Do You Know Where Your Coffee Comes From?

May 8, 2011 By Vibeka
Vibeka Sisodiya's picture

You may not think that ‘gourmet’ or high-quality coffee is monkey business, but what would you say if you found out that some of the world’s best and most expensive coffee comes from a monkey’s ‘business,’ er, their poop?

“Kopi Luwak” coffee is made from berries that have passed through the digestive system of a special type of Indonesian monkey. The coffee berries (that grow on shrubs) are eaten by the animals and passes through their system without being digested. Given the lengthy process, including the job of having to go through monkey dung to gather the undigested coffee berries, only around 500 pounds are harvested every year. That, and given its unique taste, has made Kopi Luwak the most expensive (around US $300 a pound) and popular gourmet coffee in the world – until now.

Recently, cafés around the world have been buzzing about a new type of Kopi Luwak coffee, in this case from the droppings of a small, cat-like mammal called a civet. Often called "cat poo coffee,” it is definitely worth more than a cat’s droppings at US $50 a cup and around $340 to $400 a pound! Then there is coffee made from the dung of barking deer in Southeast Asia. And the latest? Coffee beans that have been chewed and spat out by Rhesus monkeys in the distant jungles of India. Only very small quantities are available at this point, and they cost a monkey arm and a leg!

From The Ground Up

Coffee was first discovered in the East African country of Ethiopia around 1,000 AD. Legend has it that an Ethiopian goatherd found his goats dancing around a shrub with bright red cherries and realized that the cherries were causing that behavior after he tried them himself.  He took the beans to a local Muslim monastery and the monks started using them to help stay awake during long hours of prayer. They in turn shared it with other monasteries in the region. 

By the 16th century, coffee had found its way to the rest of the Middle East, Persia and Africa, and then to Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Initially, people mashed up the red coffee berries and mixed them with fatty meat like bacon to make an energy bar. It wasn’t until the 15th century that the practice of roasting and brewing coffee, similar to how we do it today, started in the Arabian Peninsula. Initially, the orthodox Muslim priests prohibited the drinking of coffee because of its exciting effects. But the widespread popularity of the drink resulted in the overturn of the ban. Soon, coffee was here to stay.

Today, we pour about 1.6 billion cups of coffee a day around the world! The United States is the single biggest drinker of coffee in the world, having about 45 percent of that (700 million cups a day). However, it’s the people in Finland, Sweden and Norway who are the top coffee drinkers per person per year.

And gourmet coffee sales are continuing to increase steadily by 20 percent every year, and is the biggest export for countries like Brazil, the largest coffee exporting nation, followed by Vietnam and Indonesia.

So although coffee may sometimes be a monkey’s business, it is definitely not a joke.


phineus111222233333444555's picture
phineus11122223... December 10, 2014 - 1:09pm

He is lying!!!!

Writerstime's picture
Writerstime October 6, 2011 - 5:44pm

That is interesting, but extremely disgusting.

yot's picture
yot June 9, 2011 - 4:44pm
Cool. But its kind of gross/
conniew's picture
conniew June 7, 2011 - 3:02pm

I can't believe it!!

felipef's picture
felipef May 27, 2011 - 6:56pm
i know mine probably comes from brazil, because brazil is a huge exporter of coffee
rebeccac's picture
rebeccac May 27, 2011 - 6:31pm
Its disgusting that they have passed throughan animal. Why do people still drink it.
felipef's picture
felipef May 27, 2011 - 6:02pm

I love coffee, but not anymore

felipef's picture
felipef May 27, 2011 - 6:01pm

I am never drinking coffee again. Neverrrr!

ashleym's picture
ashleym May 27, 2011 - 5:00pm
Ew! The coffee comes from poop?? I hope to NEVER drink that! So, in the early ages is that what they drank? But I would never pay that much for civet poop! It's way to expensive for my family!
ashleym's picture
ashleym May 26, 2011 - 7:29pm

Why would people pay so much?

Deepa Gopal's picture
Deepa Gopal May 26, 2011 - 10:02am

The coffee beans that we know of are actualy seeds inside the berries. They harvest the bean and roast it.

kenn's picture
kenn May 26, 2011 - 9:06am
I don`t really like coffee. People say that you get addicted to it, and they say it`s not good for your body.
diamond's picture
diamond May 22, 2011 - 1:10pm

coffee has definitely traveled from such far places to very close to us, and now is the top seller. that is a lot of coffee

sierrar's picture
sierrar May 22, 2011 - 6:49am

Cool. I thought you could only use coffee beans only but i guess i was wrong. Berries? That interesting.

kenn's picture
kenn May 26, 2011 - 9:06am
Me too.
rebeccac's picture
rebeccac May 27, 2011 - 6:28pm
My parents don't drink coffee.
Jacki's picture
Jacki May 18, 2011 - 10:51am
I love coffee - though it's gross when it's black - and I'm glad that most coffee comes directly from the berries and is Yuk.
taytumm's picture
taytumm May 18, 2011 - 9:11am

that is very gross that there is coffee that comes from monkey poop ewwwwwwww

lydiaf's picture
lydiaf May 18, 2011 - 4:30am
If we are kids, why would we all be drinking very expensive, gourmet coffee?
lydiaf's picture
lydiaf May 17, 2011 - 5:47pm
Sammy02's picture
Sammy02 May 17, 2011 - 1:43am
Animal poo com coffee...pretty interesting! Tasty, I would say...(not)!
Sammy02's picture
Sammy02 May 17, 2011 - 1:42am
I have never tasted coffee before because my mom says that she is waiting for me to grow up first. She says that it takes away sleep and is not healthy. Waiting to have a real cup of coffee...
Arjun's picture
Arjun May 14, 2011 - 8:40am

It's cool how they can create high-quality coffee from animal droppings. Not appetizing but still, what a way to make coffee!

Arjun's picture
Arjun May 14, 2011 - 8:39am
They clean the berries once they come out, for all you people who think it's disgusting. And fine, high-quality coffee comes out of an animal's butt.
Armaan's picture
Armaan May 10, 2011 - 6:39pm
interesting... gross.
Kiwi_BJ's picture
Kiwi_BJ May 10, 2011 - 3:46pm
I have known about this for a couple of years now.I think it is an interesting way to make coffee.
Deepa Gopal's picture
Deepa Gopal May 10, 2011 - 12:30pm

We have changed the text a little to clarify and added a picture of a coffee bush.

All coffee beans grow on shrubs, the beans are inside little red berries. These beans are roasted and are the source for the coffee we drink.

Now some animals such as monkeys and civets eat these berries and the undigested beans come out of their system. These beans are then cleaned up, roasted and sold as gourmet coffee. This kind of coffee is SO expensive that you will find it only in specialty shops.

Zohar's picture
Zohar May 9, 2011 - 9:00am
I wonder how you can tell if a goat is excited.
Deepa Gopal's picture
Deepa Gopal May 9, 2011 - 9:27am

We suppose goats that were quietly grazing around, started jumping up and down suddenly after eating the berries! It was the shift in the animal's behavior that got the goatherds wondering..

Cole's picture
Cole May 9, 2011 - 7:01am
Ukkkkkkkkkkkk! That is gross!! That is the last time I am drinking coffee!
Deepa Gopal's picture
Deepa Gopal May 9, 2011 - 8:21am

It is unlikely you are drinking this coffee! These are what people call exotic or gourmet coffee that costs $300 for just a pound!! :)

The coffee we drink comes directly from beans that grow on a shrub.