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What Is Bird Poop Coffee? Is It Ethical?

jacu bird that produces poop coffee_jumpstory

There are a variety of weird and wonderful coffees in the world, but the strangest and most intriguing type is poop coffee. While some may immediately turn up their nose, others are hooked.

One of the poop coffees to hit the market is bird poop coffee, which comes from the droppings of the Jacu bird. It is one of the rarest coffees and one of the most expensive in the world.

If you are new to this concept and are wondering just how excrement became coffee, read on to learn more about the fascinating coffee.

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What is Bird Poop Coffee?

Bird poop coffee is made from the dropping of the Jacu bird, a bird native to the forests of Latin America. The bird feeds primarily on ripe coffee cherries and will only choose the ripest fruits to eat.

A coffee farmer in Pedra Azul noticed the Jacu birds eating the fruit of his coffee plants. He remembered his experience with the kopi luwak coffee in Indonesia and knew he could produce a coffee the same way with the droppings from the Jacu birds.

side view of a jacu bird

How is it Made?

Jacu coffee is typically harvested from April to October. Once the Jacu bird has eaten the coffee cherries, the pulp gets broken down and absorbed, but the husk is not digested, so it passes straight through the bird’s digestive system and ends up in the droppings. The digestive juices within the animal’s digestive tract pass through the husk and into the coffee bean.

The enzymes break down the chemical compounds and proteins, which leech out of the bean and into the bird, preserving the bean’s external structure but significantly altering its chemical composition.

The beans are then extracted from the poop, washed multiple times, and processed in the same manner as other coffee beans.

The taste of bird poop coffee will be affected by the vegetarian diet of the Jacu bird, resulting in different flavors with notes of various fruits.

What Are the Different Types of Animal Poop Coffee?

Various animals eat coffee cherries, and there are four types of animal poop that coffee is roasted from. These are the most popular:

Kopi Luwak Coffee: Kopi luwak coffee is made from the poop of the Asian Palm Civet. Alongside coffee cherries, this animal loves to eat fruits like mangoes and rambutan, which add to the flavor. After the civet consumes the coffee cherries, they ferment in the digestive tract and are pooped out whole within 24 hours. The poop is then collected, washed, and roasted into the coffee. The best civet coffee comes from wild civets but collecting poop from a wild animal isn’t an easy task, so Civet-raising farms have sprouted up to meet the demand.

Elephant Poop Coffee: The concept of making a beverage from elephant dung originated in Thailand. Elephants are fed Thai Arabica cherries, which are mixed into their regular food. Caregivers will hand-pick the cherries after the elephants have eliminated them, and they are then washed and sun-dried. Once they are dry, they are hulled and sorted by machine before being roasted.

Coati Coffee: This coffee is produced from the poop of a Coati, a long-nosed Raccoon-like animal. The Coatis enjoy eating the coffee tree cherries and usually choose the ripest one available. The enzymes in the digestive tract break down the sugars and infuse fruity notes into an already top-quality flavored coffee.

Kopi Luwak civet coffee
A civet with coffee cherries | Image: AKKHARAT JARUSILAWONG, Shutterstock

Benefits of Bird Poop Coffee

The unique fermentation process that occurs when the bean is exposed to the bird’s digestive tract provides many health benefits, which include:

  • Improved brain functionality
  • A lower caffeine content
  • Simple to digest, with no complex compounds
  • Immunity and energy boost
  • Excellent for those who enjoy low-caffeine coffee.

Disadvantages of Poop Coffee

When Jacu bird coffee was discovered, it gained popularity, and because bird poop is rare and there are no other alternatives, it may be hard to obtain. Because of this and its production method, it is one of the most expensive coffees in the world.

The only way to reduce the price is to produce the coffee in large quantities by capturing the animals and forcing them to eat coffee cherries, which is impractical.

a cup of coffee and coffee beans
Image Credit; Andrija Petrovic, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Does Bird Poop Coffee Taste Like?

Jacu coffee or guano coffee is a robust, sweet coffee with slightly more acidity than traditional coffee. It can be described as a nutty flavor with hints of aniseed.

Is it Safe to Drink Bird Poop Coffee?

Bird poop coffee is safe to drink. It is one of the healthiest types of coffee available. The roasting is done at such high temperatures that no bacteria can survive. Southeast Asians have been drinking kopi luwak without incident for hundreds of years.

girl drinking coffee
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

How Much Does Bird Poop Coffee Cost?

Many factors influence price, including competition, supply and demand, annual harvests, etc. Because bird poop coffee is a new discovery, there is no competition to drive down prices. You can expect to pay up to $100 for a small bag of this coffee. A kilo of Jacu bird can cost more than $800.

Where Can I Buy Jacu Bird Coffee?

Jacu poop coffee is unavailable in chain coffee shops such as Starbucks due to its rarity and high price. The coffee is only available in a few high-end restaurants and online vendors.

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Bird poop coffee is exactly what its name suggests; it’s a coffee produced from the dropping of the Jacu bird. It goes through the fermentation process in the bird’s digestive tract and is collected, washed, dried, and roasted to produce a unique flavor. It is very rare and one of the highest-priced coffees in the world. You may still be conflicted about whether you want to try this type of coffee, but those who love it claim it tastes the best.


Ollie Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones is a zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia. Originally from the US, he thought he loved coffee before his big move down under, but his discovery of the flat white and the cafe on every corner has taken his coffee passion to a whole new level. He's so excited to share his knowledge and experience with readers worldwide (and keep testing coffee drinks while he's at it).

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