There’s a growing trend that coffee lovers worldwide, including here in Australia, are sipping into – Civet Cat Coffee.
It’s a far cry from your cup of Nescafe – priced beyond the means of the average coffee drinker, but still growing in demand.
Civet coffee is made from beans ingested by the Civet cat.
The “cat”, although it’s not a cat at all but is related to the Mongoose, prowls the coffee plantations of Indonesia.
These animals feed on coffee berries; the bean itself is not digested and comes out the other end infused with the cat’s digestive enzymes.
The beans are collected, sun-dried and turned into a specialty coffee which is gaining popularity here in Australia.
But with increased demand comes a very nasty downside.
According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, a growing number of these cats are being kept in tiny cages, force-fed berries and their droppings collected.
Some are living in appalling conditions so their captors can collect as many beans as possible.
Along with this, some civets have their musk removed. The scent is found in the anal sacs and removing it is a very painful procedure.
This is done to extract a musky scent, which until recently was also used in some high-end perfumes.
But back to the coffee. It’s said to have a rich, syrupy quality - not something I’m keen to try.
Currently there is no accreditation and no standards to which Asian civet cat farmers need to adhere.
Consumers have no idea if they’re purchasing wild civet cat coffee or something extracted from some poor animal in a tiny cage, living a pretty miserable life.
Kopi Luwak, as it’s known, is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for hundreds of dollars a kilo here and overseas.
Personally, I’ll stick with my standard brew, no matter how trendy this boutique cuppa becomes.
The potential price of cruelty is just too rich for me to stomach.