In the movie, “The Bucket List,” actor Jack Nicholson is a huge fan of a coffee named Kopi Luwak … referred to as the most expensive coffee in the world.
Kopi Luwak is in fact the most expensive coffee in the world. It sells for between $120 and $600 USD per pound. A very strange thought considering that the beans come from coffee cherries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (also referred to as a cat). The civet eats the coffee cherries, but while the cherry itself is digested, the inner bean is not and it passes through. Once eliminated, the beans are collected, cleaned, and mildly roasted to make this supposedly delicious coffee. All coffees come from coffee cherries, but it is believed that the enzymes in the animal’s stomach add a unique flavor making the coffee quite pricey.
Is this coffee worth the price?
The coffee cherry is a member of the super antioxidant family and contains polyphenols that help to prevent free radical damage. It is starting to show up in skin care products as the polyphenols help stop the deterioration of collagen and lessen visible signs of aging. But it is my guess that the benefits are in the cherry itself and remain with the civet. The high cost of this coffee is due only to the rarity of it, the process of making it, and perhaps the taste, not due to any health benefits. Therefore, the health benefits of Kopi Luwak are no more than the benefits found in any other cup of coffee.
But there is a better alternative to coffee.
It has many health benefits. It is easier to find than Kopi Luwak and costs just a fraction of the price. It is yerba maté. Discovered by people of the South American rain forest, yerba maté comes from the leaves of the Ilex Paraguayansis tree.
With less caffeine than coffee, yerba maté contains three natural stimulants … caffeine (the stimulant in coffee), theobromine (the stimulant in chocolate), and theophylline (the stimulant in green tea) … which will give that kick to start the day which you get from coffee without giving you the negative effects, such as jitters, headaches, and stomach discomfort. Yerba maté also:
Makes me wonder why we drink coffee at all.