Monday, January 27, 2014

Get the Poop on Civet Coffee

What is "civet coffee"? The civet cat is not actually a cat at all, it is a member of the Viverridae family (which is comprised almost entirely of civets, genets and linsangs). One of the civets is the Asian palm civet, and that civet loves eating coffee cherries, inside of which are coffee beans. It then, well, naturally, poops them out. The bean is still intact, and that pooped-out coffee bean is collected, roasted just like any other coffee bean, ground, and turned into coffee. Voila - civet coffee, or, in the Indonesian language, kopi luwak.

Civet coffee is the most expensive coffee on the planet, with prices ranging up to $700 per kilogram, according to Wikipedia. Why would anyone pay that much for coffee that is derived from civet poo? Well, why are any delicacies as expensive as they are? Scarcity, coupled with demand driven by a desire by humans to experience what few others have experienced. It supposedly tastes phenomenal, too.

And no, it doesn't carry any scent or flavor of the civet or the civet's droppings - the coffee bean is protected inside the coffee cherry as it makes the digestive journey through the civet.

As explained in this video, the civet cat is known for being very choosy about which coffee cherries it is willing to eat - it selects only perfect examples, which contain the very best coffee beans:

Here is a longer (approximately 10-minute) clip produced by JW Coffee that follows civet coffee from ingestion by one of the "cats," through excretion to collection and on until a cup of coffee emerges (there is no narration, alas, but the story is well-told visually):

Much more about civet cat coffee is available in a post entitled The World's Most Expensive Cup of Coffee on the site TodayIFoundOut.com.

Would you be willing to sample civet coffee?

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