New Delhi: India, Asia’s third-largest producer and exporter of coffee, has started producing world’s most expensive coffee, made from the poop of civet cat, on a small scale in Kodagu. The Civet Coffee is expensive because of uncommon method of producing such a coffee.
It’s mainly produced on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and it is highly priced because it is claimed to be more nutritious and high cost involved in sourcing animal dropping, wastage during processing and quality certification.
Civet Coffee, also called Kopi Luwak, is produced from the coffee beans digested by civet cat. The faeces of this cat are collected, processed and sold. Asian palm civet is a weasel-like animal that looks a lot like a cat. These wild animals eat coffee beans as part of their balanced diet. The faeces of this cat are then collected, processed and sold as Kopi Luwak. It is believed that the natural enzymes secreted while digestion improves the taste and flavour of the coffee beans.
In India, the coffee bean is being sold for Rs. 8,000 per kg, whereas, in Gulf nations and European countries, it costs Rs. 20,000-25,000 per kg. In Kodagu, a start-up firm, Coorg Consolidated Commodities (CCC), has made a humble beginning of making the luxury coffee on a small scale and has also decided to open a cafe to serve the brew locally.
“Initially, 20 kg of Civet Coffee was produced. After establishing the start-up firm, 60 kg was produced in 2015-16 and 200 kg last year. We hope half a tonne production from the new crop to be harvested from October,” Narendra Hebbar, one of the founders of CCC said.
The exotic coffee is being sold locally under the brand ‘Ainmane’, he said and added that the company has only one outlet at Club Mahindra Madikeri Resort. Hebbar also shared that the company sources the animal poop from plantations located close to forest from where civet cats come to eat the ripest coffee bean cherries.
“Civet cat eats flesh of the coffee cherries and not the bean. Natural enzymes in civet’s stomach enhance the bean flavour and that’s why this coffee is unique,” he said. Now, farmers understand the importance of this coffee and “we produce it in natural form unlike other countries where civet cats are caged and forcefully fed with coffee beans,” he noted.
“We want to promote this coffee locally. We will open a cafe soon. We will sell ‘Coorg Luwark Coffee’ along with other varieties like Cappuccino and Espresso,” he said. A senior Coffee Board official also confirmed that civet cat coffee is being produced in small quantities in parts of Kodagu and Chamarajanagar districts.