It may be juvenile to love civet-poop coffee on principle (without having sampled the stuff personally), but there are so many reasons to do so. For starters, the taste is reportedly beguiling. According to a recent article in the New York Times, it is "smooth, chocolaty and devoid of any bitter aftertaste." Everything bad about coffee has suddenly been stripped away by a ride through a scrappy cat's digestive tract.
Coffee beans that have been digested by civet cats belong to the category of rare, expensive and occasionally grotesque foods that are nearly more fun to read about as they are to taste, including caviar, that miracle berry that makes everything taste sweet, truffles (and the flies that lay eggs in them) and the potentially fatal blowfish.
In their natural habitat, nocturnal civets rummage through the jungle in coffee growing areas of South-East Asia in search of "the tastiest, ripest coffee cherries," reports the NYT. "The civet eventually excretes the hard, indigestible innards of the fruit—essentially, incipient coffee beans—though only after they have been fermented in the animal’s stomach acids and enzymes." Cunning entrepreneurs are starting to raise these adorable caffeine junkies, though the debate rages as to whether the stress of captivity influences the final product: briefly imagine what would happen to your stomach acid if you were confined in a cage on a coffee diet. These picky, captive civets eat only about half the beans in front of them.
Perfume aficionados may know these furry creatures from another strange use—the funky spray civets use to mark their territory, was the basis (in much diluted form) for the 'musk' scent in many bottled fragrances. What other disgusting things will come out of these animals that we can sell?
I am dying for the civet-coffee trend to take root in New York. It almost seems inevitable, given the city's mix of fetishised liquids and liquidity. And at $227 per pound, it promises to widen the eyes and race the hearts of even those who decide not to drink it.
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