Activism, Bali, Travel

The ugly truth behind the world’s most expensive coffee

As you know I was in Bali, a beautiful island in Indonesia, last November and I’ve absolutely loved the trip, for this exception…

On one of your tours, we were taken to try some delicious organic teas and coffee. I cannot drink coffee otherwise I’m unable to sleep at night, even if I take it at breakfast… so not being a coffee fan I decided it was still worth visiting it for cultural reasons and to try out the different flavors of tea when our driver took us to a coffee/tea plantation.

The people there were very friendly and gave an explanation about the different types of vegetation (both edible and not) that they grow at the plantation. We saw much of the process involved in making coffee, including luwak coffee. Not being a coffee drinker I had no idea that luwak coffee even existed. At that time in our little tour throughout the plantation I see a couple of cages, each one with a little luwak… I’ve found most disturbing was the wire floor the animals were forced to stand day after day… Being an animal lover I decided to have a serious conversation about those animals in a polite way (you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar) and the plantation guide explained that they are there for tourists to see, like in a zoo, but after some more questions and trying to explain how tourists don’t need that, the plantation guide guaranteed that they were domesticated and they they are walked at night, just like a dog. One of them actually had a collar, so I accepted the explanation, not sure if that was a lie or not.

I tasted the delicious teas, obviously refused to try the luwak coffee and explained why, I wanted to make a point that I wasn’t against the farm or the production of tea and coffee, just against the way they were treating those beings and left thinking about those poor gentle creatures and started doing some investigation on my own.

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Coincidence or not later during that day, while visiting another place, I met a man that had 4 luwaks, completely free, playing with him. I decided to talk to him and get to know more about this animals and this industry, that was when he told me that those luwaks were rescued from a coffee plantation and he is now raising awareness for this practice.

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this gentle luwak sniffed me and then slowly jumped into my lap to be petted

The luwak is a wild cat-like Mammal, a shy, solitary nocturnal forest animal that freely prowls nearby coffee plantations at night in the harvest season, eating the choicest ripe coffee cherries, that are then used to make kopi luwak coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world. Today, kopi luwak coffee mainly comes from caged wild luwaks, often kept in appalling conditions… Sounds disgusting? It is.

For all you coffee lovers out there, please think twice before purchasing this type of coffee

For more information I will encourage you to check the article on national geographic and BBC.

 

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