Dubbed the costliest coffee on earth, Kopi Luwak has one of the most fascinating roots.
Dating back to the Dutch colonial era of Indonesia in the 18th century, Kopi Luwak originated when coffee plantations were established on the islands of Java and Sumatra, also known as the Dutch East Indies. Local farmers were hired to plant coffee that produced Arabica beans, though they were forbidden from consuming them. They soon discovered that luwaks (Asian palm civets) were damaging the coffee plants by eating its best cherries but that the beans were not digested and still intact in their droppings.
Curious for a taste, the plantation workers picked up the excreted beans these luwaks left behind, cleaned and roasted them in secret and discovered coffee that was beyond their imagination with the most exquisite aromas. It was later understood that the unique, exotic flavor came from enzymes in the luwaks’ stomachs that percolated into the beans.
Word spread quickly about the distinctive taste that came from these excreted beans and the coffee was aptly named “Kopi Luwak,” Civet coffee in Indonesian.