Other Interesting Facts About Kopi Luwak

The civet cat is not a cat: the civet cat is actually a small, tree-dwelling marsupial mammal* which, until recently, has long been regarded only as a pest because of the animal's pesky trait of only choosing to eat the ripest, reddest coffee cherries.

Famers were hedging their losses: one can only concluded that some poor farmer tried to "recover" their crop after a particularily hungry group of civets invaded their coffee plantation. Some brave (or more likely, unknowning) soul proclaimed this coffee as a tasty caffeinated beverage.

This stuff is rare and in-demand: Japan, (not suprisingly) is the world's largest consumer of Kopi Lowak. The U.S. is second, with American coffee importers buying up 110 of the estimated 500 lbs. harvested each year.

It is hard to find, but not impossible: M.P. Mountanos (800-229-1611) of Los Angeles, is the only known U.S. importer of this coffee. They distribute through Raven's Brew Coffee out of Ketchikan, Alaska (email: ravencup@ptialaska.net, phone: 800-91-RAVEN). The last one-pound bag of 2000's crop was aledgedly sold to John Cleese, for $75.

What this stuff is supposed to taste like: several people have reported that the un-roasted beans smell very much like a zoo or a stable. Roasted and brewed like American Coffee, Kopi Luwak is reported to have a heavy, syrup-like body and a very rich musty flavor with hints of chocolate.

Another food collected using a simular method: argan oil is collected from the feces of goats in Morocco. The goats are encouraged to climb an aragan bush to eat the almond shaped fruit, the fermented fruit is collected from the animal's feces and pressed into an oil which is used for everything from cooking to massage. It is highly prized as an aphrodisiac.

*: Ereneta has informed me that the Internet is wrong (gasp!) and that the civet is not a marsupial but a mammal.