We like coffee. Real coffee, that is; industrially processed instant concoctions don’t count. Instant brown beverages are banned, even in our caravan. How much more difficult is it to pour hot water onto real coffee grounds than onto powder or granules? Carol is particularly fond of cappuccino and I’ve got a soft spot for espresso. So, to feed this one of our addictions, we have a half-way reasonable Gaggia coffee machine taking up counter space in the kitchen together with a Dualit grinder to keep it supplied.
Supplied with what raw material, though? Clearly to make a decent concoction one needs some decent coffee beans. “Decent” is, of course, a matter of taste but, for espressos, I seem to favour something from the Java/Sumatra region. Originally I had settled upon one of the standard stock items from Whittard’s, their Santos and Java blend. However, with the relatively recent problems experienced by Whittard’s, supplies approached impossible and I found a very pleasant alternative called Blue Sumatra at our local coffee roaster in Leighton Buzzard.
This morning my stock of Blue Sumatra was running low and I didn’t think we had enough to last the weekend. If Carol doesn’t get her cappuccinos tomorrow morning, I’m dead, so I popped into town to buy another 500g. While the nice man was weighing out my purchase, I glanced over his shelves to see if anything else looked interesting. I was somewhat taken aback when the words “civet” and “cat” leapt out at me from a rather lengthy descriptive sentence on the label of one relatively small glass jar of coffee beans. Curious! I looked closer. The coffee beans were called Kopi Luwak. I can’t remember the exact words but the descriptive sentence read something like this:
Coffee beans from Sumatra that have been passed through the digestive system of the civet cat.
Now there’s something you don’t see every day, certainly not in Leighton Buzzard. Looking even more closely, I noticed that the price printed on this small jar, £11.25 or thereabouts, was for 125g. These golden nuggets of roasted civet excrement retail for £90 per kilo. Yikes! Little wonder that the glass jar was quite small. I hope the turnover is reasonable ‘cos I wouldn’t want to pay £90 a kilo for coffee beans that had lost their essential oils. Certainly not.
A swift dive into good ol’ Wikipedia tells the story of Kopi Luwak and reveals that it is supposedly the rarest, most expensive coffee in the world – and who could wonder at it? Judging by the Wikipedia article, our price in Leighton Buzzard is a steal. Stick that in your house-blend and watch the customers come flocking in. Maybe if Whittard’s had stocked civet shit coffee they would not have suffered financial problems?
Time for Java/Sumatra fans to start saving.