Sep 03 2013

Waiter! This Coffee Doesn’t Taste Like Shit!

I grind my coffee fresh each day,
A hearty, fragrant scoop
With hints of citric acid, and
A note of civet poop
But with the market full of fakes
I might just have to quit…
I mean, who wants a cup of joe
That doesn’t taste like shit?

Via NPR, the latest on Civet Cat Poop Coffee.

The beans are literally harvested from the feces of the tree-dwelling civet cat in Indonesia. The idea is that a trip through the animal’s digestive tract partially ferments the beans and imparts a much-sought-after flavor to the coffee.

The exotic processing makes the coffee, called Kopi Luwak, exceptionally rare — and expensive: Think $600 per pound. And thus, experts suspect that much of what’s sold as civet coffee on the market is actually either fake or made from low-grade beans.

And worth every penny. Think about it–the only possible reason to buy a cup is conspicuous consumption–showing off–and even more than dusty wine and stinky cigars, nothing says “I’ve got money to burn” more appropriately than paying outrageous sums for a cup of literal shit.

But the story is actually pretty cool. Actually, a lot of coffee chemistry and psychophysics is pretty cool. And the picture of the coffee-bean civet cat shit is classic (the living conditions of the animals, considerably less cool). And while I’d be willing to be part of a blind taste test to evaluate the extravagant claims, there is no way I’d pay for the privilege. Anyone who has seen my wardrobe knows, I am not one for conspicuous consumption.


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  1. 1

    Forget the coffee, brewery de Molen makes an imperial stout with these beans. I’ve had it multiple times, and it’s amazing ;)

  2. 2
    N. Nescio

    What’s wrong with a nice cigar?

  3. 3

    Dunno–I’ve never seen one.

  4. 4

    @cuttlefish: that could be because cuban cigars are illegal in the US.

  5. 5

    You should also try the Brazilian bird shit (Jacu) and possum spit coffee beans:

  6. 6
    Argle Bargle

    A connoisseur of tea hears that the best tea in the world is served in a tea shop in Mercy, New South Wales, Australia. He flies to Oz, goes to Mercy, finds the shop and is served a cup. It is amazingly good tea. As he’s finishing the cup he notices some hairs in the bottom of the up. He calls the waitress over and asks about the hair. The waitress says: “The secret of our tea is we steep the leaves with fur from koala bears.”

    The connoisseur says: “Why don’t you strain the hairs out of the tea?’

    The waitress replies: “The koala tea of Mercy is not strained.”

    I’ll get my coat.

  7. 7

    *sustained applause, with low groan*

  8. 8


    Who in the world saw a pile of cat shit and thought, “Hey, let’s brew that up and see what it tastes like!”? Seriously, how in the world did this even start….

  9. 9

    unbound – Cheech and Chong pioneered that thought with a different vegetable product…….

  10. 10

    Dunno, most of the problems with this is gross factor – the shit is washed off the coffee so you don’t taste it. But then if people are fine chomping on furry animal flesh, eating, displaying and giving each other plant genitals, wrapping meat-products in animal stomache and gut, or eating just about every single part of the insides of almost everything while considering baby creatures delicacies, not to mention casually wearing other animals skins.. I’m no vegetarian myself, but I don’t see anything particularly gross about civet poop coffee.

    The only thing this makes me wonder about, is whether or not there are scat-fetishists who enjoy this coffee unwashed..

  11. 11
    Pliny the in Between

    It probably began, like many bad ideas, when two drunk guys looked at each other and said,”You know what would be funny…”

  12. 12
    A Hermit

    The story is that the Dutch colonial powers forbade the growing of coffee off their plantations; for the Indonesians to have coffee themselves they had to harvest it from the Civet Cats.


    I think the repackaging of this as a luxury item is a kind of Indonesian revenge…

  13. 13
    Jenora Feuer

    @Argle Bargle:
    I heard Rolf Harris do that one on stage over thirty years ago.

  14. 14
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Prefer a good cuppa (tea) personally.

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