What is Kopi Luwak coffee? The process of creating it is straight forward: an Asian palm civet (animal looking like a mix of a cat and a fox) is being fed coffee cherries. After the animal defecates the coffee beans, they are cleaned, roasted and then sold to the market. The civet´s digestion system is supposed to elevate the coffee taste to a whole new level, that's why Kopi Luwak is considered a luxury product and one of the most expensive coffees in the world.
The coffee is produced predominantly in Indonesia but also in Vietnam, the Philippines, China, India and other countries. On paper this sounds great and a real game changer in the world of coffee. In reality it is a very profitable marketing scam and nothing is what it looks like. Here's why:
The Asian palm civet typically lives in the wild and has a very diverse diet. For the production of Kopi Luwak however the “coffee farmers” need to have many of these animals. They would keep them in small cages and force feed them only and only coffee cherries. The bigger the production – the more money they make. If somebody sells you the story that this specific Kopi Luwak is carefully selected only from wild civets, please know that this is very far away from the truth. Moreover these producers are giving ideas to others to start for example elephant-defecated coffee beans business in Thailand.
How does the coffee taste? Depends on what kind of beans the animal is fed with. Bear in mind that most certainly it is not of great quality. Many “coffee experts” say that the taste is silky smooth, with no acidity and well balanced. I´ve tried a few times civet coffee (this was back in the days where I didn't know too much about it). It tastes just like the cheapest coffee you can find in your supermarket, with the only difference being its price - it costs probably 50 times more. So these experts should really find another profession/hobby.
Kopi Luwak is presented as extremely limited quantities, luxury, once in a lifetime kind of unique gourmet coffee. This beautiful story told by the producers can easily bring the price per kilo to $500. I doubt that we can call Kopi Luwak scarce when its yearly production is more than 100 000 kilos. Also in the above mentioned countries the law is not very strict on what coffee can be called Kopi Luwak, therefore there is a lot of fraud on this market. What a customer is really paying for is good marketing, because the rest is just bad tasting stale coffee, defecated by an abused caged animal.
If you haven't tried Kopi Luwak, my suggestion for you is that you have missed absolutely nothing. Actually you can feel very good about yourself that you don't participate in this circus. Its only purpose is to make you part with a large amount of your money and literally give you back nothing more than a crappy product.
Life is short. Get a good coffee.