Monday, November 9, 2009

Philippines' Civet Coffee - This shit tastes good!

My wife and I enjoyed Dim Sum last week with some dear friends who later introduced us to our first cup of Civet Coffee, “one of the world’s most expensive and coveted coffees”.

It is not widely known that the Philippines produces one of the world's most expensive and coveted brands of coffee. Natives go into mountain forests to hunt for undigested coffee beans that are excreted as sausage-like clumps onto the forest floor by the Philippine Civet cat, a nocturnal jungle animal. Yes, that’s right… the droppings are coffee beans that have passed through the civet cat whole after fermenting in their stomachs. Apparently, that's what gives this coffee its unique taste and aroma.

The Philippine Civet cat belongs to the mongoose family and uses its nose to choose the ripest and sweetest coffee cherries to feast upon during coffee season. Gathered very early in the morning usually before the sun rises, local forest dwellers climb the mountains to pick the civet droppings off the jungle floors. On a good day, a coffee gatherer can collect one kilo of civet droppings. the coffee beans are washed and dried out in the sun and roasted, until the strong aroma comes out.

Literally worth its weight in gold, Civet coffee, which some coffee aficionados consider among the world's best, sells in the United States for as much as $660 a kilogram or $300 a pound. Only 250 kg are produced worldwide each year, says Antonio Reyes, Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization Certifying Agency. Reyes says the civet's digestive process, particularly enzymes in its stomach, probably gives the brew its distinctive flavor and aroma.