5 reasons why you should
blacklist civet coffee
Civet coffee is known as a non-traditionally produced type of coffee with a unique taste, an equally unique price tag, and much sought-after by enthusiasts. With only such information, however, the majority of people only know the tip of the iceberg of this expensive coffee. This article will provide a different perspective on the massive remaining part of the iceberg, based on scientific research on civet coffee in Vietnam and in the world by many different scientists.
Civet coffee, or Kopi Luwak, is mostly produced in Indonesia. In Vietnam, this type of coffee originated from the French colonialism era, when workers in coffee plantations only dared to make coffee beans from civet dropping to drink. Civet coffee indeed is made from such beans: partially digested and excreted out by civets. Realistically, it is made from civet poop. The coffee beans are then separated from the poop and processed, dried, and ground to make the final product.
Because of the complex and unnatural methods, the price of civet coffee is extremely high. But is the price and exquisiteness worth it? The fact that people consider it a “special” kind of coffee has led to it being widely consumed and sought after.
First of all, with a rising demand for civet coffee, civet caging and farming to produce coffee is also increasing. Wild civet species are captured and sold to coffee farms, and the number of farmed civets are in the thousands (in only two surveyed provinces in Vietnam, the number of farmed civets has reached more than 1,500 individuals). Such an extreme reduction direly affects wild civet population. Many civet species in Vietnam are on the verge of extinction due to being overly hunted for farming and consumption, such as Owston’s Civet Chrotogale owstoni, Large-spotted Civet Viverra megaspila, Binturong Arctictis binturong, etc.
Farmed civets are also often subject to cramped and suffocating environments without proper conditions for animal welfare. It is easy to find videos and pictures of civets trapped in tiny metal cages only sized 40x40x40cm, the only food source are coffee fruits among an equally innutritious diet. The majority of civet individuals suffer from physical and mental trauma, many experiencing depression and self-harm, much like humans do. Knowing that now, would civet coffee still be delicious and attractive like it is made out to be?
Civets are potential carriers of many zoonotic diseases. Some of the more worth mentioning epidemics that we have had to face like SARS – the disease originated from civets. Additionally, terrible viruses like HIV and H5N1 also originated from wild animals. It is obviously not to anyone’s benefit to exterminate all those wild animals to prevent diseases as a result, either, but it is certainly best if we limit exposure with wild animals in general. When trapped in a cramped environment with inadequate medical and hygienic conditions, they will for sure be sick. Many civet farms have to shut down entirely due to mass die-offs. Notably, the terrible COVID-19 pandemic, which humanity has been facing in the last 2 years and caused immeasurable damages to human lives and the economy, is thought to have originated in flea markets where wild animal meats are sold.
Another reason why you should stay away from civet coffee is losing money to fake products. In an investigative article, it is highly likely that you will buy fake and low-quality coffee. Every year, only a small amount of civet coffee is made, so many traders sought out ways to produce counterfeits, mixing many different types of coffee beans or cutting corners in the production process to increase revenue. In Vietnam and many countries, there is currently no way to differentiate between authentic and counterfeit coffee other than taste and experience, therefore, there is no guarantee that you would be able to buy “real” civet coffee.
If you are certain that the civet coffee you bought is authentic, the following reason might make you reconsider. According to coffee experts, civet coffee is not remarkably better in taste nor in nutrition value compared to traditionally produced coffee. Instead of spending a fortune on civet coffee, why not settle for cheaper yet still more delicious alternatives?
To close out the article, if you are an animal lover and a nature lover, there is no better reason to boycott civet coffee. Keep in mind that it is produced on physical and mental suffering and trauma of otherwise adorable and energetic animals.
Hopefully you have acquired useful knowledge to help make better, more informed decisions.
(*) tại Việt Nam thì cầy thường bị nhầm lẫn với chồn nên mọi người gọi là cà phê chồn thay vì cà phê cầy
(**) Bell, D., Roberton, S., & Hunter, P. R. (2004). Animal origins of SARS coronavirus: Possible links with the international trade in small carnivores. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 359(1447), 1107–1114. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2004.1492
Karesh, W. B., Cook, R. A., Bennett, E. L., & Newcomb, J. (2005). Wildlife Trade and Global Disease Emergence. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 11(7), 3.
(***) Nguồn: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/160429-kopi-luwak-captive-civet-coffee-Indonesia
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