There’s good news for all the Indian coffee lovers, as the world’s most expensive coffee, Civet coffee, also known as Luwark coffee, is now being produced on a small scale in the Coorg district.
This coffee blend is made from the coffee beans digested by the civet cat. The reason behind the extremely high prices of this blend is its production method. This coffee is produced from the coffee berries consumed by the civet cat. These cats eat the berries for their pulp, after spending a day and a half in the civet's digestive tract the beans are then defecated in clumps, having kept their shape and still covered with some of the fleshy berry's inner layers. The feces of this cat are then collected, processed and sold.
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The product is highly priced also because it is considered to be more nutritious, the high cost involved in sourcing the cat droppings and quality certification.
Priced at Rs 20,000-25,000 abroad, civet coffee is a very popular drink among the elites of the Gulf countries and Europe.
Coorg Consolidated Commodities (CCC), a start-up firm in Karnataka, India’s largest coffee producing state, is taking baby steps in making this luxury coffee on a small scale. They have also decided to open a café to serve this exotic brew.
Talking about the venture, Narendra Hebbar, one of the founders of CCC said, “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”
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This exotic blend is being sold locally under the brand ‘Ainmane’. Hebbar also said that for the moment, the company just has one outlet at Club Mahindra’s Madikeri Resort that sells locally produced coffee and spices.
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 flavor and that’s why this coffee is unique,” explained Hebbar.
Unlike other countries where civet cats are caged and forcefully fed with coffee beans, CCC produces it in the natural form.
This blend is locally sold at Rs 8000 per kg.
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When asked if the company had plans to export their blend, Hebbar explained that is was not a viable plan given the high certification cost and the current low production level. However, they are planning to open a café to promote the blend locally. “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 Expresso,” he said.
Civet cat coffee is being produced in small quantities in parts of Coorg and Chamarajnagar districts confirmed a senior Coffee Board official.
“It is very small quantity, done by individuals. They produce and market as a specialty coffee, a niche product which is very expensive,” he added.
Cover image source: insights.looloo