Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Defaecated Coffee Anyone?

You read right - I didn't mean to write decaffeinated coffee. This is a picture of the Civet cat (or palm civet) that lives in Sumatra. Up in Aceh where mother lives these little critters, just slightly bigger than a house cat roam the jungle and occasionally wonder into peoples homes. One night mother had gotten up in the middle of the night to get a drink and passing thru the hallway saw what she thought was a wire hanging down out of the corner of her eye. She brushed it aside and realised the wire was rather furry. Looking up at the overhanging rafter she saw the furry wire was in fact a civet cats tail and the civet cat was sitting there quite calmly eating a mango it had procured for itself from the kitchen! Mother woke Faridah up, who I might tell you is more inclined to shooing away cats of any size and shape including tigers with a broom. The civet cat took a look at Faridahs broom and casual as you like climbed down from there after and walked, or rather strolled at a leisurely pace, down the front stairs back into the jungle.
Aceh is a large coffee growing area so the lovely red coffee berries pictured above are plentiful. That's right, coffee is actually a fruit, a berry, not a bean as we so ignoramously call it. This means that between the coffee berries and the civet cat some smart arse  once upon a time discovered that making coffee from the 'beans' that had passed thru the gut of the civet cat actually tastes wonderful. It's called Kopi Luwak - cat-poo coffee - and is highly prized, exacting exorbitantly high prices ($600/kg) which makes it about $30 for a cup of cat poo scented coffee. 
Supposedly the civet is a discerning gourmand and eats only the most perfectly matured, choicest beans which it then later excretes partially digested. Lucky workers - oh to have their job! - then collect said poo, exhibit C above, and roast the shit. This produces a coffee with an aroma that is rich and strong, incredibly full bodied and almost syrupy. It's said to be thick with a hint of chocolate that lingers on the palette long after. This would be because as the coveted poo passes out of the arse of the civet cat anal scent glands secrete a fluid with a musky odor. I'm heading up to Aceh in January and I know you'll all be jealously thinking of me as I'm sipping a steamy cup  of  anal scented cat poo coffee.

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