Coffee in the Wild: Kopi Luwak

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We had a driveway moment listening to food scientist Massimo Marcone on Fresh Air. Marcone is a food scientist who travels the world, investigating bizarre foods.

One of these is kopi luwak, an extremely rare coffee from Indonesia. It's made from coffee cherries eaten and then excreted by the Asian Palm Civet. The waste is carefully collected and roasted and sold for up to $600 a pound. The civet's digestive system supposedly removes some of the bitter compounds from the beans, resulting a sweeter coffee.

As devoted coffee-drinkers we were fascinated and also repelled. What do you think? If you'd like to see the coffee in its, er, semi-processed state, pics after the jump...You can just imagine the questions over the morning brew - "We're drinking WHAT?" The high profile and price of the coffee also strike us as a little off; $600 for a pound of animal waste sounds like something from a satire of the contemporary food world.

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Marcone says there are many adulterated or outright fake versions of this coffee. So if you are so inclined to actually try it, do some research on whether it is a reputable source.

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(Image credit: Animalcoffee)

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Drinks, Beverages

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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