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)], 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)], 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)], 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)], 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)], 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

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/66turi0r7tlqnqg/KfTR9BGlz7/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!

136 Comments

  1. People who drink this coffee have poop for brains! Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. It is quite the most disgusting and barbaric product.

  3. Thank you for your excellent post! 🙂

  4. This is awful! HISSES (& SCRATCHES!!) To those who treat those poor things so Bad! My human loves her coffee, but wouldn’t touch that stuff! Thanks fur posting!

    Shrimp

  5. I didn´t know anything about this coffee … But now when i do, i feel sad … Some of us humans are cruel and evil … We seem to only think about our selves and our “needs” …

    I always try to buy local food or other local products that i need …
    I drink coffee but i try to by the ones that are fairtrade coffeproducts … because it helps coffee farmers and workers to improve their working and living conditions … And i want coffee to be grown organically … // Maria 🙂

    • It is very sad that some humans are so selfish. We try to be careful about the coffee we buy and from now on we’ll be trying to avoid the companies who make a profit from this particular coffee.

  6. Oh, Clowie, the plight of these poor civets makes me sad too… Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention, seeing as how we live in a famous coffee city (though I have never heard of this coffee,) we will be glad to spread to word! I guess the best I can offer in cheering you up is to come by our blog and see our fun car show photos! No animals were harmed!

    • It cheers me up to know that you’ll tell people about this coffee. I have to believe that most people who drink it don’t know of the suffering.
      I’ll pop by and see the pictures later – it sounds like fun!

  7. I saw a show on this before, the owner was filmed going around collecting poop on the plantation floor after the civets have been at it in the middle of the night. Experiences that are novel, such as this type of coffee make travel a very exciting and refreshing thing. I would leave my first trial of this coffee on an actual processing place where the poor civets are not caged up as you described, meanwhile my normal non-exotic cup of coffee will do just fine 😛

  8. We would not touch it with a barge pole and nor should anyone else. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  9. This is why Mummy says she is sticking to a nice mug of PG tips in the morning!

    Happy Wednesday

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil
    xxxx

  10. Oh Clowie this whole thing makes me very sad……with all the options out there for humans why choose one that causes any animal to suffer for any reason. It makes me sad yes but also angry!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  11. This is just terrible – will keep my eye out for anything down under:)

  12. Mom would never drink that coffee for a million reasons (she is VERY anti-poop), the cruelty is the MOST critical reason to avoid it. OMGoodness. So sad. We signed the petition.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  13. I am stunned. Have never heard of any of this. Thank you for educating me.

  14. I have never heard of this. No thanks. I’ll stick to my cheap beans.

  15. Holy cow! I’m happy to say Mom doesn’t drink coffee, so she is not a part of this but what a terrible thing! Unbelievable!

  16. Reblogged this on Stanzes Blabla and commented:
    I have heard of this, but I didn’t know it was allowed to keep civet cats in cages (before I saw a blog post about it at Rumpydog). I don’t drink coffee at all and would be too cheap to buy that expensive coffee anyways. Makes you wonder who would want to drink it, if they’d knew what it’s about. This article from Clowie’s Corner says it much better, than I ever could.

  17. There are some folks I know who swear by kopi luwak!!

  18. Wow, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I had not heard of it, but how typical for humans to go completely overboard in search of some product, regards of who it is harming. I’m not quite sure why we act this way, it doesn’t really make much sense.

  19. Oh My just awful and terrible. My mom loves coffee and not familiar with this. Golden Thanks for sharing. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  20. I’m not a coffee drinker so I’ve never heard of this kind but my hubby is, I’ll have to check all the coffees he buys. I’m sure he would throw out or not buy a brand that does something as awful as this to a poor animal, that’s just plain wrong. Thank you for shedding a little light on my Wednesday morning!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

  24. 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

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

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