Coffee lovers are always reaving about Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee, probably even more so since getting attention on the movie “Bucket List”. So although I am not much of a coffee drinker, I figured I’d try some in Indonesia; the source of the drink.
I have to tell ya, I don’t see the allure. Basically, back in the day, farmers saw wild civits eating coffee beans, and started collecting them, still intact but slightly fermented, from their poo. Then they would go through the normal process for coffee, with the drying and roasting of the poo beans.
Some how, this got noticed by the west, and it turned into a delicacy. Because its a rare delicacy, its expensive. Because it’s expensive, it has now turned into sort of a tourist attraction in Bali, where the civits are no longer wild, but kept in tiny cages in the sun, so their poo can be collected and sold to dumb tourist who want the experience of eating shit.
When you are a animal with the curse of tasty shit, and living in a country that relies on tourism or any money they can get, you are going to get exploited. Now you are in a cage.
Now, like I said I am not a coffee expert by any means. In fact I now live in Philippines, and only drink the 3in1 instant stuff. I am just that indifferent and ignorant to a quality cup. I just go for what I like. But I have traveled the world, and drank local coffee in places famous for their brews.
Places like Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and many more. And yes, I’ve had great Java coffee in Indonesia. To me these were all good, but they had one thing in common: They were cheap.
So to me, drinking poo coffee from an exploited and endangered species, just to say I did it, just wasn’t my thing. It just reminded me of man’s greed and exploitation. There is seriously no point either, for the life of me I can not tell the difference from other coffees.
But wait, there’s more.
I have been to Bali quite a bit, and on this particular trip I made friends with my driver. By “my driver”, I mean the Uber driver I got once that ended up just picking me up everyday when I called. He is the one that took me to a place to try the Kopi Luwak. And he was also one that I told my thought on the subject, as I am here to you.
He agreed that it was a bad business for the civits in their cages, and was equally weird that poo was so popular. But then he pointed out something that made me laugh.
He introduced me to a guy working at one of these coffee shops, and eventually he told me that they very rarely have actual poo coffee. Of course they sell it to tourist everyday for the same high prices, but it’s usually just regular ol coffee, or even the instant stuff.
We sat down and had a giggle as a groups of tourists sat down with their fake Kopi Luwak, taking selfies with it or vlogging about how they are about to try the worlds most expensive coffee for the first time. Idiots. And they never knew the difference.
By the time Kopi Luwak reaches Europe or the States, it costs you a lot of money, up to $300+ per pound. It’s a lot cheaper in Indonesia, but still by far the most expensive coffee you’ll ever get in the country, at minimum of $5 for a small cup. But in reality, you are actually drinking a $.05 instant coffee, while the shop owner laughs at yet another dumb tourist and their idiotic extravagances.
Real coffee, in my humble opinion, comes from the hard work that it takes to grow quality beans in vast fields of Antigua or Colombia, not from some kid collecting shit from a caged animal and drying it on the side of the street to sell for 100X normal coffee, even though it tastes the same.
But what do I know? I can’t tell you the difference between good wine or bad, and its the same with coffee. I should mention however that I did take a coffee plantation tour ounce outside of Antigua, with a farm on the side of a volcano, and I can appreciate the hard work and years and years of refining crops and the process it takes to make world class coffee. I appreciate that much more than the scam I saw in Bali.
I still love you though Bali. But if you go there, do something else. Don’t waste your time or money. There are numerous other great things to do in Bali that will give you good stories to make your friends jealous. Have you checked out the best beaches in Bali for instance?