Q: What is the main source of supply of the world’s most expensive coffee?
A: Cat poop.
Now I don’t want you to think that any old alley cat’s droppings taste wonderful if steeped in hot water and served in a china cup. I’m pretty sure they don’t, although, to be honest with you, I’ve never put it to the test and never intend to.
For one thing, for the deluxe coffee you need a particular kind of a cat. They’re called palm civet cats and they grow wild in certain parts of southeast Asia. Then it’s best if you start looking for them in the vicinity of large coffee plantations, because once you have your stock of civet cats, what you want to feed them on is ripe coffee berries from the trees.
That makes the civet cats happy because they love the taste of coffee berries, and it then makes you happy because after the berries have traveled through the animal’s digestive tract the pulpy part of the berry is digested away and what is left is the hard, indigestible coffee bean, which you can sell for as much as $227 a pound.
Something else happens to the bean on its way to the litter box. The bean is fermented in the bowels of the animal with its enzymes and stomach acids. What the coffee drinker gets after it is roasted and ground is a brew that is described as “smooth, chocolaty and devoid of any bitter aftertaste.” And, oh, yes, worth a couple of hundred bucks a pound.
However, you must exercise care. Unscrupulous farmers have been caught gluing undigested coffee beans to just any old civet cat BMs, and the resulting cuppa is not said to be worth very much at all.
And — yes — here too, I think I’ll just have some tea.