Thank goodness. What a huge relief! If you’ve spent many a morning staring into your coffee cup, sniffing at the steam escaping from its ceramic body and growing ever more anxious as you wonder if what’s inside that yummy mug is actually made out of civet poop or if it’s an inferior civet poop-knockoff, you’re in luck. A new test has been developed that can determine if that uber-expensive coffee you’re drinking is actually made out of civet poop or if it is a product of elaborate fraud.
The “gourmet” coffee, also called Kopi Luwak, which retails for up to $600 per pound, has apparently been the subject of much discussion about poop-coffee fraud. That’s right; people have been passing off coffee, sans poop, as the fancy-schmancy civet coffee which is chock full of the poo of the civet, a type of adorable mammal found in Africa and Asia that is actually a type of kitty cat.
The civet is one of the cutest animals on the planet, and its poop is very much in demand by coffee connoisseurs the world over. The civet loves to dine on coffee berries, cleaning the fruit of the ripe pulp and then pooping out the beans themselves. It is these beans that are ultimately collected and turned into your morning roast. Unfortunately, the civet poop coffee market has become rife with fraud, with unscrupulous barista-wannabes passing off regular coffee as authentic Kopi Luwak. The horror!
But now, scientists have taken time out of their busy schedules to address this most crucially important crisis of fake civet poop coffee by developing a test than can read the “unique fingerprint” in the coffee. But there may be a few drawbacks. Researcher Stanley Segall says “It’s the first study of this type, and it’s not clear to me that they were really rigorous in terms of sample selection.” Scientists conducted the study by examining the “metabolic fingerprint” the beans.
Before getting too grossed out by coffee made out of the poop of civets, do keep in mind that the roasting process the beans pass through is supposed to kill any harmful bacteria. According to scientists, the civet coffee actually has fewer bacteria strains than regular coffee. Maybe that’s because kitty cats are always giving themselves baths? (We jest, because really, it’s difficult to remain totally serious when discussing coffee made from kitty cat poo.)
International Coffee Consulting President Rocky Rhodes says he thinks the coffee is cleaner because “If anything, I would say it would be less risky coffee health-wise, because I don’t think the civet is going to consume anything that smells like bad fertilizer when it has lots of cherries to choose from.”
Uh… ok (?) So the civet poop coffee is “clean,” but what does it taste like? Well, civet coffee experts say it’s less bitter and more smooth than traditional coffee because the beans pass through the civet’s digestive system, which breaks down acids and imparts the beans with a totally unique flavor profile.
So, no longer shall you fret endlessly about the authenticity of your Kopi Luwak. Suddenly, with a new test designed to verify the authenticity of civet poop coffee, the whole world seems just a little brighter. Major world crisis solved? Check. Score one for the scientists.
By: Rebecca Savasio