Whenever I sit down to a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, generally one that costs me $3.62 (which I thought was steep for a daily one or two brews), I feel an instant calm rush over me. Yet, when I heard that people pay between $35 and $80 dollars a cup for the world's most expensive coffee, my mind was blown. This outlandish bean comes from the civet cat and is called kopi luwak. At first, I thought, "wow, this is super awesome," but then I researched how kopi luwak is made, and I almost spit my delicious, cheap cup of coffee, all over my floor.
Here's the deal. National Geographic explained that kopi luwak can be called "cat poop coffee," as it's made directly from the civet cat's waste. If you didn't feel the need to spend up to $800 for a pound of kopi luwak coffee, here's a more compelling reason to not hand over your credit card: The coffee bean is partially digested by the kopi luwak before it's dug out. The price is so high because the coffee bean cherry is of optimal quality, and the partial digestion process can create a smoother, less acidic cup of coffee.
Unfortunately, the process of making kopi luwak involves inhumane practices. The civets are left in cages, which have dangerous wiring to cause pain and suffering, as explained in Time. Plus, most civets are unable to interact with other civets or have exposure to fresh water and grazing, which can hinder their quality of life and mental health. While some farmers are calling the coffee beans "wild," meaning that they are free of these harmful practices, it's pretty misleading.
So, what to do? Sticking with standard, cheaper coffee is better for ethical reasons, your body, and, of course, your wallet. However, if you want to try other expensive coffees, look for black ivory coffee, a coffee that's been "refined" by elephants that is much more animal-friendly. Like kopi luwak, the cherry is separated from the dung before it's cleaned and processed.
The choice is yours, now that you've weighed the pros and cons. In the meantime, sip on your domestic, cheap roast, and spend your extra money elsewhere.