Looking for Vegan Civet Coffee?

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Caged civets, by Captain Bob, who says: Caged palm civets next to a restaurant in Luang Namtha. They looked extremely thirsty in open sunlight, and when I poured water into their pen they frantically slurped it up. Captive animal abuse like this is common in north Laos

The coffee I’m enjoying right now is so delicious I can’t even tell it never passed through the digestive track of a civet cat. Some wizard has devised a way to chemically imitate civet coffee, which is also known as  Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee, or just crappuccino.

The civet coffee concept is that the civet cats (who may or may not pick the best berries) partially digest the coffee beans which makes them less acidic. Indonesian farmers favored these pre-picked beans and somehow it caught on from there. Though, since it costs $800 a pound or $50 a cup, it’s main use is as a joke about the absurd taste of rich people.

(As an added blow, Muslims are now allowed to drink civet coffee, as it has been declared officially not dirty.) Coffee is only the latest human trouble for civets (which aren’t really cats, but more like weasels.) They get exploited for their musk scent for perfume and poached for their meat. Palm civets also get abused by fruit farmers for stealing their wares. Sure, civet coffee makers say they treat their civets well. Even musk civet farmers insist that the civets are doing great in their tiny bamboo cages. (See curious posting below)

I have no idea how my own vegan civet coffee was made. My husband’s co-worker and our friend, Jeff Chu, who has a knack for bring back delicious souvenirs for my husband and me, brought us some fake civet coffee from Vietnam.

I have seen that some guy in Florida has filed a patent for fake civet coffee that give the beans an acid bath in the enzyme pepsin for about 10 hours. The blog HalloLondon warns says that purists won’t like synthetic civet coffee. Don’t be suckered in by Vietnam’s weasel coffee, they caution.

The Vietnamese coffee maker Trung Nguyen must really annoy civet coffee afficianados because they seem to sell fake weasel coffee. Poopcoffee.com explains that the company “hired a German scientist to research the chemical processes that occur in the Civet’s stomach, and in 1996 scientists were able to isolate six specific digestive enzymes and then use these enzymes to create a synthetic soak known as Legendee, which they patented.” Though which coffee is fake and which is real is confusing. They claim that the company “has been raising up weasels in our coffee plantations, giving them a safe environment to enjoy their favorite fruits.” Poopcoffee says they also have civet plantations where the animals roam during the day and are caged at night, which is a little odd considering they’re nocturnal.

I think I’ll stick with the synthetic civet coffee.

Where to See Weird Animals

Where to See Animals Not Being Mistreated in Asia

civet coffee poo

civet coffee poo

Luwak or Asian Palm Civet By Steel Wool

Luwak or Asian Palm Civet By Steel Wool

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Captive Civet, By sejibodo Seb Fowler

Civet in musk cage. He rubs musk on the stick and the farmer scrapes it off.

EXCERPT FROM Water and Stone’s pro-civet farming article

They are kept in reasonably large cage made of Bamboo. The size of the cage is 1.20 X 1.20 meter and .60 meter high. There are plenty of room under the cage which let the air flow freely. This mean that ventilation is excellent. The cages are under roof that can protect the civets from rain and sun. They are not being kept in dark room but under a shelter that has a good atmospheric environment.

…. They have made numberous attempt to breed but they never been able to raise their babies to adult size. Most of them died before reach the age of 6 weeks. I spent severals hours in each civet farm and I have seen only a couple of flies in a farm. This proof that allof the farms are clean . I smell the musk scent and it is the scent of money for them.

There are more than 10 civet farms in the vincinity where I went to. Over 1,000 civets are being kept in these farms.

Because of the restriction not to allow catching wild civet , the amount of secretion being collected are decreasing year after year. As of today only about 5 kilograms of musk are collected monthly. Customers who come to buy this musk are very long time customers. Some customers are buying this musk since their grand father.

The largest farm has almost 200 civets in their possession and can get almost a kilo of musk monthly. The farm is run by 60 years old man and wife. The income is sufficient to make a living well for 2 person family. They have a mini truck, a motobycle and a comfortable house situated in about 2 acres of land. They have 3 children and 6 grand children. The children are well educated and are good citizens of the world.

Are you going to ruin their family life by urging other peoples not to buy perfume that has musk civet in the formular? Please be kind to all human being….

Farmers never take their civets out of the cages , spread their legs and scrub the musk from their gland that can injure the civets. No , they never do that. The way these farmers do is the normal and natural way the civet do in the wild. Farmers never even touch their civets.

A hard wood stick about 1 1/2 inches square and about 3 1/2 feet long is put in the middle of the cage to let the civet rub their musk onto it. No body force the civet to do but it is their natural way to mark their territory. The farmer will take the stick out every morning at about 6 A.M and take the musk out witha stainless steel tea spoon. The amount of musk collected from one civet is depend on the health of the civets and the temperature. The colder the weather the more civet paste the musk onto the wooden stick. Normally in the hot summer day, only about a size of the soy bean is being collected from one civet but if the weather is cold in the morning, let’s say about 20 celcius or less then we can expect to have about the size of a finger tip, or amounted to 10 times more than usual. They do it evey morning, no break. If the animal is too old then farmer will release them back into the wild or keep them until they die. Most of the civets can live until 20 years old. They are being taken care better than chicken, pigs and cow. which were slaughted at their veryearly ages for meat.

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