I love a cup of coffee - one might say I am a devotee or even a coffee snob. I love the ritual of grinding beans, the scent of coffee, and, as a writer who delights in burning the midnight oil, I rely on a good solid daily caffeine kick to focus my mind.
There is one type of coffee I've never tried: the infamous kopi luwak. I understand this was on Oprah a while back? You might have heard of it.
Kopi luwak is coffee that has passed through the intestinal tract of this little guy, the luwak, or palm civet, who has a wonderful latin name: paradoxurus hermaphroditus. Isn't he cute?
Richard Karno of The Novel Café in Santa Monica describes kopi luwak as "the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. It’s really good, heavy with a caramel taste, heavy body. It smells musty and junglelike green, but it roasts up real nice."
On a sad note, while kopi luwak is typically foraged in its naturally occurring Sumatran environment, the nutso craze for it has created a factory farming scenario for palm civets, which is just about the grossest and most excessive manifestation of supply-and-demand sickness I've encountered. There is apparently a cruelty-free option based on synthetic enzymes that mimic the luwak's digestive traits. (If you decide you just try this coffee, please buy it responsibly.)
On a more story-promptish note, this whole deal has me thinking about rare culinary delights; about foods that depend on a rare creature for their processing; about geese who lay golden eggs; about fountains of youth. Could be a good story in here.