A Crappy Cup of Joe

October 11, 2013

If you think these coffees taste crappy, you wouldn’t be wrong. They literally came from poop. They are coffee from feces.

coffee from fecesIn one of the most inexplicable, perplexing, and kind of gross fads of all time, the hottest thing going in the world of coffee are beans that have passed through the digestive tracts of exotic animals. Adherents claim that the premium coffee that results is better than regular coffee. Why? The animals eat only the tastiest, ripest berries from coffee plants, then digest the outer berries, allowing the beans inside pass through their stomachs unharmed, but left coated with amino acids and enzymes. The animals’ feces is collected, with the beans removed, cleaned, and roasted, then ground into a beverage that fans claim is smoother and less bitter than other coffees because of those amino acids and enzymes from an animal’s digestive tract.

The most popular berries-to-butts-to-baristas blend is kopi luwak coffee, made from beans that have passed through the digestive system of the civet, an exotic mammal native to Asia and Africa, also known as a luwak or toddy cat. In 1991 British coffee importer Tony Wild became the first European to offer coffee made from pre-digested beans. The kopi luwak became so popular in Europe that its production is being industrialized, leading to widespread mistreatment of civets. Recently, Wild launched a campaign to end the production and consumption of the special coffee.

However, there’s a less cruel poop-coffee made from the leavings of rescued elephants in a Thai wildlife sanctuary. Black Ivory Coffee is sold only at Anantara Hotels, an Asian resort chain. Not only is this coffee exclusive, it’s the most expensive in the world. A single cup costs the equivalent of $25; a kilogram of means costs more than $2,000. By comparison, a pound of kopi luwak runs a relatively reasonable $160.