Indonesia kopi luwak
is a rare kind of coffee that apparently goes for $30/cup in some fancy Hong Kong hotels. The secret to its reportedly fine flavor is that the beans are collected, swallowed, and crapped back out by wild civets
, small, arboreal mammals that are currently endangered. Today's Los Angeles Times tells the story of the $600/pound coffee. The article quotes Canadian food scientist Massimo Marcone, author of a new book that sounds fascinating: In Bad Taste?: The Science and Adventures Behind Food Delicacies
. From the Los Angeles Times:
In the animals' stomachs, enzymes in the gastric juices massage the beans, smoothing off the harsh edges that make coffee bitter and produce caffeine jitters. Humans then separate the greenish-brown beans from the rest of the dung, and once a thin outer layer is removed, they are ready for roasting....
Days before the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami struck, Marcone was in Indonesia's Sumatran rain forest, where he collected about 10 pounds of civet droppings laced with coffee beans. He now uses it as "the gold standard" to rate other kopi luwaks in his lab at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
Like a forensic scientist reading a bullet's markings, Marcone stares at kopi luwak under an electron microscope, searching for striations that tell him that a civet excreted it. His studies found that kopi luwak drinkers need to be careful to avoid being duped.
"About 42% of all the kopi luwaks that are presently on sale are either adulterated or complete fakes, unfortunately," he said.
Real kopi luwak has a top note of rich, dark chocolate, with secondary notes that are musty and earthy, the scientist said. An Indonesian coffee lover described the scent as the smell of moist earth after a rainfall, with hints of vanilla, that teases the palate for hours after the cup is empty.
to Los Angeles Times, Link
to buy In Bad Taste (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
Previously on BB:
• Civet cat butt coffee tastes good, say connoisseurs Link
Danish photographer Jacob Erhbahn captured metalheads mid-headbang at music festivals around Europe. The result is Headbangers, a full-color book compiling the best of these unrestrained moments of metal bliss. In this collection Ehrbahn’s camera stops time and captures the surprising and life-affirming moments when the headbangers abandon all semblance of vanity and surrender to the […]
Boing Boing is proud to welcome Robert Jackson Bennett’s The City of Blades as a sponsor! In a world where politics have run amuck and consumers must choose from over 300 varieties of toothpaste, one seemingly simple question rises to the fore: what is my next great read? Luckily for you, ladies and gentlemen, we […]
the Birds in the Sky is everything you could ask for in a debut
novel — a fresh look at science fiction’s most cherished memes,
ruthlessly shredded and lovingly reassembled.
Hackers are people too. And sometimes, they’re the good guys. The fundamentals of hacking have created an entire new level to the security industry and one that you can totally dominate with this certification training course that’s 98% off now. To know how to protect something, you have to be able to see how it’s […]
Light used to just be one of two things: on or off. Simple as that. Either a flood of yellow or total darkness. Then the dimmer switch happened and you could adjust the brightness to meet your seductive needs and suddenly everyone looked a little better in the gentler light. And now your luminary universe […]
Projects will always need management. And now with the tech gold rush it feels like there are more projects than ever with fewer managers than there’s demand for. But it takes too much time and money to go back to school full time so luckily the Project Management Professional certification training course is now 96% […]