Most Expensive Coffee – Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina, Indonesia

It is amazing how a chance discovery of coffee seeds in animal poops led to the making of most expensive coffee in world! This exotic, expensive coffee is Kopi Luwak of Indonesia. Call it delight or disgust, this coffee tastes different as it is made from semi-digested coffee seeds found in faeces of Civets. What you spend for coffee in Starbucks is just a fraction of what costs for a cup of Kopi Luwak!

Origin of Kopi Luwak

During the Dutch rule in Indonesia, the locals were not allowed to use the coffee they harvested. They were deprived of their own produce and their drink. It was when the locals searched around for coffee seeds they discovered that poops of certain species of jungle cats had whole coffee seeds undigested or rather partially digested but in complete form. Something better than nothing seemed the motto! Or better still: Necessity is the mother of invention! The locals collected these; they cleaned, washed, roasted and grounded these coffee seeds. And their drink turned to be far superior in taste than the conventional coffee seeds in use.

Civet in Bali Pulina

Coffee Plantation Tour in Bali Pulina

Visit to Bali Pulina in Ubud was worthwhile. We could taste unique varieties of coffee and tea. Most interesting part was the explanation on how they extract Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina from coffee beans found in poops of civet. There is good number of civets roaming freely in the plantation. This is important because poops from force fed civets do not have the same result. The civets choose and eat the finest of the ripe coffee cherries.

In the mornings the plantation workers scan the plantation for the poops of civets. The quantity of coffee beans collected in this manner isn’t huge, while the demand for Kopi Lumak is huge. This is one of the main reasons why Kopi Luwak is so expensive. Because of the stigma attached to the coffee beans they take more care to wash the beans thoroughly. The process here after is almost similar to the conventional coffee beans.

Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina

Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina

Here is a video where Kartika, our host in Bali Pulina, explains the entire process of making of Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina

The Science of the Semi digested Coffee seeds

What actually enhances the flavor of the coffee?

Natural enzymes in the civet’s intestines change the protein structure of the coffee beans.  This makes the beans less acidic, removes some caffeine and therefore less bitter. Civet beans are also lower in total protein. Cumulatively this enhances the aroma, increases the smoothness in taste and lowers the bitterness of kopi luwak coffee.

How does it actually taste? Well, I suggest have a sip of Kopi Luwak and be the judge.

Civets, Most Welcome in Coffee Plantations

Civets were once the most detested animal of coffee plantations as they were considered as pests. Fortunately for them the scene has changed, locals protect them now for their precious poops which fetch them very high price. However, there are stories and news reports of how civets are held in captivity and force fed with all varieties of coffee berries. The result is not very high quality Kopi Luwak seeds. I couldn’t find any such scene in Bali Pulina. They had a couple of civets in cages which are solely for satisfying the conditions for educational tour through their plantation.

Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina

Tea and Coffee tasting
Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina

Furthermore there are reports that normal coffee is sold off as Kopi Luwak to unsuspecting customers. One has to have good experience in tasting coffee which can enable them to distinguish real Kopi Luwak from the rest. So it is better to source them from authentic stores. Amazon sells them and if you are in Indonesia, you can have it at Bali Pulina.

More facts on Kopi Luwak

  • Cost of a single cup of ‘Kopi Luwak coffee’ can be anywhere in the range $35 to $80. One pound bag of beans costs $100 to $600.
  • In India this exotic coffee is available in Club Mahindra Madikeri Resort, Coorg in Karnataka.
  • Cost of Kopi Luwak in India is Rs 8,000 per kg and is available at Rs 20,000-25,000 per kg overseas.

.Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina

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22 Responses to “Most Expensive Coffee – Kopi Luwak in Bali Pulina, Indonesia

  • Oh, so that’s true, eh?
    I’d heard about it and was a bit skeptical. Now I believe it. 🙂
    Thank you Indrani. 🙂

  • I did this once! It was back in 2014 but it was such an awesome experience!! And love the video!

  • Wow great to read. Thanks for the video.

  • Wow, who knew poop could make declicacies? It is kinda weird. But maybe it isn’t? I mean, we eat honey spit, too. So…

  • It’s good to read about it.o have heard so much and video is awesome to know about it

  • Good to read about it ,I have heard so much about this . Thank you for share

  • I have always been interested trying this type of coffee…I am a bit of a coffee fanatic after all. I guess id spend up to 50 bucks to try it to see how diff it really tastes.

  • Archana Singh
    7 days ago

    Frankly, when I visited this place my heart broke because of the way the caveats were treated. They didn’t look happy and were confined to cages. Kopi luwak is definitely one of the most expensive coffees in the world and plantations use it to attract tourists. But I don’t think I’ll recommend this to anyone. The caveats are force fed. It is good to know that you couldn’t find any bad scene in Bali Pulina. But I do have my reservations. Hope you understand where I am coming from.

    • How else can a educational tour be conducted Archana, if they can’t show even 2 civets?

  • It’s very interesting to read how and why the Luwak coffee came into existence. I have heard of Luwak coffee and was in Bali a few months ago but didn’t try it. However, I knew it came from poop, just not that people came up with the idea ages ago because they were not allowed to use the coffee seeds of their own harvest! Interesting read.

  • Very interesting… I would like to try something like that ..

    Bikram’s

  • That’s so interesting. I don’t know how I feel about exploiting the animal but I would be in denial if I didn’t think it happened all over the world. Sad for them they need to be caged but I guess it’s interesting to learn more about why and their value. So crazy one cup of coffee can be so expensive!

  • Definitely exotic! Glad to know in detail about its making.

  • Sindhu Devi K
    5 days ago

    The story of Kopi Luwak origin very intinteresting. Good part is, if the civets are not not caged and force fed, it’s truly a lifesaver for civets. Though I am not a coffee lover, I like Kopi Luwak for this reason 🙂 Enjoyable read, Indrani 🙂

  • Seems pretty crazy that the locals had all of their hard earned coffee stripped away from them. But I suppose there is always a silver lining. Now it seems they are creating some of the best coffee in the world. Or at least the most expensive!

  • I did this same coffee experience when I was in Bali a little over two years ago! Isn’t it so beautiful?! I wasn’t a huge fan of the luwak coffee flavor-wise. I also really hate that they’ve caged them now. It’s not quite the same ethically that it used to be. :/

  • Necessity is the mother of invention! Indeed it is! (Great saying by the way!) And $35 to $80 for one cup of coffee?!? That’s nuts! Glad to hear that at the plantation you visited, the civets showed no signs of abuse. I’ve heard that at other places of ill-repute, civets are forced to feed to meet the growing demand for the world’s most expensive cup of coffee, which utterly breaks my heart. But endorsement from real travelers is why sharing our experiences with one another is of the utmost importance!

  • One of my vendors brought a box to me as a gift. It was interesting! I heard about it before so I was intrigued.

  • Thanks to you, I have learned about Luwak coffee which I had no idea about!! I was shook in the first para itself but in a good way. How by chance they invented coffee from poop is hilariously genius. I am sure to check out the place if I get to visit Indonesia but not so sure if I will taste it but I am a curious cat so we will let time decide. This was a fun factual post, loved it!

  • Megan Indoe
    1 day ago

    Kopi Luwak definitely has a unique taste and a fun experience. We actually went to this same Kopi Luwak stop in Bali a few years ago. I was bummed out to learn later that apparently these plantations that let tourists visit are cruel to the civets.

  • Coffee made from coffee seeds in animal poops… what?! That’s really curious. It’s incredible the things that are created when nature and human necessity came together. I’m curious, so I had no problem in trying it out 😉

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