Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Poo Brew Review

I found out a few weeks ago that a coffee shop near my work sometimes stocks the rare and expensive Kopi Luwak. Kopi Luwak, in case you've never heard of it, is sometimes known as Civet Coffee. What makes this coffee different?

It's pooped out by a small mammal. Here's a picture of the pooper now:

Luwaks eat coffee berries at Indonesian coffee plantations, selectively choosing only the ripest berries. The coffee berries pass through the luwak, where they are partially digested. The luwak then excretes the berries, as small mammals are wont to do, wherever he feels like. Then, some fortunate soul harvests the nuggets of luwak feces. Through some esoteric process, the beans are (hopefully) cleaned, and ready to be roasted and brewed.

I convinced a few coworkers that it was essential that we try this coffee, so we cruised down to the cafe and shared a fifteen dollar cup between four of us.

The ordering process was less grandiose than I had anticipated. I was hoping there'd be a luwak hanging out on the counter and, when he heard you place your order he'd sigh, grab a newspaper, and trudge off to the toilet. Instead, the owner made a nice drip cup for us.

The coffee is very good. Maybe not fifteen dollars a cup good, but good. The (erk!) digestion process removes much of the acidity of the beans, so it's very smooth. I am in recent years a wimpy milk-in-the-coffee type of guy, but I drank this black with no ill effects on my stomach. It was rich and aromatic and, I have to say, not terribly reminiscent of jungle animal poo.

I did have a moment's doubt. I mean, there was no certificate of authenticity presented to us before we took a sip. I mean, anything could have digested the beans. A cat, a dog? The owner's infant child? But what can you do? Something ate and partially digested that stuff, and I say more power to it.

As one of my coworkers pointed out, it seems OK to eat the excreta of a cute and unfamiliar Indonesian animal. "Dog shit coffee," on the other hand, doesn't sound nearly so appealing.


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