Guide, ‘It’s USD 1,100 per kg.’
Me, ‘Is it made of gold?’
Guide, ‘No, shit.’
Me, with wide eyes and shocked face, ‘Mind your language.’
Guide, ‘Ma’am, i am serious, it is made of shit.’
Me, ‘You are kidding me right?’
Guide, ‘No, i am serious, it can actually go upto USD 3000 per kg.’
Me, unbelievingly, ‘No way…… you can’t be serious, you are shitting me!’
Some time back, we visited Coorg, beautiful, serene, lush green coffee plantation, 5 hours away from Bangalore.
I travel often and in any of my visits to numerous destinations in India and abroad, i have never ever attended any hotel organised programs, such as baking, cooking, dancing, yoga, rock climbing, scuba diving, painting and many such interesting, creative programs, which the very attentive hotel staff design to keep their guests occupied. Imagine not attending yoga session at Ananda in Himalayas, not attending scuba diving sessions in Phi Phi island, not attending baking classes in Paris, not attending history tour in Italy, not attending fishing in Langkawi island. It’s blasphemy.
On the trip to Coorg, i realised i am missing out a lot by letting go off these wonderful, entertaining and educational sessions, they are specially designed keeping tourists in mind, i should benefit from them. I promised myself to attend and educate myself, starting from this very holiday.
In Coorg, on our second day we attended a guided tour around the plantation. The guide took us around the coffee plantation, describing and detailing various vegetation and taking us through the life cycle of coffee from the time they are seeds to the time they land in our cups. We wandered in the lush green bush of coffee touching, feeling and smelling aroma of coffee beans/cherries. After two hours, exhausted going up and down the the slopes, we returned to the hotel. The guide lead us to the hotel coffee workshop for coffee tasting session. It’s here, we tasted the most exotic coffee in the world, for the first time and i think for the last.
‘The coffee you are having is one of the most expensive coffee, it’s Kopi Luwak’, the guide announced with pride.
Kopi Luwak sounded exotic but nobody payed heed, everybody in the group was exhausted and all they wanted to do was to drink their coffee in peace. Nobody made any effort to know what is Kopi Luwak, that didn’t seem to demotivate the guide, he continued,
‘It is made from cat’s shit.’
I nearly choked and spilled my coffee after hearing that. The guide continued,
‘The mountain cat, Civet, eats the finest coffee berries and poops them out, our farm people collects the poop, clean, roast and grind the beans, to serve you, the world’s most exotic flavour.’
In the state of shock, i asked him, ‘So basically we are drinking cat’s poop and it is suppose to be exotic.’
‘Yes, m’am, it’s exotic and most expensive type of coffee, it originated in Indonesia in 18th century’.
I kept my coffee mug aside and made two mental notes, first, I will inform the hotel staff about this guy’s lunacy and second I will check about the exotic coffee before i inform the hotel staff.
Foreign land linkage didn’t help me much, my thoughts were in turmoil, there was hurricane in my mind, how can poop be exotic ???? Is this guy mad? so i googled and as we all know google is next to god, it has all the answers.
Eureka moment, we were actually sipping world’s finest poop!
Google for better or worse have all the answers, Palm Civet is a kind of cat that eats finest coffee cherries, the cherries goes through fermentation process during digestion in the cats intestine, while the fruit part of the cherries gets digested, the beans does not, in about one and half day the cat egest the beans in their feces, the farm people collect the beans from the poop, cleans, roasts and grinds them to make the world’s most expensive coffee.
So why is it so special??
Firstly, Palm Civet is a smart cat, she only eats the finest cherries so her poop ensures the finest quality of beans available in the region. Secondly, the fermentation process in the intestine alters the flavour of the beans, resulting in better tasting coffee. Some doubt it and some buy it at the price of gold!
I am north Indian bred, we are tea people, coffee for us is Caf’e Coffee Day, Barista and lately Starbucks and i am sure they don’t serve exotic coffee to common people, thank god for that.
Tea, i believe is less adventures, i am not too sure though, i will let you know after my visit to tea planation in Assam!