Kopi Luwak: Is It Safe to Drink?

civets in indonesia

Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee, is produced through a unique process that involves the consumption and excretion of coffee cherries by the Asian palm civet. This production method has raised concerns about the safety of the coffee, as the civet’s digestive tract can harbor parasites and bacteria that could potentially contaminate the beans.

Despite these concerns, Kopi Luwak remains popular with some consumers who are willing to pay high prices for its unique flavor profile. However, it is important for consumers to be aware of the potential health risks associated with drinking Kopi Luwak and to make an informed decision about whether or not to consume it.

What is Kopi Luwak?

Kopi Luwak is a coffee that is produced from the beans of coffee cherries that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), a small, cat-like mammal native to Southeast Asia.

Key Facts

  1. Contamination levels: The beans collected from civet feces and used to make Kopi Luwak may have higher levels of contamination. However, the processed beans are generally considered safe to drink, with no contamination from E. coli or other bacteria.
  2. Animal welfare concerns: The production of Kopi Luwak has raised ethical concerns over the years. Wild civets are often captured and confined to cages where they are force-fed coffee cherries and kept in poor conditions. These practices have been criticized for animal cruelty and inadequate living conditions.
  3. Counterfeit products: The authenticity of Kopi Luwak is also a concern. More than 80% of all coffee sold as Kopi Luwak today is believed to be counterfeit. This means that consumers may be unknowingly buying regular coffee beans passed off as premium Kopi Luwak.

Understanding the production process

The production process begins with the civets selectively feeding on ripe coffee cherries. During digestion, enzymes and gastric juices in the civet’s stomach interact with the coffee beans, resulting in a unique fermentation process. After excretion, the collected feces are carefully processed to obtain the coffee beans.

Safety Concerns

  1. Microbial Contamination: One of the primary safety concerns associated with Kopi Luwak is the potential for microbial contamination. The unorthodox production process involving animal consumption and digestion raises the risk of bacterial contamination. Improper handling and processing techniques can further contribute to the presence of harmful microorganisms.
  2. Quality Control: Due to the high demand and premium price of Kopi Luwak, there have been instances of unethical practices, such as the mislabeling of ordinary coffee beans as genuine Kopi Luwak. This not only compromises the quality but also raises concerns about the origin and safety of the coffee beans.

Health and Safety Considerations

  1. Hygienic Processing: To ensure the safety of Kopi Luwak, stringent hygiene practices should be followed throughout the production process. This includes proper collection, cleaning, and processing techniques to minimize the risk of microbial contamination.
  2. Quality Assurance: Establishing robust quality control measures is vital to authenticate the origin and quality of Kopi Luwak. This involves reliable certification and traceability systems that verify the authenticity of the coffee beans and ensure compliance with safety standards.
  3. Consumer Awareness: It is essential for consumers to be aware of the potential safety risks associated with Kopi Luwak. By understanding the production process and being knowledgeable about reliable sources and trustworthy suppliers, consumers can make informed decisions regarding the consumption of this coffee variety.

Explore reputable producers

Ethical and environmental concerns have been raised regarding the production of Kopi Luwak. The trapping and confinement of civets for commercial purposes have raised animal welfare concerns. Additionally, the high demand for Kopi Luwak has led to the emergence of counterfeit products, where lower-quality beans are sold as genuine Kopi Luwak.

To ensure ethical and sustainable consumption of Kopi Luwak, it is important to seek out reputable producers who prioritize the well-being of the civet and adhere to sustainable farming practices. These producers typically use methods that allow the civets to roam freely in their natural habitat and consume coffee cherries as part of their natural diet. The civets are not confined or subjected to unnatural conditions, ensuring that their welfare is respected.

In addition, reputable producers prioritize sustainable farming practices that minimize environmental impact. They may use organic farming methods, reduce water usage, and implement reforestation efforts to preserve the civet’s natural habitat. By supporting these producers, consumers can help preserve the civet population and the surrounding ecosystem.

  1. Transparent sourcing practices:
    Look for producers that are transparent about their sourcing practices. They should provide information about the origin of the beans, the treatment of the civets, and their commitment to animal welfare.
  2. Direct trade and relationships with farmers:
    Look for producers that have direct relationships with coffee farmers or cooperatives. This not only ensures better traceability, but also promotes fair compensation for farmers.
  3. Certification and Accreditation:
    Some certifications and accreditations, such as Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, or Fair Trade, can provide assurance that the coffee was sourced ethically and sustainably. Look for these certifications on the packaging or ask the producer directly.
  4. Positive reviews and endorsements:
    Look for reviews and recommendations from reputable sources, coffee enthusiasts, or ethical coffee organizations. Their experiences and insights can help guide your decision.
  5. Responsible Animal Welfare Practices:
    Reputable producers should prioritize the welfare of the civets involved in the coffee production process. Look for producers who ensure that the civets are not kept in captivity or subjected to any form of cruelty.

Remember, the Kopi Luwak industry has faced challenges, and it’s important to be discerning when choosing a producer. By prioritizing transparency, ethical sourcing and animal welfare, you can support producers who maintain responsible practices and enjoy Kopi Luwak with peace of mind.

Certifications and Standards

Animal Welfare:

  • Animal Welfare Approved: This certification ensures that civets are treated humanely and have access to a natural habitat, adequate space, and proper veterinary care.
  • Certified Humane: This certification verifies that civets are raised and handled according to strict animal welfare standards, including providing them with a natural environment and prohibiting the use of cages.

Environmental Sustainability:

  • Organic: This certification guarantees that Kopi Luwak is produced using organic farming methods, minimizing the use of pesticides and fertilizers and promoting sustainable land management practices.
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified: This certification signifies that Kopi Luwak is grown in a way that protects biodiversity and promotes sustainable farming practices, including soil conservation and water management.
  • Fair Trade Certified: This certification ensures that Kopi Luwak farmers are paid a fair price for their product and that they adhere to social and environmental standards, such as providing safe working conditions and protecting the environment.

Product Authenticity:

  • Kopi Luwak Geographic Indication (GI): This certification verifies that Kopi Luwak is produced in a specific region and meets certain quality standards, ensuring its authenticity and traceability.
  • DNA Testing: DNA testing can be used to verify the authenticity of Kopi Luwak by confirming the presence of genetic markers unique to the Asian palm civet.
  • Independent Laboratory Testing: Independent laboratory testing can be conducted to assess the quality and purity of Kopi Luwak, ensuring that it meets safety and quality standards.

By adhering to these standards and certifications, Kopi Luwak producers can demonstrate their commitment to animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and product authenticity, thereby enhancing the reputation and sustainability of the industry.

Health Benefits of Kopi Luwak

When it comes to the health benefits of Kopi Luwak, it’s important to note that scientific research specifically focused on this particular type of coffee is limited. However, because Kopi Luwak is made from coffee beans and retains some key properties of regular coffee, it may potentially offer similar health benefits. Here are some generally accepted health benefits associated with coffee consumption:

  1. Antioxidant richness:
    Coffee, including Kopi Luwak, contains antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and caffeine may contribute to this benefit.
  2. Improved cognitive function:
    The caffeine in Kopi Luwak may provide a temporary boost to mental alertness, concentration, and focus. It may also contribute to improved mood and reduced fatigue.
  3. Potential disease prevention:
    Some studies suggest that regular coffee consumption may be associated with a lower risk of certain diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and certain types of cancer. It’s important to note that more research is needed to establish a direct link.
  4. Liver protection:
    Coffee has been associated with a reduced risk of liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. The exact mechanisms are still being studied, but coffee’s antioxidants and other bioactive compounds are thought to play a role.
  5. Potential metabolic benefits:
    Coffee consumption has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels.
  6. Athletic performance enhancement:
    The caffeine in coffee, including Kopi Luwak, has been shown to increase physical performance and endurance. It may help reduce perceived exertion, improve muscle contraction, and increase fat oxidation during exercise.

It’s important to remember that individual responses to coffee and its health benefits may vary depending on factors such as overall health, genetics, and personal tolerance to caffeine. As with any dietary consideration, moderation is key. If you have specific health concerns or questions, it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.


In conclusion, the safety of Kopi Luwak depends heavily on ethical sourcing, production practices and quality control measures. While the industry faces challenges related to animal welfare, quality control, and fraudulent practices, it is possible to find reputable producers who prioritize both the welfare of the animals involved and the safety of the coffee beans.

If you choose to explore the world of Kopi Luwak, exercise caution, conduct thorough research, and support producers who adhere to ethical and sustainable practices. By doing so, you can enjoy the unique flavors and experiences that Kopi Luwak offers, while ensuring that your beverage is safe and in line with your personal values.


Is Kopi Luwak safe to drink?

The safety of Kopi Luwak depends on a number of factors, including the sourcing and production practices employed by the producer. While the coffee itself is not inherently unsafe, there are concerns about sanitary conditions during production and the potential for fraudulent practices. It is important to source Kopi Luwak from reputable producers who prioritize ethical sourcing and animal welfare, and maintain strict quality control. By choosing responsible producers and ensuring proper processing and roasting, you can enjoy Kopi Luwak with confidence. As with any caffeinated beverage, individuals with specific health conditions or sensitivities should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before consuming Kopi Luwak or any other type of coffee.

Is cat poop coffee safe?

Basically, its the fermentation taking place in their digestive system that makes these coffee beans healthier. Massimo Marcone, a food scientist at the University of Guelph, Canada too confirms that the coffee is safe. During his research, he found that kopi luwak has lower bacterial counts than regular coffee.

Do people still drink kopi luwak?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to drink and extremely delicious. In The Philippines, we often call this ‘Kopi Alamid’, and it truly is one of the rarest coffees on the planet. At around $20 per 75 grams (local price), it’s also one of the world’s most expensive coffees.

Is there poop in kopi luwak?

Kopi luwak is made from coffee beans plucked from civets’ feces. This is bad news for civets. It’s the world’s most expensive coffee, and it’s made from poop. Or rather, it’s made from coffee beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by the civet, a catlike creature.

Is kopi luwak cleaned?

The beans are thoroughly cleaned and then roasted at a high temperature (over 400 Fahrenheit). Both processes ensure that Kopi Luwak is 100% safe to drink.

Can kopi luwak make you sick?

Is Kopi Luwak safe to drink? While indeed the beans collected from the excrement show higher levels of contaminations, the processed beans are quite safe to drink with no contamination from e. coli or other bacteria.

What kind of animal is a luwak?

What is Kopi Luwak coffee, anyway? Kopi Luwak is an Indonesian coffee that has been digested by an animal called an Asian palm civet. The civet is a cat-like creature that roams the forests of Bali at night, eating ripe coffee cherries and excreting the coffee beans.

How do you drink Luwak coffee?

Pour water in a slow, even spiral, adding water every 10 – 15 seconds for an even extraction. Wait around three minutes once you have finished pouring water. Enjoy your premium Kaya Kopi Luwak!

Is luwak a cat?

Kopi luwak is coffee made from coffee cherries that have been eaten, digested, and defecated by the Asian palm civet, a small mammal that looks like a cross between a cat and a raccoon.