Indonesia's highest Islamic body on Tuesday abandoned a proposal to ban Muslims from drinking the world's most expensive coffee, which is extracted from the faeces of a small mammal called the civet.

It had considered issuing a fatwa against the rare coffee, made using beans picked out from the waste of the nocturnal, cat-like creature, on the grounds it was unclean.

"After a long discussion among clerics here, we decided that it's not sinful for Muslims to drink the Luwak coffee," the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) chairman Ma'ruf Amien told a press conference.

"It's not haram (forbidden in Islam) as long as you wash the beans with water to remove the civet cat's droppings," he said.

Locally known as Kopi Luwak, the beans come from the ripest fruits eaten by the civet, which are digested before being excreted and roasted. It is highly prized for its smooth flavour.

The beans cost up to 500 dollars per kilogramme, and only 200 kilos are produced worldwide each year, according to Indonesia's association of coffee producers. Several islands, including Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi, produce the drink.

The Council is officially the top authority on Islamic matters in the world's largest Muslim-populated nation, but its edicts have not always been closely followed by all Muslims, who make up 90 percent of the population of officially secular Indonesia.