee without knowing how much pain is behind it.

Captive civets eat coffee cherries almost exclusively, but when their diet naturally includes insects, reptiles, and other fruits.

In short, exploited civets are overly caffeinated, while living in tiny cages with limited movement. Furthermore, the worst cages are entirely made of wire, so the animals suffer pain constantly.

#2. It’s too expensive

Civet coffee has been making headlines for being extremely expensive.

A short supply has made wonders for true premium coffees like Jamaican Blue Mountain. In the case of civet coffee, it can be incredibly expensive as well. Business Insider found that it can cost something between 100$ to 600$ per pound

#3. It’s fake (a lot of the time)

Besides cruelty, Authentic Kopi Luwak is hard to track and certify. Unlike true premium coffees, which are traceable, transparent, and cruelty-free.

The BBC found that it’s easy to fake the origin of Kopi Luwak, and while some producers collect civet dungs in the wild, it’s extremely difficult to exert controls to assure their authenticity.

Moreover, although relatively scarce there is a lot more Kopi Luwak in the market than what can be produced. Mark Prince put it simply a few years ago. As authenticity is hard to demonstrate, some people are faking Kopi Luwak using commodity coffee.

#4. It’s not delicious

Although civet coffee became popular due to its peculiar taste. However, experts claim that it’s a poor quality product. Rocky Rhodes used the SCA cupping scale to assess Kopi Luwak’s quality and found it was inferior to other common coffee beans.

According to a recent study, Kopi Luwak might have become famous because of the unique taste of Liberica, a prevalent varietal in the region where the civet roamed free.

Try good coffee instead

Premium coffee is totally worth it. Many producers around the world are paying close attention to quality and use sustainable practices like agroforestry, which boosts biodiversity, protects coffee plants from extreme weather.

Coffee plant in Hawaii
Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

Moreover, premium coffee roasters and farmers have been dealing with strict quality standards for decades and offer more transparency and traceability.

Check this video from European Coffee Trip comparing Gesha Coffee vs Kopi Luwak. I found it interesting, although I wouldn’t even consider comparing Gesha with Kopi Luwak.

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Image credits

Featured image by Denise Chan from Hong Kong, China, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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