Coffee snobs can now take it to a whole new level. The world’s most expensive—and extremely rare—cup of java, made from beans extracted from the excrement of a small animal, is ready to reach a broader audience.
The Kopi Luwak coffee originates on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and is famously "produced" by the Paradoxurus, a relative of three breeds of civet, a slinky mammal that looks like a cross between a cat and a mongoose. When the Paradoxurus eats coffee cherries, the beans leave the digestive system more or less intact. The beans are then gathered, cleaned and roasted.
Amazingly, a cup of Kopi Luwak typically costs about $90. Or you can pick up a pound of the beans for around $1,000. To get a cup typically requires an appointment with one of the small number of establishments that carry the exotic blend.
Is it the unusual and labor-intensive process that drives up the price? Or is there something truly, well, unique about the taste of this coffee, which was once referenced in reverential terms on the The Oprah Winfrey Show?
The coffee website Funnel Mill describes Kopi Luwak as a "coffee ... said to be like no other. It has a rich, heavy flavor with hints of caramel and chocolate. Other terms used to describe it are earthy, aromatic, sweet and exotic. The body is almost syrupy and it is probably the smoothest coffee known to mankind.”
Now, the website Touch of Modern is offering a limited run of Kopi Luwak that, while not exactly cheap, won't break the bank: You can pick up a bag of Kopi Luwak Arabica for less than $30. Buying three 150-gram packages of it will set you back about $600.
So, what do you think? Would you spend $600, or even $30, to try the world’s most rare and expensive coffee?