November 26, 2020

Does expensive coffee taste like cat poop?

If you love coffee then you may have heard about civet cat coffee, perhaps you have even tried it. Whether you have heard of it before or not we are here to tell you all the tiny details about it and why you shouldn’t drink it.

Civet cat coffee is coffee beans that have been eaten by a special breed of cat and then defecated. When we first heard about it we were shocked that people had to pay more for a drink that was first pooped by a cat but that is the reality. The reason is very simple before we get to that let’s discuss how it came to be.

Civet cat coffee comes from Indonesia. Poor farmers were forbidden from taking coffee beans from the harvest and faced severe penalties if they were found doing so. They were allowed to collect beans in other ways though and they started to notice that a local pest had a particular fondness for coffee beans. The civet cat which looks more like a weasel than a cat had a particular fondness for them and due to their excellent sense of smell had the ability to pick out the best coffee cherries. 

They would eat the cherries and later poop out the beans. Farmers would then collect the poop beans and make a blend of coffee from it. What they found was that the civet cat coffee actually tasted better than normal coffee. The drinker was both richer and mellower. It appeared that the coffee was not only superior because of the civet cat’s selection process but because it went through some sort of fermentation process while being digested by the civet cat.

When word started to spread about this incredible coffee it started to grow in demand. Because of the extra process involved people charged a high price for this coffee. If you wanted to buy a cup of civet coffee in a Western developed country it would cost around $100. This is because collecting wild civet cat droppings is not an easy task when required at scale.

As you can imagine in an open market when supply can’t meet demand prices either rise or a market shift occurs. People started to breed and cage civet cats to meet market demand. The caged animals are fed coffee cherries and their poop is collected for coffee. There are numerous reports on just how cruel these activities are and unless you are fully aware of where your civet cat droppings are coming from you should stop drinking it. Actually, at nearly $100 a cup you should probably stop drinking it anyway.

Today there are some sustainable and animal-friendly civet cat farms being set up that are happy to work with a more normal output of coffee beans. One Vietnamese coffee brand has now come up with an even better solution. The company worked with a team of scientists to discover exactly what was happening in the belly of the civet cat. They were able to pinpoint the exact chemical activities that were taking place and use an enzyme to recreate it. They now have a soak process for the coffee beans that results in the same rich taste. 

If you are desperate to drink some cat poop then you can likely still find some expensive civet cat coffee in a location near you. However, if you just want a rich and mellow cup of coffee then there is now a sustainable and ethical alternative option available. Are either worth the price or the hassle that goes into making them or are they just famous for the incredibly strange way they were originally produced? There is only one way to find out.