[T]he paradoxurus [is] a tree-dwelling animal that is part of the sibet family. Long regarded by the natives as pests, they climb among the coffee trees eating only the ripest, reddest coffee cherries. Who knows who first thought of it, or how or why, but what these animals eat they must also digest and eventually excrete. Some brazen or desparate -- or simply lazy -- local gathered the beans, which come through the digestion process fairly intact, still wrapped in layers of the cherries' mucilage. The enzymes in the animals' stomachs, though, appear to add something unique to the coffee's flavor through fermentation.Link to the website where you can buy it. Oh, and BB's own Mark F. mentioned the stuff in his book "The World's Worst," and recommends it as a beverage of choice for editors. Heh. (Thanks, Ivy)
The animals mentioned as marsupials in the coffee article are known as Civet Cats ...not really cats, but certainly not marsupials.And whatever genus they be, BB reader Pauric O'Callaghan says, by purchasing catbuttcoffee you may be supporting animal cruelty. As foie gras is to geese, so is Kopi Luwak to civets:
They're part of the carnivore order and rather similar to ferrets, otters or raccoons but have their own taxonomic family.
Civet cats were at one time thought to be a vector for SARS. I'm not sure I'd want to drink something that came out of a SARS-vector's ass either.
Due to the high prices, some of the supply now comes from force-fed animals. The images shown of the solid poops consisting of nothing by coffee beans are an example of this. Traditionally natives fished through the monkey poop for individual beans. The monkey poop does fall to the ground in single solid bean rich movements.BB reader Steve adds,
FWIW, thecoffeefaq.com notes that a study "found that the beans undergo physical and chemical changes as a result of digestion.They become harder and more brittle, with an extremely finely perforated outer surface, and had a lower protein content, theoretically resulting in a less-bitter cup. Blind taste tests from professional cuppers, however, have not borne out the theory."Reader Eric Strathmeyer says,
So I guess it's really just the weirness of production, not the taste, that sells it. Also, it says that much of the kopi luwak out there is probably fake (no mention of the site you referenced).
Dave Barry wrote a column a few years back about the poop coffee: Link. He likened the paradoxurus to a weasel.omg, BREAKING! dieselsweeties creator Richard Stevens is addicted to catbuttcoffee! He says,
I have tried the Civet coffee and it is INSANE. It's a very mild, full cup if you brew it regularly. The insanity kicks in when you bring it to a good coffee shop and ask them to make you 4 shots of espresso with it. I felt wonderful for about 12 hours and woke up the next morning with a buzz.Ted Hobgood says,
Loved your post about the Cat Poo coffee. It reminded me of a story Stephen Fry told on his wonderful quiz / chat / comedy programme "QI" (for "Quite Interesting") where he related a story about how he gave "Weasel Coffee" to Prince Charles as a wedding present. Apparently, this coffee is made from beans regurgitated by weasels. So pleasant.
Weasel Coffee site: Link.
QI site: Link. (QI is my latest television addiction, btw. Well worth finding for those who love odd facts, odd humour, and plenty of references to homosexuality and Britishcisms.)
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.