If coffee business is your thing, then you must have been very familiar with Kopi Luwak and its history, not to mention its wild or caged civets’ controversies. But Kopi Luwak’s extravagant price still invites curiosity and is quite an interesting subject to talk about. Kopi Luwak’s price reaches over US$ 1,300 per kilogram for wild collected beans. It is obviously much more expensive than those produced from caged civets, which could be about US$ 100 per kilogram. The price dropped significantly when the civet – the animal that digests the coffee beans– is caged, they were even classified as low-grade or even fake Kopi Luwak by some experts, because it tastes so much different. The Kopi Luwak from the wild civet tastes richer and better than the caged civet, that is for sure. At coffee shops, a single cup of Kopi Luwak costs as little as US$ 4 for the caged variety, and up to US$ 100 or more for the wild variety. This indicates that nothing is so special about the caged civet variety. The wild collected ones, however, is a legendary product. Everybody still hunts for the rare beans, since many Kopi Luwak sold on the market is fake.
But what made the wild collected Kopi Luwak’s price so ludicrously expensive, exactly? Well, compared to those caged, the wild Kopi Luwak is superior in flavor. The taste of Kopi Luwak varies according to the type and origin of the beans excreted, processing, roasting, aging, and brewing. The ability of the civet to select its berries, and other aspects of its diet and health, such as stress levels, may also affect processing, hence the taste. That is why the caged variety of Kopi Luwak doesn’t have the authentic taste of Kopi Luwak, mainly because the animals responsible for the entire process are forcefully caged, thus their stress levels are high, and their diet is unhealthy. But the case is different with the original wild Kopi Luwak. Its unique flavor is mostly defined in terms of earthy and musty with notes of caramel and chocolate. This heavenly flavor –or some say “jungle-ish”– is due to the fact that the wild civets only choose the ripest, reddest, and sweetest coffee cherries. The ripe fruit of the coffee cherry has a huge impact on the coffee beans inside.
The other reason behind Kopi Luwak’s price is the extra labor; the tremendous amounts of effort involved in its production. Farmers have to go hunting for these wild civets’ droppings. They must search through forests and lands where five or six beans may be collected from a civet’s dropping. This is such tedious and tiring work, especially in Indonesia’s tropical weather with its extremely hot sun. Imagine how long it takes to collect enough beans for production since there is no automated and efficient way to collect and clean the beans. This extra labor eventually leads to rarity. As for the yearly production of Kopi Luwak, you will find different figures all over the internet. One source claims that less than 227 kilograms of genuine kopi luwak are produced each year. This makes it one of the rarest coffee beans in the world. And when supply can’t keep up with demand, radically higher prices are inevitable.
Thus, about Kopi Luwak’s price, the reasons are clear. Moreover, it is so difficult to find genuine, wild collected Kopi Luwak on the market nowadays. Yet at Coffee Arks, we sell only the best quality of Kopi Luwak, because we want people around the world to be able to enjoy the authentic flavor of this amazing Indonesian coffee.