Monday, August 19, 2013

Civet Coffee - Our Take On This Smelly Topic

Civet coffee, aka kopi luwak

I'm often asked what my take is on the whole ALAMID COFFEE hype. To be honest, I HAVEN'T TRIED IT, for a simple reason which I will reveal at the end of this post. Today is the perfect day to discuss this topic, as I sit down on a rainy Monday morning with Philippine Coffee Guru Mr. Robert Francisco to discuss our amalgamated plans for the upcoming Asia Food Expo from September 11-14, as well as other stuff (the weather, married life, parenthood, nanny blues, coffee industry gossip, etc.).  In his award-winning book A COFFEE JOURNAL, Robert devoted a whole chapter regarding this touchy (smelly even) subject.

civet coffee shop
Photo Courtest of CIVET COFFEE SHOP
To those hiding under a rock these past few years, Alamid coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, derived from the droppings of the wild civet cat.  The process is long, tedious and thorough: The undigested beans from their poop, uhm droppings i mean are picked up from the forest floor, washed, cleaned, peeled off from their parchment, roasted, and ultimately consumed.

To quote Robert verbatim: "Some claim Alamid coffee has a distinct flavor or texture that regular coffee does not have. Well, they can always speak for themselves. I have tried and tasted Alamid coffee and I have to say that for me, it is no big wow."

Furthermore, Robert explains: "The 'exotic' nature of the Alamid coffee creates a demand from the curious, and effectively commands a very high price, causing a chain reaction among farmers, hunters, and pickers, enticing them to be as innovative (greedy) as the can possibly be. Unfortunately, there are those who have perhaps become too innovative in the trade, and the civet cats are the ones already paying for it. Of course, if supply does not meet demand, pretty sure it will be adulterated."

Case closed, thanks but not thanks! Oh, and as a final note, a wise man by the name of Fr. Louis Papilla, S.J. (my high school guidance councilor) taught me well that "A WISE DOG NEVER EATS ITS OWN DUNG!" Taking a cue from this statement, what more if a human being eats the poop of a cat??? Food for thought - pun intended!

A Coffee Journal, the book about anything and everything coffee

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