Issues Relating to Kopi Luwak
No To Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)
Kopi luwak, also known as civet coffee, is derived from coffee beans excreted by civets. Civet coffee is considered to be one of the world’s most expensive coffee, as the best coffee cherries are selected by the civet, followed by the chemical reactions in a civet’s gut. Thus, it is coveted for its unique flavour.
The trade of kopi luwak had its humble origins, as they were once collected from wild civets that roam through coffee plantations. However, the recent rise in demand has led to the cruel practice of farming civets i.e. the caged kopi luwak trade.
This is an industry fuelled by curiosity – even if people try it just once, the returns can justify large-scale production. Civet coffee has been steadily gaining popularity through mass and social media.
However, many consumers do not know that the caged civets face a grim fate and eventually die in captivity.
In September 2013, the BBC team went undercover in Indonesia where civets are found to be in battery farm conditions – cramped and unhygienic.
Battery farm conditions can be very stressful for a wild civet, as they are solitary animals and need space to move around. Furthermore, they need a diversity of food, instead of purely coffee cherries in the farms.
After the release of the documentary, Harrods and Selfridges, both large departmental stores in the United Kingdom decided to stop sales of kopi luwak.
In Singapore, two coffee joints, OWL Café and 10 Scotts @Grand Hyatt also decided to stop civet coffee sales after they saw the videos by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA Asia), who sent investigators to many civet farms in Indonesia and Philippines.
However, sales of kopi luwak continue to occur in cafes and specialty coffee joints worldwide, including Singapore. At Project LUWAK SG, they hope to raise awareness and move towards cruelty-free coffee in Singapore by encouraging both consumers and companies to not endorse kopi luwak.