Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"They Actually Eat That:" Civet Poop Coffee.

Remember how, last week, I said that the fast food industry was trying to rip you off? I didn't even cover all of it. Starbucks and other premium coffee brands are trying to rip you off, too; they're literally selling you crap.

O hai.

Or, well, they would like to. They would really, really like to sell you beans that have gone through the gut of an Indonesian animal called a palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). The palm civet is a natural coffee afficionado; it only eats the choicest coffee berries.

Of course, the civet craps the leftovers out. People then harvest the half-digested beans; who first thought this was a good idea, I do not know, nor do I want to find out. The enzymes in the civet's digestive tract, and possibly its anal musk glands (which look like testicles on both sexes) as well, make the coffee very flavorful.

They Actually Eat That?! 

Civet coffee ("kopi luwak") is said to have, as per a coffee connoisseur's tongue:

"The aroma is rich and strong, and the coffee is incredibly full bodied, almost syrupy. It's thick with a hint of chocolate, and lingers on the tongue with a long, clean aftertaste. It's definitely one of the most interesting and unusual cups I've ever had." 

Look for kopi luwak next time you are at a gourmet coffee or tea place. If you think Starbucks is expensive, get a load of the price tag on this stuff: $600 per pound or sometimes $30 per cup.  This is a big enough industry to have fakers, so use your tongue instead of your eyes. The University of Florida is working on getting cheaper imitation civet crap in stores, but only time will tell if they can compete with the real McCoy.

"Good to the last dropping!" These coffee growers are also witty. ;)

The civet is not the only coffee-lover whose crap gets harvested. Remember the muntjac, that vampire deer? Coffee comes from his excrement, too. It's all fair-trade, so you can feel good about drinking something that has been eaten once already.


  1. To the credit of the civet, it IS the cutest source of crap coffee in natural history, so that's something in its favor, lol.

    ...Yeah, it's best not to think of how they found out these element of civet coffee. Maybe it's like lutefisk, where the coffee was so damn valuable that they couldn't afford to waste a single bean. D:

  2. Is it wrong that I would totally try this?

  3. @Symbion pandora: I personally compare it to eating lobster when it is, for all respects and purposes, a massive underwater bug (the biology buffs can tell this is ubersimplified, lol); it can taste good as long as you don't think overmuch about exactly what it is you're eating/drinking, lol.

  4. Yeah. I remember this awesome lobster dish in was European-style, I could tell, but AMAZING.

    Then I had a shrimp salad at Harrod's with a giant tiger shrimp just staring at me as I gutted it. Yeeeaah, I need to eat out more often; food in the U.S. really is "cleaned up" more than it should be. Never, EVER forget that you are eating an actual animal.