22 years ago I discovered a very rare coffee that had an uniquely smooth texture and musky flavour which came from its quirky provenance. 'Kopi Luwak' is a predominantly Indonesian coffee made from coffee cherries that have been partially digested, the beans then excreted by a wild cat-like animal, the luwak.
Back when I discovered it, the droppings would be collected from the wild, which makes it hard to harvest reliably in big quantities and therefore not a commercially viable crop. However, a rise in the demand for the coffee along with the huge price it commands – it sells for up to $100 per cup – means that wild civets are now being illegally poached in the jungle, caged in cramped prison-camp conditions and force-fed coffee cherries to mass produce the coffee. pandering to the foibles of rich and leading to the suffering and death of defenceless wild luwaks.
I am devastated that my discovery inadvertently led to this cruel animal sweatshop trade. I’m now trying to stop this trade as the massively increased demand has created a horrific industry, pandering to the foibles of rich and leading to the suffering and death of defenceless wild luwaks. And. what's worse, coffee-farmers in China, Vietnam, India and the Philippines are now jumping on the bandwagon too.
I need your help in calling for this multi-million dollar distressing 'battery' farm operation to stop. There are a number of high-end retailers who are currently stocking the coffee, reassured by their supply chain that the coffee is produced by wild luwaks only, and seemingly unaware of its true origins. One of these retailers is Harrods. If enough of us join forces and tell Harrods to set the precedent and stop stocking kopi luwak, they will be forced to listen.
Wild animals in cages are the worst case, but even those in enclosures suffer greatly. The naturally shy and solitary creatures stress out being enclosed in proximity to other luwaks, and the unnatural emphasis on coffee cherries in their diet causes other health problems too. The resulting environment is brutal and horrific. They fight among themselves, some even gnawing off their own legs, and start passing blood. All of this so that people can 'enjoy' a cup of coffee.
Join me in telling Harrods to cut the crap -- stop selling kopi luwak.
A recent BBC programme I was involved in that makes serious allegations about the source of Harrods' kopi luwak is now up on YouTube:
This petition is allied to my Facebook campaign 'Kopi Luwak: Cut the Crap"
Photo credit: Nicky Loh/Getty Images for WSPA