India has delved into the production of civet coffee — the most expensive coffee in the world — which is made from the excreta of the civet cat.
The third-largest producer and exporter of coffee, India has started the production of this variety on a small scale in Karnataka's Coorg district.
The process of producing this coffee involves having the civet cat ingest coffee beans. The cat’s poop is then collected and processed.
Also known as luwak coffee, civet coffee’s market price is extremely high as it is considered more nutritious than other varieties. It also has a high cost of production because of the unusual method of producing it, as well as the processing and quality certification involved.
Popular in the Gulf nations and Europe, civet coffee is sold at Rs 20,000–25,000 per kg.
A startup, Coorg Consolidated Commodities (CCC), has decided to produce this coffee at a small scale in the country’s largest coffee-producing state. CCC has also decided to open a café to serve this coffee locally.
According to The Hindu Business Line, one of the founders of CCC, Narendra Hebbar, said,
Initially, 20 kg of civet coffee was produced. After establishing the startup firm, 60 kg was produced in 2015–16 and 200 kg last year. We hope half-a-tonne production from the new crop to be harvested from October.
This coffee is presently being sold locally under the brand name ‘Ainmane’ at just one outlet — Club Mahindra Madikeri Resort. According to Livemint, Narendra said,
The civet cat eats flesh of the coffee cherries and not the bean. Natural enzymes in the civet’s stomach enhance the bean flavour and that’s why this coffee is unique.
The coffee is being sold locally at Rs 8,000 per kg. With the low level of production and high certification costs, it is not yet feasible to export Coorg's civet coffee.