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Is the world's best coffee made from animal excrement?

Brian S Jan 5, 2007 03:32 PM

When one of my friends told me this, I was sure it was a hoax. But I went to the Forbes website and did a search and apparently it's true. http://www.forbes.com/wineandfood/200... It's called kopi luwak and it is made from coffee beans eaten by an animal related to the civet, then collected from the jungle floor after passing through its digestive tract. Perhaps not the best coffee, but the most expensive. The article also lists other pricy coffees. Has anyone here tried it? I think it made a cameo appearance on an "obscure foods" thread a while back. (And what about those other expensive coffees? Anyone tried them? I once bought one bean of Blue Mountain and chewed it, just to say I'd tried it.)

  1. MMRuth Jan 5, 2007 03:33 PM

    I've not tried this, but we were discussing this very subject over the holidays - my mother had heard of it. I'll try to find the name of what she found as "the" most expensive coffee - she loves Blue Mountain but has rarely had it. I think the most expensive may have been Hawaiian.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth
      h
      HenryT Jan 6, 2007 02:06 AM

      Beware of Blue Mountain claims. I've heard that four times as much "Blue Mountain" is sold in North American than is grown in Jamaica. And 80% of the Jamaican crop is under contract to Japan. Know your supplier for that kind of thing.

    2. thegolferbitch Jan 5, 2007 04:09 PM

      It was also featured on a CSI episode (not in a bad way; the cast was drinking it and giving props), but I've not tried it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: thegolferbitch
        a
        annimal Jan 5, 2007 07:30 PM

        That episode is the only reason I know about this stuff.

      2. CindyJ Jan 5, 2007 04:14 PM

        ...and it's harvested HOW??????

        1. carswell Jan 5, 2007 04:22 PM

          Hand-harvested from the feces of palm civets. Most comes from Indonesia. Have never tired it but people I know who have were underwhelmed.

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: carswell
            m
            mclaugh Jan 6, 2007 12:37 AM

            Never tried it either, but I've heard it tastes like crap. ;-)

          2. d
            djohnson22 Jan 5, 2007 04:30 PM

            Yes, I've had the Kopi Luwack. is it worth $200/pound? No, not really. I found it a bit on the grassy side (no direct pun intended). The price, I believe, is pretty much completely dictated by the fact that it can only be harvested by intense manual labor, and in fairly small amount. But, if you get a bunch of coffee-loving friends together and all chip in on the cost of a half pound (more or less, depending on how many people you have, and how many pots of it you wish to brew), it makes for a fun and memorable evening.

            Jamaica Blue Mountain is ok, but I think it has been riding on its laurels for a long time now so probably is no longer worth the $40/pound that it commands (and probably hasn't for about the last 10 years).

            1. jayt90 Jan 5, 2007 04:39 PM

              I really enjoy the Jamaican Blue Mountain 'blend' that I get every spring at Costco, $6/lb. I shrink wraP a few pounds and it usually lasts until December. The coffee geeks laugh at this, but refuse to try it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jayt90
                MMRuth Jan 5, 2007 04:41 PM

                Interesting - does the "blend" mean that the coffee is part Jamaica Blue Mountain and part something else ... how does it compare to the "real" thing ... Mom loves it so this might be an alternative. TIA

                1. re: jayt90
                  p
                  Panini Guy Jan 9, 2008 03:45 PM

                  I haven't had the Costco JBM blend, but I'd be dubious that there's more than 1% true JBM in that blend if it's going for $6/lb. That's an msrp near what most commodity beans are resold for after roasting. The cost of commodity beans like what you'd find in Eight O'Clock coffee is at or under ~$1.30. The cost of true JBM green is generally 20x that or more. So $6/lb would be out of the question if there was any significant amount of JBM. I'd be surprised if Magnum is promoting it that way. If they are, that changes my opinion of their operation. Have to think Costco is the one making this stuff up.

                  For those who really do enjoy true JBM, probably the closest you can get to it at a reasonable price is bying a good Papua New Guinea from Intelligentsia or Stumptown or similar quality roasters. Many PNG coffees are from plants that grew from the seedlings of JBM that were brought to New Guinea awhile back.

                2. jayt90 Jan 5, 2007 04:51 PM

                  No, the bag says it all Jamaican, so some beans will be from lower slopes. The source is Magnum, in MI, and it may be on their website.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jayt90
                    MMRuth Jan 5, 2007 04:53 PM

                    Thanks for the information - I'll check it out.

                  2. h
                    HenryT Jan 6, 2007 02:08 AM

                    Dave Barry wrote a memorable piece on this. Quotable quote "what kind of world is it where I'm worried I might be ripped off by being sold coffee that was not pooped out by a weasel?"

                    1. r
                      RiJaAr Jan 7, 2007 01:27 AM

                      eeew, its true? My friend told me that a long time ago, i thought she was kidding!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: RiJaAr
                        Harp00n Jan 7, 2007 08:02 PM

                        As my Irish Grandmother used to say: "You've a dark brown taste in your mouth!"

                        (I swear,true story)

                      2. b
                        b0ardkn0t Jan 7, 2008 03:55 PM

                        Yes, I heard about this coffee a while back, never tried.
                        Apparently, the civets eat the coffee berries and enzymes in their digestive tract, make the coffee beans edible by humans(cleaned and roasted of course). The bean goes right through them.

                        1. w
                          writesonwater Jan 7, 2008 11:27 PM

                          When I was a kid, I used to read westerns and assumed that since the settlers on the wagon trail went to gather buffalo chips to make coffee, that they made coffee with percolated buffalo chips.Apparently, they use the dried dung for firewood. Yum, that fresh aroma ...

                          1. m
                            mpalmer6c Jan 8, 2008 10:55 PM

                            Nice story, to wow the tourists. BTW, don't waste your money on Jamaica Blue Mountain or Kona coffee, either.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: mpalmer6c
                              Akitist Jan 9, 2008 12:54 PM

                              Some folks just like to overspend. OTOH, compare even 40 bucks a pound on what Starbucks charges for brewed coffee.

                              1. re: Akitist
                                r
                                Rick Jan 9, 2008 04:03 PM

                                I agree with PaniniGuy, the Papua New Guinea I had recently tasted a lot like Jamaican Blue Mountain at a fraction of the cost.

                            2. fruglescot Jan 18, 2008 07:24 AM

                              I saw the movie "The BUCKET LIST" recently and the Jack Nicholson character had a passion for kopi luwak which he brewed in something called a siphant ?(sp) I believe.
                              He was infatuated with it and was always pushing it on others or under their noses to inhale. It was stated that the beans+ came from Sumatra.
                              I don't know if I'd like the brew, however, the movie was very memorable and I highly recommend it.

                              NOTE: at the :30 sec mark you can view the 'siphant' used for brewing the kopi luwak, in the backround.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: fruglescot
                                p
                                Panini Guy Jan 18, 2008 09:24 AM

                                Didn't see the movie yet, but guessing that "siphant" = siphon (a.k.a. vacuum brewer/vac pot).

                              2. p
                                pupster911 Jan 18, 2008 02:24 PM

                                I bought real and fake kopi luwak in Vietnam. Hands down the best coffee I've ever tried. Better than the Clover machine coffee, better then the JBM. The real stuff isn't worth the price considering the fake tastes so good (it's not pooped out by civits, they reproduce the digestive process in a laboratory) and is soooo much cheaper. If anyone knows where to buy the fake kopi luwak, PLEASE post it here - I've ben searching for this for weeks.

                                1. DockPotato Jan 19, 2008 12:13 PM

                                  Never mind all this hedging and circling - let's jab the nub. What does this "weasle's" stock taste like?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: DockPotato
                                    fruglescot Jan 20, 2008 07:40 AM

                                    Is it really possible to accurately describe a taste?

                                  2. Snackish Jan 19, 2008 04:38 PM

                                    I read stories about this all the time. I think it must be a perennial slow news day filler item.

                                    1. j
                                      jfish Jan 20, 2008 08:12 AM

                                      A local small scale roaster here in Baltimore recently had a kopi luwak tasting for $10 per head. I found the coffee very smooth and a little musty. I'm not much a flavor describer but I liked it. Worth a $10 taste but i could have lived without it.

                                      1. Pylon Jan 20, 2008 08:36 AM

                                        I don't care how good it might taste, or how much it costs. I'd rather drink Starbucks than poopy-joe. Old Starbucks. In a dirty cup.

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