India, Asia’s third-largest producer and exporter of coffee, has started producing the world’s most-expensive coffee. It is being made on a small scale in Karnataka’s Coorg district, from the poop of civet cat.

The civet coffee, also known as luwark coffee, is expensive because of the uncommon method of producing it. It is produced from the coffee beans digested by the civet cat – the feces of the cat are then collected, processed and sold.

Drink of the elite

Civet coffee, a drink of the elite consumed widely in the Gulf nations and Europe, is sold for₹20,000-25,000/kg abroad.

Here in the country’s largest coffee-growing State, a start-up firm, Coorg Consolidated Commodities (CCC), has made a humble beginning by making the luxury coffee on a small scale, and has also decided to open a cafe to serve the brew locally.

“Initially, 20 kg of civet coffee was produced. After establishing the start-up firm, 60 kg was produced in 2015-16 and 200 kg last year. We hope half-a-tonne production from the new crop to be harvested from October,” said Narendra Hebbar, one of the founders of CCC.

The exotic coffee is being sold locally under the brand Ainmane; Hebbar said the company has only one outlet – at Club Mahindra Madikeri Resort – where it sells locally produced coffee, spices and other products.

Sourcing

Hebbar said the company sources the poop from plantations located close to the forest from where the cats come to eat the ripest coffee-bean cherries.

“Civet cat eats the flesh of the coffee cherries and not the bean. Natural enzymes in civet’s stomach enhances the bean flavor and that’s why this coffee is unique,” he said.

Now, farmers are understanding the importance of this coffee, and “we produce it in natural form unlike other countries where civet cats are caged and forcefully fed with coffee beans”, he said.

It is being sold at ₹8,000 per kg here, while it is available at ₹20,000-25,000 per kg overseas, he said.

Asked if the company plans to export, Hebbar said it is not viable to export in view of the high certification costs.

“We want to promote this coffee locally. We will open a cafe soon. We will sell ‘Coorg Luwark Coffee’ along with other varieties such as Cappuccino and Expresso,” he said.

A senior Coffee Board official also confirmed that civet cat coffee is being produced in small quantities in parts of Coorg and Chamarajnagar districts.

“It is in very small quantity, done by individuals. They produce and market as a speciality coffee, a niche product which is very expensive,” he said.

social-fb COMMENT NOW