Do You Know Where Your Coffee Has Been?

on Monday, February 08, 2010

Do you know where your food comes from? In these times of modern transportation, we can enjoy food that comes from around the world. For example, a visit to your supermarket may avail you of bananas from South America, grapes from Australia, cheese from France, olives from Spain, oranges from South Africa and rice from India.

But let's put food aside. I want to talk to you about your coffee because, let's face it, without that cup of java in the morning many of us will not be conscious enough to eat (which is my exciting new theory of how the dinosaurs died out. First the weather grew cold and the dinosaurs gew sleepy but there just was not enough coffee to go around and so they fell asleep and starved to death.)

Do you know where your coffee comes from? If you aren't sure, go ahead and go to the kitchen and check. I'll wait.

Dum diddle do diddle dum diddle dee. Yabba dabba doo skiddooo. Ying tong iddle i po.

Oh, are you back? So, was your coffee from Columbia, Ethiopia, Zambia, Philippines or perhaps even good old Malaysia? Suckers! You are settling for second best.

After lengthy investigations and travel around the world sticking his nose where it did not belong, the Lone Grey Squirrel has found the source of the world's best and costliest coffee. This coffee is so exotic and exclusive that only about 450 kg (1000 pounds) is processed a year and it sells at up to USD 600 per pound.

Where is this coffee from? Well, it comes primarily from Indonesia, Philippines and to some extent from Vietnam. More importantly the beans that make up the coffee is excreted out of the bum of civet cats. I refer to the Kopi Luwak.

Why is this coffee the king of coffees? Well, to start with, the Asian Palm Civet is highly skilled at picking the best and ripest coffee berries which it then ingests. Then something about the enzymes in the gut of the civet cat reacts with the beans of the coffee which effectively reduces the coffee's bitterness and makes for a smoother coffee. So just to re-cap, the skill-fully picked coffee berries go in one end, the enzymes work on the beans and finally they pop out at the other end. Fortunately, these skilled workers work for next to nothing and have never unionised or else the price of this coffee could be even higher.

The Lone Grey Squirrel is then told that the poop is then collected, the semi-digested beans are taken out, washed and then lightly roasted and wallah ............the world's costliest coffee. I am told that the human workers who have to collect and wash the poop do demand a higher salary and are unionised.

Weasel Coffeee (Photo by LGS)

Now, I can practically hear some of you protesting that coffee isn't ...... well, isn't your cup of tea, so to speak. Don't worry, for the discerning tea drinker, we have found for you, "Monkey picked tea". In this case, there is no eating of the leaves and passing through the digestive system and any of that nonsense. No, this tea is special cause the monkeys are skilled at picking the youngest and tenderest leaves. Why do they do that? Well, let's just say that in the middle of the jungle, there just isn't any toilet paper. What is a civilised monkey supposed to use?

Monkey Tea (Photo by LGS)

Skilled Third World Coffee Picker and Processor

Picture has been licensed under a GFDL

LGS admits to telling the truth here and there and making up everything else. Ooops! Time for my coffee break.


Gledwood said...

Fairly Traded is so expensive. But so much better in quality.

Apparently the impoverished tribespeople save all the good stuff for the foreign FairTrade charities who pay more... which explains pretty much everything.

Know what I mean...?

geewits said...

I had heard about the poop coffee on "Frasier" I think. I went to check my "coffee" which is the Starbucks bottled mocha and it doesn't even say where the coffee comes from. It just says made from Starbucks coffee. Does that mean it comes from outer space?

Joyce's Ramblings said...

I won't be swayed away from my coffee. You almost made me think twice about drinking a cup but I know I would be wilder than the cat or monkey without my run of the mill cup. Nothing fancy-no flavored cream or sugar just black coffee gets me thru the day.

Anonymous said...

My Kaffe comes from Aldi. The queen of coffee-machines (Hungarian, Siberia proof!) presses every ounce of aroma out of any coffe-atom. No cats involved.


An excellent post and most interesting to read.
Alas Lone Grey Squirrel I don't part take in coffee.

Take care.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the walking man said...

I enjoy coffee greatly and would enjoy cat poop coffee very much but to be honest, though I usually have no hesitation at buying coffee for my friends, in this case LGS you'd have to pick up the tab.

Anonymous said...

coffee? yuck. :P

he, he.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The idea of Fair trade is to share some of the immense profits with the farmers by reducing the take of the middleman. And yes, it may actually be better tasting.

I guess that those big franchises use a combination of coffee beans from around the world which makes their quality more reliable though far from the best.

Anonymous said...

Well... here I thought this was going to be a post about Fair Trade or non-Rainforest decimating coffee and it turns out to be about poop. Nice twist!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I tried but you are obviously loyal to your coffee.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Good to know that your coffee is cat free and Siberian -proof!

There's always Monkey picked tea?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The price tag on this coffee is also outside my comfort zone. Sorry.

Cabcree, have not smelt the aroma of Malaysian coffee freshly roasting in margarine. Another unhealthy food habit from my youth.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Oh yeah, I guess I could have posted on Fairtrade........but it would have seemed preachy.

secret agent woman said...

I'll happily buy coffee from anywhere as long as its fair trade.

Becky Wolfe said...

Excellent - civet poop coffee. When I win the big one I'll have to search out a few beans :D

For now I'll stick to my medium roast fair trade stuff as my morning pick me up.

Rejoining blog land again. Life has been busy :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

secret agent woman,
You seem the adventurous type. Perhaps you will try it if it is Fair Trade.

The Squirrel has missed the Wolfe. Good to see you back. Wishing you and yours a great year ahead.

squirrelmama said...

I love the idea of coffee that has been pooped out. It's humbling, actually. But you know, LGS, I have always felt very good buying shade-grown coffee, realizing that no habitat for birds and other critters has been destroyed just so I can have my morning cuppa java. And I should confess that if you open a vein or two in my arm, you'll unleash a nice flow of liquid java bean, I'm even drinking some of it now, too close to bedtime!

Lorac said...

My Colombian is tasting particularly nice after this story. I think I will stick with it!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

i imagine you've had lots of hot java while you kept late night vigil over our injured squirrel friends. Wish I could send you some coffee in thanks.

Colombian coffee should be safe!

Kimberly said...

I try to really think about it...hoping it will make my appetite all but non existent. It never works.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Naw, you'll have to try something else to buck the coffee addiction. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Jo said...

...and finally they pop out at the other end... Don't you mean poop out the other end?

I have had coffee that tastes like sh*t (usually Starbucks), but I have never had coffee that actually was sh*t, and I think I will give it a pass.

Goodness gracious, what will they think of next? :-)

オテモヤン said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I wonder if the poop coffee really is that good or is a product of clever marketing. It may have been a case of selling ice to the Eskimos or worse, shit to the coffee drinker.

日月神教-向左使 said...


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