Friday, January 14, 2005

Good to the Last Dropping

In response to a coffee discussion going on over at Mike Cope's blog, I am posting a newspaper column I wrote on the subject last April.

By Deana Nall

Coffee. One of the great mysteries of life.

It tastes gross, has no nutritional value and 110 million Americans must have at least a cup of it every day.

At least I understand the rage over Starbucks. If I can pay someone five bucks to dump so much stuff in my coffee that it doesn't taste like coffee anymore, I'll drink it.

But when it comes to a cup of black Colombian, I'd rather drink a Tab -- which everyone knows is the most disgusting soft drink ever.

Like many non-coffee drinkers, I am married to a coffee drinker. He got hooked on it in graduate school. For Chad's birthday a couple of years ago, I got him signed up for Gevalia, which is "gourmet" coffee you can make in your own kitchen.

Excuse me, I mean "kaffe." Gevalia coffee is spelled this way because it is a "Product of Sweden." Not only that, Gevalia "kaffe" is made "By Appointment to His Majesty the King of Sweden."

You know who the king of Sweden is? Neither do I. I think they're making it up.
Because we receive this "kaffe" in the mail every few months (from Clifton, New Jersey, by the way), and because only one person in our house drinks it, we have quite an impressive stash of it in our pantry. This is why some of you receive boxes of Gevalia from us every Christmas.

But there is a new coffee craze, and it's threatening to demote Gevalia to the level of "Taster's Choice."

"Kopi Luwak" is produced in Indonesia and sells for $300 a pound. Yes, that's $300! Starbucks suddenly looks cheap, doesn't it?

The reason Kopi Luwak is so pricey is because only 500 pounds of it can be produced each year.

Why is this? I"ll tell you. But you must finish your breakfast and coffee before reading any further. This is very important.

All done? Here's how it works: Indonesia is the home to a wild creature called the civet cat. These animals eat ripe coffee cherries, and their stomach enzymes give the coffee cherries a unique flavor, as I can only imagine.

Here's the fun part. I could get into a whole lot of biological terminology, but I'll just say the cats let nature take its course. Basically, some poor soul harvests the newly-flavored coffee beans from the cats' poop.

The coffee is then shipped to places like the US, where Kopi Luwak (which I guess means "cat poop" in Indonesian) investors know coffee-addicted adults, always in search of the ultimate coffee experience, will pay big bucks for it.

And all the Kopi Luwak people in Indonesia have to do is make sure the cats keep eating and pooping. That poor soul who has to dig through cat poop? He's getting extremely rich.

What I want to know is, why can't we do the same thing over here? Think of the lucrative business opportunities available in the excrement of the typical housecat.

All you need is a combination litter box/coffee maker, and you won't even have to do anything. Just feed Mr. Whiskers some coffee beans at night, get up the next morning and enjoy your coffee. You could sell it to your friends for a few hundred bucks a pound, and eventually buy that Hummer you've been wanting.

I think someone needs to let the King of Sweden know about this.


  • At Fri Jan 14, 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Beaner said…

    Funny article, but I don't think they're gonna find a whole lot of cat poop in Indonesia right now. Maybe that poor guy can get a job at the King of Sweeden's shop.


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