Coffee lovers could call this one \'Cat Tracks\'
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
By Matt Vande BunteThe Grand Rapids Press
ROCKFORD -- As a Peace Corps worker years ago near Fiji, Dick Johnston ate killer whale, baked turtle blood and just about anything else from the sea. But never did he taste anything that came out of a cat.
He will get that chance next week when the Rockford Education Foundation serves a rare coffee roasted from beans extracted from the excrement of the Indonesian luwak, a member of the cat family that dines on coffee berries.
The luwak poo, however, has as much to do with the beverage as moose \"tracks\" have to do with the ice cream. Coffee connoisseurs say the animal -- also known as the Asian palm civet -- instinctively picks the choicest fruit and imparts flavor to the bean with its stomach acid.
The brew can go for as much as $50 per cup, but will be sold at a discount Jan. 12 during the foundation\'s annual benefit concert.
Ticket-holders for the sold-out show featuring actor Jeff Daniels can get a 5-ounce taste of Kopi Luwak (Indonesian for civet coffee) for $5. About 50 more coffee-only passes will be made available Friday for trying a $10 sample.
\"I\'ve taken the outlook you try anything once,\" said Johnston, a foundation trustee. \"Being that it\'s so rare, I\'m excited ... It\'s going to create quite a stir.\"
The coffee is being donated by Herman\'s Boy, a Rockford coffee shop whose owner bought the beans from missionary friends looking to fund their work in Indonesia.
Only 500 to 1,000 pounds of Kopi (Indonesian for coffee) Luwak enter the marketplace each year.
\"You\'re looking at over $1,000 there,\" store owner Floyd Havemeier said, showing off three 1.1-pound bags of the beans. \"I can\'t really develop a market around this because it\'s probably all I\'ll ever see in my entire life.\"
Tasters at the concert will get certificates for having \"sampled the world\'s most expensive coffee.\"
\"The animal picks only the ripest fruit. That\'s all he wants. These beans are the select beans,\" Havemeier said. \"The bean is protected as it goes through the digestive system. The acidic part of the stomach creates some unique flavors.\"