Coffee Beans From Animal Poo – Why?

Coffee Beans From Animal Poo – Why?


Why? That was my first thoughts on discovering that you can buy coffee beans from animal poo!

In fact, there are coffees made from bat, civet, elephant and monkey poo, amongst others, and all of them come with a very expensive price tag.

Before we go any further I must just say that the coffee does not contain any poo, its just that the beans have been eaten by the animal, partially digested, and then excreted.

Of course, this means that some lucky people out there have to collect the poo and remove the beans. That reminds me of the time my young son accidentally swallowed a small screw and we had to check he passed it. I leave that to your imagination.

workers separating beans from elephant poo
Separating beans from elephant poo

Some popular coffees using beans extracted from animal shit:

  • Bat – Costa Rica
  • Bird – Brazil
  • Civet – Indonesia
  • Elephant – Thailand
  • Monkey – India

That still leaves the question, why?

The Science

Without a doubt, “dung coffee” is by far the strangest type of coffee available.

It’s the changes to the coffee bean that takes place when exposed to the animal’s digestive tract that alter the characteristics of the coffee. The saliva, enzymes, and other digestive fluids partly ferment the bean reducing its acidity and bitterness.

This results, apparently, in a rich, very smooth flavoured, special brew. Devotees claim it has certain health benefits, mostly dubious with no official backing, including antibacterial, and protection against some individual cancers.

Why is it so expensive?

Simply put, supply and demand. Brazil, in 2018 produced 3.5 million metric tonnes, about 1/3 of the worlds total, of coffee beans, mainly Arabica.

Asian palm civet

The civets that indirectly produce the worlds most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak, from their granola bar style droppings, managed to excrete around 500kg.

Can I Try It?

Yes, you can! From Sea Island Coffee.

After this, if you are still tempted to try coffee from an animals bottom, and you have deep pockets, then good luck. I’m sticking with my favourite, Taylors Praline Especial Brazil, with not a bat, monkey or elephant involved.

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