History & Culture
Kopi Luwak translates to 'Asian Palm Civet Coffee' in Indonesian, and is known as 'Weasel Coffee' in Vietnamese, and 'Coffee Alamid' in the Philippines.
The coffee itself is found the excrement of Asian Palm Civets, which feed on the coffee cherries found in the forest, and the origin of how it first came to be harvested is interesting.
In the 1600s the Dutch arrived in Indonesia, establishing a colony known as the Dutch East Indies. They brought with them imports of Arabica coffee, and began to cultivate it. However, in the 1830, they implemented a cultivation system (Cultuurstelsel) where they forbade the harvesting of coffee cherries by the native coffee farmers. This left a portion of the native Indonesian population, who formerly relied on coffee farming to support themselves and their families, without any income.
Desperate, Indonesian farmers discovered they could get around this by scavenging the beans from the partially digested excrement of the Asian palm civet, and thus Kopi Luwak came into existence.
Because of the unique nature of its production, kopi luwak was rare, and commanded high prices. Despite that, because of its aroma and taste, it still quickly gained immense popularity, and spread across the world.