Gourmet jungle cat scat coffee on sale in Hamburg shop

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16 Jan, 2009 Updated Fri 16 Jan 2009 14:34 CEST
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Perk up gourmet coffee lovers, a Hamburg coffee shop is selling beans harvested from the faeces of an Asian civet that eats ripe coffee berries and partially digests them, daily Hamburger Morgenpost reported on Friday.

The cat scat delicacy, called Kopi Luwak, is almost like “coffee out of a litter box,” the paper said.

The Asian palm civet, or luwak, is a weasel-like mammal native to Southeast Asia. It eats the local fresh coffee berries as part of its natural diet. It swallows the fruits whole, partially digests them and passes only the pit, or bean.

The beans are then harvested from the cat’s faeces, and later washed and roasted at red-hot temperatures. Enzymes in the animal’s digestive track give the beans a distinctive aroma and provide a taste that has a hint of chocolate and low acidity, experts say.

“We wanted to offer our customers something individual,” Jan Schawe, owner of the coffee shop Mutterland in Hamburg’s St. Georg district told the paper. The shop is the city’s first to serve the fragrant coffee.

“Cat coffee didn’t really sound tasty to start with but the flavour is really good,” Jacqueline Wenske told the Hamburger Morgenpost after trying the brown brew.

But Katzenkaffee is not just bizarre, it’s also hard to come by.

“It’s the complex production that makes the coffee so rare,” Sabine Schlüter, owner of Lloyd Caffee in Bremen, which offers Kopi Luwak as well, told the paper. “The coffee is collected by hand in the jungle,” the coffee expert added.

Customers don’t just have to have a slow gag reflex to consider ingesting the liquid. At €7 a cup, Kopi Luwak’s price is enough to turn the stomach. Painstakingly combing through excrement does not come without a price. The beans cost €224 per pound because only 230 to 450 kilogrammes are available on the world market each year, the paper reported.



2009/01/16 14:34

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