Cat-butt coffee: A critical review

Discuss

160 Responses to “Cat-butt coffee: A critical review”

  1. Phoc Yu says:

    Calling it “cat-butt coffee” is like calling my breakfast items “chicken-cloaca eggs” served alongside “cow-mammary milk”

    • nixiebunny says:

      Not quite. All eggs and milk are dispensed that way, but only cat-butt coffee beans come out of a cat butt.

    • retepslluerb says:

      And don’t forget bee-vomit.

      Also, Viverridae aren’t cats.

      • Please see the 4th paragraph. 

        • retepslluerb says:

          Yeah, I just looked to edit my comment accordingly. 

          Serves me right for reading the comments before the article.

          Small tidbit: In Geman  the animals called “Schleichkatze”, which, I guess, translates best as “tipttoing/sneaking cat”.

      • GlenBlank says:

        Depends on how you define ‘cat’.  Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged defines cat, n., as, among other things:

        1c : an animal that in appearance or behavior resembles any member of the family Felidae — usually used with a qualifying term <bearcat> <toddy cat> <polecat> <native cat>

        And note that one of the names mentioned, ‘toddy cat’, is, in fact, a common name for the Asian Palm Civet.

        So it’s a cat.  Not in the ‘member of the family Felidae’ sense of the word, but in the ‘animal that resembles a felid’ sense.

        • retepslluerb says:

          Sure. And whales and sea stars are fish, too.   :-)

          • GlenBlank says:

            [LanguageGeek]
            Interestingly (well, to me, anyway), M-WU doesn’t include a definition of ‘fish’ that would extend to whales or sea stars.

            The OED says that “popular language” sometimes uses such an  extended sense (“…extended to include various cetaceans, crustaceans, molluscs, etc.”), but notes that “popular usage now tends to approximate” the modern scientific sense, and adds a usage note that “Except in the compound shell-fish, the word is no longer commonly applied in educated use to invertebrate animals.”

            Dictionaries only record how skilled native speakers use the language, of course, but the differences between the entries for ‘cat’ and ‘fish’ suggest that ‘cat’ is commonly used in an extended sense that ‘fish’ is not.

            At least not in “educated use.” :-)
            [/LanguageGeek]

        • Pfff.  Merriam-Webster.

          • GlenBlank says:

            Oh, pfff yourself.  Nothing wrong with M-WU, and when I posted I happened to be on a different computer that didn’t have OED access.

            The OED says pretty much the same thing (cat, n.1, def. 4a)  and gives “civet cat” as an example. 

            Is that good enough, or will you sneer at any source that doesn’t support your prejudices?

        • Dewi Morgan says:

          Are m-w redefining “markup” as “mess up”, now?

          • GlenBlank says:

            Um, what?  Is there something wrong with the markup?

            (It was a PITA to preserve the angle brackets without confusing Disqus, but it looks fine from here.)

  2. Jeb Adams says:

    “Artisanally shat” is a keeper. It’s going to be tough to find places to drop that into conversation though. Anyone want to talk ab out ambergris with me?

  3. Benjamin Slade says:

    It’s really pseudo-cat-butt coffee.

    • mudpup says:

      To be cat butt coffee it would have to be brewed in a cats butt. You seem to be writing about cat butt bean coffee. Say it out loud, and you will be singing it all day.

      Cat butt bean coffee.
      Cat butt bean coffee.
      Cat butt bean coffee.
      Cat butt bean coffee

  4. Lagged2Death says:

    If you like less-”stingy” and milder, smoother coffee, cold brewing is worth investigating. I don’t know how the flavor compares to Kopi Luwak, but it’s a darn sight cheaper.

  5. wheezer says:

    Interestingly enough, a scientific study was undertaken on Kopi Luwak by Massimo Marcone, and documented in his book, which boingboing wrote about way back in 2007: http://boingboing.net/2007/07/13/expensive-coffee-fro.html .

    The scientific evidence actually proves that there is a difference in taste, because the beans are processed in being digested: the outermost layers of dirt and bacteria are effectively removed by the digestive juices of the civet.

    • Please see the 5th paragraph. 

      • flosofl says:

        Maggie, Maggie, Maggie…

        If we read your article, how could we ever post high enough in the comment chain for people to notice?

        • awjt says:

          hahah, I’m a perp too.  Sorry Maggie, we just want attention because you’re so great.  It’s true!  No facetious!

        • Melinda9 says:

          Well, the new comment format permits people to reply to the first comment or the first reply to the first comment or the second reply to the first comment, etc, etc and thus get on top.

    • I mean — you could just taste it. My girlfriend brought back a few bags of civet coffee from Vietnam (that’s the cheap way to get it, FYI) and it tastes incredible. No comparison between it and other forms of coffee — it’s different and great.

    • voiceinthedistance says:

      Outermost layers of dirt and bacteria?    Are you familiar with how coffee is grown, harvested and processed?  Perhaps you mean that natural coffee bacteria is replaced by pseudo-cat butt bacteria?

  6. strangefriend says:

    Cat Butt Coffee: striking a blow against empire since the 1800s.

  7. Nylund says:

    How much of a feat would it be to make or synthesize some of these enzymes and soak some beans in a vat rather than either raising or following around some wild psuedo-cats so you can individually pick out beans from their poop?

  8. PhosPhorious says:

    $420 a pound!?!

    My cat will shit out coffee beans for half that.  Plus, he’s a REAL cat, which I can only assume will improve the taste.

    • retepslluerb says:

      Hmmm….  But how do you get the beans inside the cat?   

      As a cat owner I find that http://volker.dnsalias.net/Jokes/txt/cat-pill is nearly accurate.

    • Rks1157 says:

      I don’t know anything about civets but my cat buries her “artisanal efforts”. I assume yours does too. That said, you’ll need to adjust your cost of production costs to cover mining expenses.

    • doggo says:

      Yes, yes. Of course you could get half of that. Your cat is probably just a common house cat. Whereas my two cats are of the royal Puptaruptapimpnaporn line, descendants of residents of the royal palace of Siam. Why, we don’t even need to include coffee beans to get $420 a pound for their butt leavings. But if we did include coffee beans…!

      Furthermore I suggest we investigate the product produced from goats feeding on coffee fruit. Isn’t the legend that “dancing goats”, goats that had et’ them some coffee fruit and where in the throes of a killer caffeine buzz, alerted nearby goatherds to the magical properties of the coffee bean?

      I believe goats could certainly increase production and lower the price of digested coffee beans.

      • eyebeam says:

         I’m pretty sure that goats would masticate the beans, making them useless for brewing.

        • PhosPhorious says:

          C’mon!  Being shit out by a cat is bad enough, who wants to drink coffee from beans that goat has. . .

          Oh, wait.  You said “masticate.”  Never mind. . .

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      My cat will shit out coffee beans for half that.  Plus, he’s a REAL cat, which I can only assume will improve the taste.

      Not one crack about a toxoplasma macchiato?  How disappointing.

  9. inchworm says:

    I have been lucky enough to have this coffee twice: once in a cafe in Saigon and then on a coffee and spice plantation on Bali. Both times, the coffee was smooth, delicious and followed by  smooth waves of caffeinated euphoria. 
    In Bali, my wife and I got to feed pieces of banana to a couple of  civets. Then we sat, ate raw cacao seed and drank civet coffee. All for a few dollars : )

  10. Wingnut says:

    Has anybody tried processing coffee beans in a solution of artificial digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to mimic the civet’s stomach action? 
    I bet Breaking Bad’s Walter White could do it!

    • YanquiFrank says:

      I think that’s more of a job for Gale actually.  Oh yeah, he’s dead.

    • gavinzac says:

      The developing world has found it easier to simply put the civets in cages and force feed them the beans.

    • privatedick says:

      Artificially processed civet coffee is fairly easy to buy, and it’s been judged to be comparable. I did a search for it just a few weeks back and could buy it for $17/lb. Google it yourself, lazybones.

  11. I’m still trying to train my cat to operate a french press. I suppose I could wrap coffee beans in a thin layer of meat and use those as the reward when he completes part of the task successfully…

  12. flowergardenslayer says:

    Thanks for trying this for the rest of us.  I always wondered about this.  I agree with your husband, totally not worth it, but still good to know there is a noticable, and nice improvement in flavor.  I think I’ll stick to my cold brewing.

  13. noot says:

    “Artisanally shat out” is my new favorite phrase and will henceforth be applied to anything coming out of my bosses mouth.

    • stephenlondon says:

      I too would like to give a shout out to the catchphrase of the day, “artisanally shat out.”  I suspect, however, noot is in danger of conflating his boss’ orifices.

  14. Those of us in the specialty coffee industry have a nickname for kopi luwak: Coffee From Assholes For Assholes.

    A pound of Panamanian Esmerelda Geisha will run you only $70 and tastes a LOT better. 

  15. John Martinez of J. Martinez & Co. in Atlanta received the 1995 Ig Nobel Prize in Nutrition for Luak Coffee.  (I was lucky enough to be at that ceremony.)
    http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/

  16. Apreche says:

    Why don’t they produce the enzymes from the psueduo cat’s gut, and treat the beans with them? Then you can manufacture a much higher volume of this stuff since actual animals won’t be involved.

    • sarah shevett says:

      Unless one puts milk in their coffee..

    • stephenlondon says:

      I too would like to give a shout out to the catchphrase of the day, “artisanally shat out.”  I suspect, however, noot is in danger of conflating his boss’ orifices.

      • stephenlondon says:

        In order to have access to a sufficient supply of pseudo cat gut to make the enterprise viable, one will have to invest in the tennis racket…

  17. paul pauline says:

    Wow, this Kopi Luwak sounds like a real catastrophe (read: cat-ass-trophy).

  18. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Not all cat ass coffees are equal.  Some are collected from the wild and some come from production facilities where captive civets are force fed the coffee fruits and become obese.  I think I read that here back last century.  In any case, at a market price of $1K/kilo for poop someone would have to try and mechanize production.

  19. Sean Grady says:

    I welcome feedback on this supposition:  I thought part of the greatness of this coffee was from how the animal selects just the ripest beans for its meal.  You could get an equivalent cup quality by paying the pickers to just get the ripest cherries.  Aren’t the enzymes destroyed and outer layers (chaff) removed in the roasting process?

  20. paul pauline says:

    When my brother first heard about this crazy-expensive cat butt bean coffee he said “Hell, I can do that!” He fed a couple handfuls of espresso beans to his Maine Coon Rufus and brewed a pot with what came out the other end. Not bad at all.

  21. Sean Grady says:

    ‘supposition’ – my mind was reaching for a pun but didn’t quite get there.

  22. Another variant on “let the critters select the beans for ripeness” is Jacu Bird coffee from Brazil.
    For a full description search for Jacu at http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.archive.new.php?country=Brazil

  23. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Man, those must be some seriously wired civets.  Imagine if a large portion of the food in your intestines was coffee beans.  I’d be climbing the walls.  Do they have a 12 step program for them when they try to kick the stuff?

  24. Finnagain says:

    And the ads write themselves. “There’s a butt in every cup!”

  25. Guest says:

    “Good to the last . . .”

    I was going to say “sphincter” but I’m sure the collective wit of the Happy Mutants can do better.

  26. Okay, as an experiment I just force fed Mr.Fluffer a handful of beans and cleaned his litter box. I will report tomorrow or the next day….

  27. Romeo Vitelli says:

    Nothing new really.  Traditionally, argan oil was extracted from the droppings of goats that climbed argan trees to eat argan fruit (yes, goats can climb trees.  I saw it myself when visited Morocco).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argan_oil

  28. Sekino says:

    Nevermind “artisanally shat out”. I’m setting out to find many excuses to say “gauche coffee”.

  29. David Roos says:

    Does it have to be a Civet gut? Cuz coffee berries are pretty tasty. Just sayin’…

  30. stuck411 says:

    Anyone here heard the term “second harvest”? No, not the nonprofit that gathers food missed by mechanized harvesting in the fields to give to food banks. I’m talking about the Native American tribes that would plant the seed they’d find undigested in their poo. Other cultures would do it too. Since learning about it, it makes it difficult to eat corn without chuckling a little. If offered a bag of this coffee I’d probably explode from laughter.

  31. pjk says:

    * Colombian. Not Columbian.

    Sorry for being annoying, I’m overly caught up in a struggle with my voice recognition software over this one.

  32. atimoshenko says:

    This post made my day.

  33. oldtaku says:

    ‘Indonesians were banned from drinking any of the coffee they worked to grow and harvest. Instead, they gathered beans from civet poop and brewed that. And they talked about how great this cat-butt coffee was. Eventually, the Dutch colonists got curious, tried it for themselves, and then pretty much took it over.’

    It’s Tom Sawyer coffee!

  34. donovan acree says:

    One thing to note: civits only eat the ripest and best berries.

  35. “psuedo-cat.”  Hmph. Civets get no respect, but at least they get the last laugh at anyone who readily and knowlingly pays such ridiculous amounts of money to drink their poo.

  36. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    One question: is this Vegan?  I know honey isn’t.

  37. Grey Devil says:

    There is also an indonesian monsoon coffee that a coffee shop i used to work at had. I forget some details but basically its specifically set out to dry during monsoon season, (and crudely explaining this) it somehow affects the bitterness of the beans. The brew ends up being mild and has a low acidic content. Awesome coffee for people who have problems with the bitterness or the impact of the acidity on their stomach.

  38. Brainspore says:

    Every time I hear about this product I think about the “labrador” blend enjoyed by Cheech & Chong in Up in Smoke. Different recreational drug, same concept.

  39. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    My turn.  “I’ll have a skinny half-caff cat ass.  To go.”
    (rimshot)

  40. Scotty A says:

    Slow unusual news day?
    I think every year since the internet was invented, this article, or one like it has circulated to the shock and amazement of fewer and fewer readers.
    It’s about time that kopi luwak coffee passed from the unusual to the ordinary.
    Heh heh… passed.

    • Brainspore says:

      This isn’t “news,” it’s a review of a product that most people have never tasted as written by a woman who recently tried it for the first time.

  41. SamSam says:

    So I’ve had this twice. Once from a comercial-looking bag like the one above, and one high in the mountains in Bali, surrounded by a spice plantation and civets.

    The first was delicious, as the article describes. Even made with our Italian Bialetti Moka pot, which would make most purists turn up their noses because it supposedly burns the coffee, the difference was amazing.

    The second time, though. Ah, the second time. In a spice plantation surrounded by cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla. Civets running around their cages. Fresh poop drying in the sun. The coffee was ritually roasted over a fire and ground by hand. The brew was made by pouring freshly-boiled water into a wooden cup.

    And it was flat-out gross.

    Yes. If you take your $450-a-pound coffee, burn it to a crisp over an open fire, grind it with a mortar and pestle, and dump it in boiling water, yes, it will taste just as bad as gas station coffee.

  42. OtherMichael says:

    The term I’ve heard is “cat-poop coffee”, as in “I’m not drinking that cat-poop coffee beer”, when a co-worker referenced my bottle of Mikeller Beer Geek Brunch Imperial Oatmeal Stout, a wholly excellent beer that is made with Kopi Luwak.

    I spent $18 on a 21oz bottle, as I doubted I’d ever taste the coffee (and, yeah, $10 for a pure cup would have been cheaper, but I’m more of a beer experimentalist than a coffee experimentalist). It was an excellent beer, but I’m sure you make a just-as-excellent-beer with a cheaper coffee.

  43. E T says:

    “Cat-butt coffee”  that just makes it sound like its been near a cat butt. It should be called  “cat shit coffee”.

  44. rhinokitty says:

    This coffee is produced at great expense to the civet.  No one scours the jungle in search of the “gems” these cats leave behind.  They are raised on farms where they are kept in squalid, third-world wire cages and fed minimal nutritious food so that they can be force fed more beans.

    It is a delicacy that should be avoided.

    • ROSSINDETROIT says:

      I’ve seen pics of extremely obese civets that were fed huge amounts of coffee fruits to ‘process’ the beans.  It’s ghastly but at the market price I’m not surprised someone’s doing it.

    • stephenlondon says:

      Erm, how do third world wire cages differ from the garden variety first world selection? Just wondering.

  45. ahtoagah says:

    When I was traveling with my wife in Sumatra a few years back we were able to find a little village near Bukittinggi which had a woman who sold kopi luwak, and of course we bought some beans. She roasted the batch for us right there, but unfortunately she roasted it too much. Still, when we brewed up some when we got home we found it was pretty good. Not ambrosia, but very good coffee, indeed.

    It was strictly a small village, even family operation. I suspect the combination of the need for manual collection and the small supply explains much of the cost.

    Of course, it’s safe. I mean, the beans are washed first, and then roasted like hell. And that’s before boiling water is poured over them to make the final brew. I doubt any nasties could survive that trip.However, I have to also say that Sumatran coffee in general is so extraordinarily good in the first place (good luck finding it any at Starbucks) that it’s difficult to sort out what would be added by the luwak.Btw, for those who are thinking of buying some, caveat emptor. They sell a version of kopi luwak in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (called chon coffee) which is, in fact, a blend of regular and “real” luwak coffee (although I sort of recall that other animals might also be involved). The price is cheaper than we found in Sumatra, but it’s not 100% the real thing. (They don’t tell you it’s not 100%, though.)

  46. beth cravens says:

    This post brought out my inner 9 year old.

  47. Ian Dahlberg says:

    Would love to read a review on Barking Deer Shit coffee next.

  48. MrEricSir says:

    I’ve tried it, although what I had may have been the fake (i.e. cheap) version. Was not something I’d drink again.

  49. Not sure how many of you were around when “Jamaican Blue Mountain” was the raved about brew & ridiculously expensive. Soon it was almost impossible to not run into ‘JBM’ in every coffee shop and A&P in America. It was so common in fact that it became obvious that none of it was actually Jamaican Blue Mountain that people were paying extra for.  How long before ‘cat-poop coffee’ is being sold by the gallon in every Starbucks?

  50. MauiJerry says:

    I’d rather have the coffee fruit processed by some local (maui) workers and turned into KonaRed http://www.konared.com/  Its not actually made from the bean in the center, so you get both great drinks…. and no cat sht

    • You may want to clarify your post. In the context of this story, “processed by some local (maui) workers” takes on a whole new meaning. I assume KonaRed is not made from the poop of Hawaiians, right? 

      • PhosPhorious says:

        You assume at your own risk.

      • MauiJerry says:

        ummm, yeah right. it is NOT made from Hawaiian poop. It is made from hawaiian coffee fruit, brewed not far from our makerspace… not far by maui standards, where 20 miles is a long drive.

        • Ipo says:

          But you do realize that Greenwell Farms is in Kealakekua, kona side of an entirely different island, 80 miles south from Makena?

          • MauiJerry says:

            As I understand it, Kona Red is made from awesome Kona coffee grown on Big Isle. The berries (or maybe w/o bean) are shipped to Maui and Kona Red is made in a greenhouse off Omaopio Rd Maui.   The Community Work Day (Maui) seedling greenhouse is on the same property.

  51. Ian Dahlberg says:

    I’m surprised no one’s mentioned making crappuccino.

  52. hostile_17 says:

    While understandably not very cheap, it still is $10. To split a cup and say it’s for a “Russian oligarch or an investment banker” I think may be slightly overplaying it!

  53. scifijazznik says:

    And you have to brew it while grooving to Journey to the Center of Cat Butt by Cat Butt.  1989, Sub Pop Records.  Get it while it’s hot.

  54. YanquiFrank says:

    Alas, the closest I’ve come to cat butt coffee, is monkey-picked tea.  But with all the shit flinging, nose picking and masturbating those monkeys must be doing I figure its gotta be close.

  55. Richard says:

    that plastic toy you are hacking (aero press) is not a good coffee maker

  56. jtmon says:

    For something cheaper yet very mild try 100% Kona. Amazon has it and if you get a bad bag the grower replaces it for free. Best coffee I’ve ever had . 

  57. Guest says:

    I’m guessing they don’t make Keurig K-cups with this coffee, then?

  58. Guest says:

    Can I do the same thing by feeding dogs coffee cherries, like maybe Chihuahuas?

  59. AncientScot says:

    It’s a civet.  Can you say, “SARS?”
    Maybe later we can all have civet pate foie gras for that extra little caffiene jolt.

  60. lewis_stoole says:

    i process my own coffee beans.  it is smooth.

  61. Jeffrey Cobia says:

    Strangely, I was at Coffee & Tea LTD yesterday (I assume that’s where you go for your coffee) in Linden Hills – I much prefer the Galapagos Bourbon coffee – another interesting historic bean (from the Bourbon tree, the only relation to the alcohol is the family they’re both named after). Also, I once had a “second cup” so to speak after another customer ordered the kopi coffee before I came into the store, and it was still delicious.

  62. John Delaney says:

    For what its worth:
    http://www.trung-nguyen-online.com/
    Trung-nguyen has developed an enzymatic industrial process to get the Kopi flavor.  Hell I love vietnamese coffee in general and if you get a cup (with sweetened condensed milk) in a restaurant its most likely to be Trung-Nguyen.  Its great coffee, even the non-enzyme stuff.

  63. Brock Blatter says:

    I always thought the civet was more of a weasel.  We’ve been calling it weasel-poop coffee.

  64. I’ll side with the Indonesian farmers on this one, thank you very much. I only drink tea anyway…

  65. Halloween_Jack says:

    In other news, all vegetables are grown in worm shit. 

  66. What I want to know is where in the Twin Cities you found this, Maggie.

  67. Do you s’pose the interested home-brewer can coerce a domestic feline to swallow a bunch of green coffee, then roast their own after kitty is done “processing”?

    Also, if one instead employed a binturong, would the resulting beans take on their distinctive buttered-popcorn aroma?

  68. pauljodi says:

    I was told in Jamaica that the best coffee was made from beans confiscated from the secret storage caches of rats. The rats selectively take only the perfectly ripe red beans (because they taste the best) and ignore the partly green ones that are usually included in the harvests gathered by human pickers.  These rat caches aren’t digested and pooped, just beans at their prime ripeness.  Maybe the good taste of the Civet crap beans have nothing to do with passing through the animal but rather are the top quality beans to start.

  69. myob1776 says:

    Danish brewer Mikkeller makes an amazing Oatmeal Stout brewed with cat-butt coffee; it’s called “Beer Geek Brunch (Weasel).”

    http://www.mikkeller.dk/index.php?beer_id=78&id=61&land=1

  70. urbanspaceman says:

    Sounds like really good shit!

  71. Damien says:

    I tried to train my sister’s pet cat to produce cat-butt coffee.
    Didn’t improve the flavour of the coffee, no matter how much I force-fed the poor animal.
    Looking on the bright side, there is no apparent difference between the normal behaviour of this cat, and caffeine-OD-induced psychosis.

  72. macpearce says:

    Hi, I’m Mac, and I’m gonna be the grumpy guy on the comments section.
    I’ve got to start with this. Please don’t associate Kopi with specialty coffee. I work in the specialty industry and by no means is cat-shit considered a fine beverage. I’ve tried it, it tastes like cat-ass. The method by which the coffee is produced is inhumane to civets, who are caged in the same fashion you see those PETA ad chickens. WITHIN the specialty coffee industry, theres this great blog, a blog that blogs about the really great stuff, the great coffee and the great processing methods that go along with the coffee. Civet doo doo is never included as an acceptable or successful processing method. I’ve attached the link to “Sprudge”, that blog that the specialty industry goes to, below. PLEASE! I beg of you! Don’t tell your readers to drink it. It’s awful! A far better coffee can be found from a local roaster. Someone who, preferably, has not shit their beans.
    I love your site. Thanks BoingBoing. 
    http://sprudge.com/say-no-to-kopi-luwak.html

  73. RJ says:

    It’s probably a real hit with the scat fetishists.

  74. guitarchitect says:

    a heads up to the people asking about a synthetic process, there is one – developed at the University of Florida, licensed by Coffee Primero. It’s their “Magic Cat” line of beans. I haven’t tried it myself but BB should update/follow-up this article with a taste-test and comparison!

    http://www.coffeeprimero.com/category/53-single-order.aspx

Leave a Reply