Sunday, March 04, 2007

a different cuppa java

Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee. Luwak is the Indonesian word for the Civet cat. What's interesting is when these two words are combined to form a rare, very expensive & exclusive gourmet coffee that's making it's way into the world. Adverts for this coffee runs along the lines of 'From Cat to Cup' or 'The Purr-fect Cup'. But all play on words aside, why would an animal be associated with coffee?

There's a Thai restaurant in town & while I was lunching there last week with Newt & his colleagues, they directed my attention to a menu placard that was on our table advertising Kopi Luwak - a rare coffee with only 300 kgs produced annually. It also featured a picture of the tree hugging Luwak & went on to state that this was the animal responsible for contributing to the uniqueness of this coffee bean. But the explanation went no further as to the how - so customers were left to their own devices of whether they wanted to venture into the realm of this new coffee. So what if someone went ahead & treated themselves to one & found out about the inner makings of this coffee later. I bet they'd be upset. I know I'd be and here's why....

The Luwak's favourite food is the coffee cherry which it ingests, bean and all. Apparently it's the enzymes in the Luwak's digestive system that are absorbed by the coffee bean giving it its distinct flavour. Once the process is completed, the bean is excreted, the only way it can naturally, it's then collected by farmers. Once cleaned of the Luwak's feces (you see where I'm going with this), the bean is then roasted & ground for all you gourmet coffee lovers to enjoy. Are you kidding me?
If it's going to come out of an animal's something, it should be priced next to nothing. Either that or someone's got to make this animal work overtime to make the laws of supply & demand work in our favour. Needless to say, I am no coffee drinker, but if I were, I'd certainly not want my coffee that way. The bean could be bleached for all I care, it still wouldn't make me change my mind. And I care not for how exclusive its taste is.

The restaurant didn't bother to disclose further facts on how the Luwak was completely involved in the process of this coffee bean. Oh wait, I know why. Perhaps that mere fact would be a deterrent to customers actually trying out this expensive cup. It would make people's imaginations start to wander. Hmm what is that unique taste they may ask. Or the thought that they hope those beans were cleaned down really good. Just you wait - some big shot is going to try out this coffee, find out the hows & whys later & waltz in to sue their pants off. But then again I've heard you can't really sue anyone here in Bermuda.


richard said...

I asked my office mates about this, and i think theres a european and canadian cultural divide. As a limey i see nothing wrong with this type of coffee and have drunk it and offered it to guests without even thinking about it. in contrast all the canadians freaked out, apprently disgusted because the coffee bean had passed through an animals bottom. I would think a big mac thats made from animals bottoms much worse.

Ms. Cute Pants said...

Very funny Richard. I haven't asked any of my fellow Canucks about this 'grade' of coffee, yet. But while I don't do MacDonald's, there's a vast difference between consuming an animal's rump than consuming something that's passed through its rump. We're talking beans mixed with feces. Perhaps, this is why all the Canucks were freaked out & with good reason.