Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

October 23, 2012

Good to the last drop

By Mike Redmond
CNHI

— I'm sure coffee lovers everywhere are overjoyed to learn that the price is actually coming down on the world's most expensive coffee bean, Kopi Luwak.

That's the stuff that is otherwise known as Cat Poop Coffee, a marketing designation even more memorable than Mountain Grown. Take that, Juan Valdez.

Kopi Luwak is an Indonesian coffee that is processed, if you will, by the digestive processes of the civet, a small animal that some say looks like a cat. I think it looks more like a big rat, but if you think Cat Poop Coffee is a tough sell, imagine how difficult Rat Poop Coffee would be.

Here's how it works: The civet eats coffee cherries. It poops coffee beans. The coffee beans are collected and sold for something like $60 for four ounces, which according to the story I found on the Weird Wide Interweb Thingie, where everything is always 100 percent true, comes to about $10 a cup.

Supposedly, a trip through a civet's lower digestive tract removes a good deal of the coffee bean's acidity. This, of course, is a lot of civet hooey. Everyone knows the big deal about Kopi Luwak has nothing to do with acidity and everything to do with the fact that (a.) It came out of an animal's butt, (b.) it is insanely expensive, and (c.) some people will do anything in the name of hipness.

It isn't the taste. While there are those who say they love it, you have to figure that anytime a tragically hip person spends $240 a pound for coffee that tragically hip person is going to say he loves it, because to say otherwise would open him up to the altogether reasonable assertion that he is a First Class Moron.

Let us instead consult a food critic for The Washington Post who said Kopi Luwak tasted like Folgers. Then he went on to describe it as "petrified dinosaur droppings steeped in bathtub water."

Personally, I think he went a little over the top there. Folgers isn't THAT bad.

I grew up on Farm Coffee, boiled in a stovetop percolator until it achieved the consistency of blackstrap molasses. It was taken black, and was concentrated enough to keep you awake through both senior English AND economics. Just the memory of it makes me a little jittery.

I don't drink much coffee anymore. What coffee I do drink usually comes from Tim Horton's, which I find to be a nice, smooth blend processed in the customary fashion, which is good. Tim Horton was a hockey player and I don't think I could drink something that was made by a bunch of big guys in Canada eating coffee cherries and processing them civet-style.

Which brings up another interesting fact: Kopi Luwak is not, in fact, the grossest coffee out there.

There's Elephant Poop Coffee, which is processed along the same lines, and sells for more than a thousand bucks a pound. And there's Jacu Bird Coffee. Same thing, bird version.

And then there's the coffee made by Bill, a guy I work with, which is just nasty. It makes Farm Coffee look like weak tea. I'm not kidding. I use it to patch tires on farm wagons. Bill Coffee will put hair on your chest and scorch it off at the same time.

And come to think of it, I think he uses Folgers.

© 2012 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.