The sad truth about Kopi Luwak coffee

Double standards

I’m a dog and I find poop fascinating. On a walk, one quick sniff at a pile of poo and I know what type of animal walked this way and how long ago. I know some dogs are so enthusiastic about poop that they like to eat it. I don’t. A nibble at the edge of a particularly appealing cowpat doesn’t count as eating it. And what dog could resist a quick taste test, when happening upon a heap of horse dung that is still steaming?

If they see me nibbling at some poo, my bipeds always say, “Clowie, leave it!” I thought they were a bit strange to dislike poo, until I saw the reaction of other humans when their dogs are tasting poop. I decided that all humans are afflicted with a phobia of poop, their responses range from mild fear to panic when they see some.

Imagine my surprise when I was told that some bipeds drink coffee that is made from beans recovered from poop! I thought they were teasing me, but it’s true and people pay a lot of money for this coffee. This is a perfect example of the double standards of humans – tell the dog off for showing too much interest in poop at the park and then go and drink poop coffee! You couldn’t make it up!

Kopi Luwak Coffee

The palm civet is a shy, nocturnal creature about the same size as a domestic cat. It has sharp claws, similar to a cat, and it climbs trees easily. It eats a variety of fruit and small mammals.

Asian palm civet, or civet cat Attribution: By Rbalmonia (Photo shoot Previously published: Kopi Luwak Menu) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Asian palm civet, or civet cat
Attribution: By Rbalmonia (Photo shoot Previously published: Kopi Luwak Menu) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


One of the fruits it eats is ripe coffee cherries.

Two coffee beans from coffee berry

Two coffee beans from coffee berry
Attribution: By User:Ceazar77 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The stones, or coffee beans, are not digested. They can be seen in the excrement.

Civet faeces containing coffee beans - Attribution: By Vberger (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Civet faeces containing coffee beans
Attribution: By Vberger (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Someone in Indonesia decided to extract the coffee beans from the poop. I can find no information on who thought this would be a good idea, nor can I find how this person persuaded other people to drink the resulting coffee!

Kopi luwak beans from faeces Attribution: By Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi luwak beans from faeces
Attribution: By Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi luwak coffee was rare and the quality varied. I may think it strange that humans would want to drink it, but no animals were harmed.

The sad part

A little over twenty years ago, kopi luwak coffee was introduced to Europe and America. It has gradually become more popular and more expensive. It has been featured on popular shows, such as Oprah, and in the film “The Bucket List”, leading to more demand for it. Kopi luwak could only be produced in small quantities, so things changed.

Civet cat in a cage Attribution: By surtr (Flickr: luwak (civet cat)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa

Civet cat in a cage – Attribution: By surtr (Flickr: luwak (civet cat)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Civets are captured and kept in tiny cages, fed on a diet of coffee berries and little else. This picture is heartbreaking, but one of the least distressing I could find. These animals suffer and die because of their restricted diet. They are stressed because they are in such a confined space. Some have bad injuries. I could say more about their plight, but the cruelty is obvious.

Kopi Luwak coffee Attribution: By ohallmann (Kopi Luwak, Kaffee auf flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi Luwak coffee
Attribution: By ohallmann (Kopi Luwak, Kaffee auf flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Kopi luwak coffee is also known as civet coffee, weasel coffee, cat poo coffee, poop coffee, crap coffee and probably other variations.

Kopi luwak coffee that is labelled as authentic, with the claim it’s made from the poop of wild civets sells for even higher prices than other kopi luwak. We only have the word of the producer on this. There are no checks on their claims. People in the coffee world say that there is very little coffee made in the old way, by collecting excrement from wild animals, and the only way to know the origin of the coffee is to collect it yourself.

At least one plantation that sells ‘authentic’ coffee has civets in cages on its premises. They say the civets are there for research purposes and their poop is not used for the coffee they sell. True or not, I think they’re missing the point – they have wild animals in cages and are exploiting them.

What you can do

• If you drink or buy kopi luwak coffee, you can stop

• You can read the small print on that special blend you enjoy on a Sunday morning and if it contains kopi luwak you can choose a different blend

• You can help by informing other people

• You can sign this petition – http://www.thepetitionsite.com/950/570/866/stop-civet-cruelty/

• There is a Facebook page “Kopi Luwak: Cut the Crap” – https://www.facebook.com/kopiluwakcutthecrap
This campaign is being run by Tony Wild, who imported the first kilo of kopi luwak coffee to Britain and hates what is happening to animals to produce this coffee now.

• There is a document (pdf) that is being maintained as part of his campaign. It lists the companies who make a profit from kopi luwak coffee – there are a number of household names on there – https://www.dropbox.com/sh/66turi0r7tlqnqg/KfTR9BGlz7/Kopi%20Luwak%20campaign.pdf

• You can inform the companies involved that you do not approve

Related articles

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/sep/13/civet-coffee-cut-the-crap

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/19/civet-coffee-abuse-campaigners

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24034029

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-pesce/kopi-luwak-poop-coffee_b_2260671.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_palm_civet

Click to access Kopi%20Luwak%20campaign.pdf

Cheer me up!

It makes me sad to see animals suffering. Give me some good news! Or share some poopy humour!

See you next Wednesday!

135 thoughts on “The sad truth about Kopi Luwak coffee

  1. Wow. I am not a coffee drinker, but I do remember hearing about this coffee before. The cynic in me read this and said “of course this would happen – it’s a product of animals and thus some jackass would exploit them for it”. I hadn’t heard of this exploitation before, but I’m glad you wrote about it. More people should know and I will definitely be sharing this.

    As for the cheering up… here’s a joke that combines two things I am nerdy about: dogs and grammar.

    Mrs. Smith was walking to the post office when her neighbour came up to her and said, “Hello Betty, how’s your dog? I think I saw her yesterday chasing an old man on a bike.”
    “I’m afraid there’s no way that was my dog,” replied Mrs. Smith.
    “Why not?” asked the neighbour. “I’m pretty sure it was your dog.”
    “Well,” stated Mrs. Smith, smiling, “for one, my dog doesn’t ride a bike.”

    • Yes, when there’s money to be made, animals often suffer. Thank you for helping to spread awareness.
      Your joke made me laugh! As you have Newfs, I pictured a Newf on the bike.

  2. Clowie, you’re a gem of a teacher and advocate. Don’t and won’t drink this. Sad to see that little fellow in the cage, suffering. Thanks friend Clowie.

  3. Excellent post! We all need to get the word out!!!!

  4. We saw a program on the Telly Clowie about the Poop Coffee and it’s so expansive.. Who the heck in their right mind would drink poop..BOL I don’t like eating uffer animals poop 🙂 Catch ya next Wednesday xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  5. Great story Clowie! Love your blog. Just feel so sad for those poor animals! Such suffering for selfish human pleasures!

  6. Clowie! That is awful!!! It needs to be stopped! Why is peoples so stupid.
    Kisses
    Nellie

  7. Clowie,

    This is a very informative post. We think it is only fitting that humans drink poop for putting innocent creatures in cages and not treating them well.

    On another note, we think rabbit poop is very tasty. Have you ever tried some?

    -Bella and DiDi

    • Thank you. It makes me very sad to see animals treated so badly.
      Yes, rabbit poop is tasty! I sometimes get selective hearing when my bipeds tell me to ‘leave it’!

  8. The very idea of this coffee is unappealing to me, but the facts of its production are even worse. You can rest assured I will never drink or purchase it!

    I don’t remember my dog eating other animals’ poop, but I know he did enjoy rolling in it!

    • Yes,it’s gone from unorthodox to cruel. I hope that most of the people drinking it would stop if they knew.

      I don’t often roll in anything smelly. They give me a bath if I do! I enjoy a bath, so perhaps I’ll think about rolling in smelly things more often.

  9. Holy crap! This is the most I’ve ever read about this coffee. In my head, the beans were still being collected in the wild, but this makes much more sense. Mostly because humans are inherently evil and selfish. Well, selfish. Evil comes from selfishness, I guess. I’ll check out all the links. This is horrid.

    • It’s a horrible industry that’s been created. As well as selfish, I would say some people are very greedy for profit and don’t mind who or what they hurt to make money.

  10. I had heard of this coffee before, but I though it was really a rarity. I stupidly pictured these little guys out living their lives in the wild, while folks harvested the … er “fruits” of their “labors.” It’s horrible to learn how they really produce this stuff, but thanks for sharing the info. I signed the petition. When I first heard about this coffee I thought “Why on earth would anyone want to drink that?” And now I REALLY can’t imagine anyone drinking it.

    • Thank you for signing the petition. Your picture of what you thought was happening is how it used to be and the people producing this coffee would like us to think it still is. But now they have created a growing market for the coffee, the cruelty is horrible.

  11. Clowie this is heart breaking 😦 x

  12. That was heartbreaking. Poor little things. I only drink tea. I am very glad about that now.
    Now. To cheer you up a little….maybe… 😉 I eat poop!!!!! Yes! Really! It is very normal and natural for us Wolfies. There is a lot of nutrition to be found in it that we don’t get in the rest of our diet as we can’t digest the sources. So poop is the perfect answer! Ready digested and ready for wolfie consumption, poop!!! So if you fancy a little nibble of poop in future Clowie you’re just doing what comes naturally! lol 😉

  13. Wow. Did NOT know this! Very informative article. I am not a coffee drinker (it gives me headaches so is all poop to me), but my husband drinks the dark stuff. Yuk. Maybe he will think twice after reading this (I’ll be checking his brand/type of coffee for sure). Nothing would make me happier than to move the coffee maker from the garage to the trashcan! Seriously.

    • I’m glad you found it useful. I expect he’ll be able to find an ethical brand and blend! One of my bipeds drinks coffee and the other drinks tea.

  14. Another good reason to NOT drink coffee!

  15. snoopys@snoopysdogblog

    Humans can be gross sometimes, that’s terrible!!

    The only poop I’ve ever eaten was tortoise poop and Mum was horrified!

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  16. Sad information Clowie but I am so glad you shared. I am not a coffee drinker and even if I was I would not drink coffee that came from poop. Ewww. Sad sad situation for the Civet. When will we learn?

    • It is very sad that animals are being treated so badly. Sometimes I think that the human race is becoming more aware and at others I think that some humans will not learn before they’ve destroyed the planet.

  17. Poor things. That’s terrible! 😥

  18. We wonder how many would continue to drink this coffee if they were forced to live in cages and have nothing to eat or drink but that coffee…poor little civets…breaks our hearts! That is just not right to enjoy something at the expense of innocent animals. Hugs and nose kisses

    • It is heartbreaking. I think they would soon change their minds about the coffee if they had to experience it. I hope that a lot of the people who drink it are unaware of the suffering and will stop when they know. The people who actively market this stuff must be without feelings.

  19. Will sign the petition Clowie,i know of this coffee poop and am appalled that yet again humans feel the need to use animals for their own wants with no regard for feelings of the animals they exploit..i love my coffee but it is not produced by Civets and is not harvested by poor underpaid workers in slave like conditions,free trade coffee only .Will also spread the word ,it’s not readily available down under I believe so here’s hoping it stays that way!! HUgs Clowie from Fozziemum xxx

    • Thank you for signing the petition and helping to spread awareness. My bipeds try to buy ethical coffee. You wouldn’t think one drink could cause so much trouble! The workers on some tea plantations are also exploited, but we seem to hear less about that.

  20. Only humans are capable of such cruelty and nonsense. I’ve signed the petition.

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