The Most Expensive Coffee In The World — Kopi Luwak

This worlds most expensive coffee is called Kopi Luwak and is known as Kape Alamid or Coffee Alamid in the Philippines.  In most parts of the world civet coffee,  it is known as Kopi Luwak.  I’ve seen reports of it selling for as much as $100 a cup!  The most common number I see cited for it in the USA is $30. Many call it civet coffee. Some of the more irreverent simply call it cat poo coffee.

During the peak season, Filipino earn around $100 a day harvesting these civet coffee beans.

Many expats ask me what kind of business could they get into when living in the Philippines, well, here you go.  You can export Kopi Luwak.

I don’t know what kind of restrictions are placed on the Kopi Luwak.  It involves wildlife and you should investigate it throughly.  It isn’t easy work and you will have local competition.  Competition with locals can be tricky.  You certainly must have all the legalities covered.  With this kind of money at stake, you could expect some resentment, whether you’re a local or a foreigner if you jump into this business.

If you had the cash and the proper visa you could enter into the Kopi Luwak export business by making contact with local business. I’m sure you could find one that would like to take on new distributors that can deliver results.

Since harvesting the beans yourself would mean tromping around jungle floors, you’ll be in remote areas of Mindanao and maybe Luzon. Remote areas of Mindanao are considered to be very risk for foreigners.  However, now it seems to be in other areas?  I’m not sure.

There are already some large, well established exporters of Kopi Luwak.  I see some selling it for nearly $900 per kilo and that is from a Philippines based website.

Myself?  I would just like to find a cup of Kopi Luwak to try, I’d pay P500 just to say I did it.  Not likely I’d pay more.  I consider that to be excessive!

Now, why would I want to say I did it.  Let me tell you how the beans are harvested.

Harvesting Kopi Luwak Or Civet Coffee

Coffee Alamid begins its life like any other coffee, from a bean growing in a forest of field  In the Philippines, they grow wild in the forest but civet coffee doesn’t come from climbing up a tree to harvest the treasured bean.  Before the bean becomes civet coffee a wild animal must process it. The Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), also called Toddy Cat is responsible for providing the  Coffee Alamid.

The Civet is said only to eat the best coffee bean.  Their enzymes ferment the coffee bean and most of the bean is excreted in its waste.  Yes, you heard me.  That’s where this civet coffee bean comes from.  Until the Civet eats and excretes the bean, it is just a normal coffee bean. This is the essential step for a bean to become Coffee Alamid.

The civets digest the flesh of the coffee beans but excretes the beans inside.  Before they are deposited on the forest floor, the Civet’s stomach enzymes do their magic on the beans providing  the civet coffee its esteemed aroma and flavor.

People living in the Philippines, almost always Filipino then search the forest floor to find the Civet’s droppings.  Filipino then collect the beans and sell them to processors.  These distributors are mostly interested in exporting the bean to the West.  This is where they command top dollar.

I have never seen it for sale in a shop in the Philippines, but I’ve not looked for it.  I’m sure it can be had but I’m not sure at what price.  Maybe it is only sold in Western style hotels?  Maybe one of my readers can tell me where I can find it at less than these crazy prices Westerners are willing to pay?

In researching this story, I researched many sites.  Two of which are shown below:

Kopi Luwak on Wikipedia

Asian Palm Civet on Wikepdia

What the Heck is a Civet?

I have always thought the Civet was limited to Mindanao but this report comes from Central Luzon?  Perhaps the Civet still thrives Mindanao.  There are civet coffee processing plants even in Cebu.

Asian Palm Civet -- Found In The Philippines

Civets living in the Philippines look somewhat like a raccoon.  The Civet is its own mammal and really doesn’t fit well into our common animal categories.  Many say it is a rat. It isn’t a rat.  Some say it is a cat, its closer to a cat and is classified in the same suborder as cats are.  In the Philippines the Civet is omnivores.  Civets in other parts of the world are usually carnivorous.

What is it then?  Well, it is a Civet.

In any case, it is now my mission to purchase some Kopi Luwak.  I hope I can find it by the cup, if not, I’ll have to buy a coffee maker and buy a $90 can of it

Have any of you had a chance to taste Kopi Luwak?  If you have please give us your thoughts on Coffee Alamid or Kopi Luwak.

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Filed under: Living In The Philippines

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