For coffee lovers, plop goes the weasel
By Nury Vittachi
This is complete rubbish. Okay, so maybe chateau-made vintage wine from France is marginally more pleasing on the palate than factory-made Chinese snake bile wine.
But what if you need something to remove enamel paint from your metal-ware? The Asian product is FAR superior. I suspect the lazy French have not even considered this important application for their products.
Worse still, I was horrified to overhear an argument yesterday about whether coffee from Italy or Seattle was the best in the world. The answer, of course, is neither.
Asia is the only place on the planet producing coffee pre-pooped by weasels. Those of you who think Starbucks is the planet’s best brew should try this classic Asian drink.
Weasel poop coffee, known in Asia as kopi luwak [“coffee of the forest cat”] has been enjoyed by coffee aficionados for years in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and other parts of Asia.
The stuff only occurs when a wild weasel (in most cases, actually an Asian civet cat) goes out for lunch in the forest. Using his powerful nose, he detects the finest coffee cherries and eats them. Enzymes in his stomach break down the outer layers and mysteriously transform the flavours of the inner bean, which he poops out whole.
Coffee production staff hang out at popular weasel toilets and pick up the fresh poop to take away. (Now there’s a job you really want.) They wash it and roast it lightly so as not to spoil the flavour. They then grind it and serve it as coffee in the Asian style: strong, topped with condensed milk and served in a glass tumbler.
The bitterness-free coffee tastes delicious (but only if you mentally block out the words “weasel poop” for the whole time you’re drinking it).
The stuff is now being exported worldwide, and is officially listed as the world’s most expensive coffee. It’s been available in Australia for some time, but earlier this year it went on sale in London, at Peter Jones Brasserie (not to be confused with Peter Jones’ brassiere, which is another story), where it is called Caffe Raro and costs US$100 a cup.
I notice that several shops describe it, inaccurately, as “regurgitated by a weasel” because they think it sounds better than “pooped by a weasel”.
My reply to that: if “regurgitated by a weasel” is your strongest advertising line, boy, do you have a marketing problem.
I enjoy coffee, but I’m no addict. Are you? Use this easy checklist to tell.
You are a coffee junkie if:
1. Your coffee-grinding machine is your mouth.
2. You’re Employee of the Month at the local Starbucks and you don’t even work there.
3. You’re so wired, you pick up FM radio.
4. To jump-start a car, people just attach cables to your hands.
5. The Energizer Bunny thinks you need to calm down.
6. Your birthday is a national holiday in Columbia.
Anyway, I asked my argumentative pro-Seattle and pro-Italy friends whether coffee distributors in their countries even bothered to pass their coffee beans through the digestive tracts of wild animals. They just gave me this sort of blank look.
So much for the superiority of western beverages.