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Coffee collected from the droppings of an Asian Palm Civet cat (creatures similar to weasels or mongooses in appearance but not actually related to felines) may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but some are willing to pay top dollar for the rare flavour, now available at hotels throughout Indonesia.
Civet cats love chowing down on the ripe, red cherries grown on coffee plants throughout the region, but they can’t digest the hard pit in the centre. That means the full seed comes out the other end, where farmers collect the remains, wash away excess debris and lightly roast the resulting beans.
The natural fermentation that occurs in the civet’s digestion system means the beans produce a more aromatic, less bitter brew. This enhanced flavour profile paired with the scarcity of the beans makes Kopi Luwak (“civet coffee” in Indonesian) the world’s most expensive caffeine-jolt, fetching up to 1.5 million rupiah per kilogram.
Many southeast Asian hotels offer the native brew, or you can order it online. Try it at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski in Jakarta, where the coffee is served from a French press in the lobby, or AYANA Resort and Spa in Bali, at the restaurant Dava, where the staff affectionately call the 250,000 rupiah cup a “catpoocino”.