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Kopi luwak , or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and egested by the Asian palm civet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak

Is it kosher because they are still viewed as coffee beans or is it viewed as the product of a nonkosher animal (akin to a secretion like milk) and, thus, nonkosher?

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<sigh> I guess we had to have this question sooner or later. 8^P –  Isaac Moses May 1 at 14:12
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There is no doubt that civet is not a kosher animal and any direct derivatives of a nonkosher animal is also not kosher. Hoyotzei min hatamei tamei (bechoros 7). The issue here is whether the digestion of coffee is considered as yotzei or not. The gemara ibid deals with a question of donkey urine and considers that pirsha is mutar. But questions whether urine is pirsha. –  Yoni May 1 at 15:28
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@GershonGold The civet ingredient that seems to be referring to is a pheremone extracted from the civet animal mentioned in the question. It's quite possible that coffee beans that have passed through the latter do not have the same status as the former, just as honey, which we take to be a product that has passed through a bee, does not have the same status as the bee itself or any part thereof. –  Isaac Moses May 1 at 16:44
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I don't care HOW good it tastes, if it comes out of another mammal's pupik I'm not consuming it... –  Gary May 2 at 3:08

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I sent this question a couple of years ago to the OU. They sent me back:

Thank you for contacting the OU.

This has differing opinions among poskim. Some view it as yotzai min ha'tamei because the non-kosher animal digests the bean and this improves it. Others view it as pirsha b'alma and permit it.

Ask your local Rov for his guidance as to the Halocho l'ma'aseh

Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you have any further questions.

I did ask my local Rov (Rabbi Kalman Epstein) for his guidance, and he replied that it was permissible. He explained that it is similar to honey, as mentioned by Isaac Moses in the comments to the question.

I have tried the coffee (I bought an eighth of a pound from Porto Rico Importing) and it was so good that it must be assur. :)

As always ask your LOR, although I can see why that might be uncomfortable.

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How did Rav Kalman differentiate this and donkey urine which is problematic (Bechoros, ibid) and that according R Eleizer ben Yaakov (and Raavad and Remah) only bee honey is mutar from a gezeiras hakasuv? I guess I can ask him next time I see him (not often enough, though!) –  Yoni May 2 at 15:59
    
@Yoni I didn't ask him... –  Ish Ploni ViKohen May 4 at 5:26

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