Muslim group may ban civet coffee
The Ulema Council will decide if the expensive coffee — which is extracted from civet dung — is clean enough for Muslims to drink.
Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 10:20 AM
GOOD TO THE LAST DROPPING: Civet dung is prepared during the production of Kopi Luwak, the world's most expensive coffee. (Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Indonesia's top Islamic body says it may forbid followers from drinking the world's most expensive coffee — extracted from the dung of a civet cat —over concerns it is unclean.
Kopi Luwak is made from hard beans that have been eaten by the nocturnal critters and then fermented in their stomachs before being pooped out and roasted. It's highly prized for its smooth flavor and bitterless aftertaste, sometimes fetching well over $200 a pound ($440 per kilogram) online.
Maruf Amien, acting head of the powerful Ulema Council, said a ruling on whether Muslims should be banned from drinking the brew could be made as early as Tuesday. He said the key issue is whether or not the coffee is clean.
"God willing it will be an easy decision," said Amien. "If the farmers clean the beans before they are grinded, they are halal, or legitimate, and there won't be a problem."
Kopi Luwak is produced on several Indonesian islands, spanning from Sumatra in the west to Sulawesi in the east, but it also can be found under different names elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Only 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) are said to be produced annually worldwide.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. The influential Ulema Council often issues fatwas, or edicts, including several controversial rulings against smoking and yoga. Its edicts are not legally binding, but many devout Muslim abide by them.
Copyright 2010 AP News
Also on MNN: How civet coffee is made