The world’s most exquisite coffee—and certainly the most expensive—is made from coffee beans that have been eaten, partially digested, and excreted by a small Southeast Asian creature called the luwak.
This coffee-making process, which I hadn’t heard of before visiting Bali, raised plenty of questions:
- Who discovered that the excrement of a small, nocturnal mammal could be scavenged from the forest floor, cleaned, and roasted to produce a superior cup of coffee?
- How, exactly, was this discovery made?
- How does one verify the authenticity of a brew marketed as the luwak’s finest production?
- Why was the animal given the scientific name Paradoxurus hermaphroditus?
- And, of course, what makes the beverage so delicious?
Come along as I explore Bali, track down the paradoxical creature that produces Indonesian Kopi Luwak, and learn its secrets in the story “Magical Beans.”