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Despite This we stay- September 17, 2009

No Kopi Luwak Coffee

by Carol Dunn

    It lacks bitterness.  It has exceptional aroma and unique high notes, with elusive and highly pleasing tastes.  It is Kopi Luwak, a very very special coffee product from Indonesia, and it is the most expensive coffee in the world.  Alas, the true gourmet cannot buy Kopi Luwak coffee in Huerfano County.  Which is probably just as well, since it sells for $100 – $600 per pound, and a single cup can cost $50.

    What makes it so special?  Kopi Luwak is also referred to as Civet Coffee or Weasel Coffee.  This is because the undigested coffee beans are scrounged from the poop of the Civet cat.  Let me ask, whose bright idea was this?  Were local villagers so desperate for a cup of joe one day that they knocked around in Civet dung until they scrounged up enough berries to brew up a cup?  “Oh look, here’s some beans in this pile of cat poop.  Let’s use these!” Did they draw straws to see who would taste it first?  It’s pretty easy to guess why these guys needed coffee so badly – they were drunk.

    I saw a picture of a man holding a handful of these “passed through” coffee beans BEFORE THEY WERE CLEANED.  Ok, maybe I’m just a little bit squeamish, but give me Juan Valdez and his little coffee-toting donkey any day.  That’s as close as I want an animal to interact with my coffee beans.  Coffee is already an acquired taste, without the foreknowledge that the beans have passed through the intestines and out through the “out hole” of a wild jungle animal.  And before anyone writes to the editor to say how wonderful coffee tastes, let’s offer some to a five-year-old kid alongside a glass of Kool-aid.  What’s the kid gonna drink?  So coffee is indeed an acquired taste.  Does anyone start drinking coffee because of the taste anyway?  No, we all started in high school or college because we needed the caffeine and No-Doz was more expensive.  Plus, drinking coffee was a rite of passage that made us feel grown up.

    Maybe drinking Kopi Luwak coffee is the next step on the ladder to feeling grown up – then you’re REALLY grown up.  I guess I’m just happy being a little less worldly, drinking La Veta Main Vein and feeling almost grown up.