People (including me) love their morning coffee. It's the best way to start the day.
I'm not really picky, but as people have learned more about the process of creating coffee, various roasts and beans from around the world have become specialties. Coffee connoisseurs love to try new flavors and see how they stack up, but there's one coffee that stands out as the most expensive and most prized throughout the world. It's called kopi luwak, or civet coffee, and when you hear more about it, you'll be absolutely baffled.
This is an Asian palm civet. In the wild, it eats berries, insects, and reptiles, and it's an important part of the ecosystem. They also raid fruit farms, so they were once considered a pest to farmers.
Civets enjoy coffee berries, which grow abundantly in their territories. They often eat many coffee berries at a time, resulting in feces that carries the seeds. Do you see where this is going?
People then collect the civet feces and create coffee out of the partially digested beans. Gross!
While civets were once pests, now they are often kept in cages on farms, where they may only be fed coffee berries, rather than the balanced diet they're used to in the wild. Tourists also enjoy visiting the creatures.
If you think that no one would try kopi luwak due to the way it's made, you would be totally wrong. In the United States, this delicacy can sell for $80 per cup. Some people really like their coffee!
In addition to the growing concerns about the treatment of civets, there is also no regulation regarding what types of beans are used, making kopi luwak taste completely different from cup to cup based on a variety of factors.
(via National Geographic)