December 8, 2012

Really Crappy Coffee

There are certain things in life that tickle our fancy, make us look at the world with new eyes and create within us a renewed sense of worth. In other words, it’s easy to become a fan.

Fandom in and of itself is never a bad thing. These things we love can become a new lens in which to find beauty and joy in the world. However, (and there’s always a “However”) when we become ardent and fervent fans of whatever “it” is— Music, literature, food— we run the risk of annoying those closest to us and even making some dumb, seemingly foolish mistakes in order to exercise our fandom.

Take Coffee Drinkers, for instance.

Simple coffee drinkers in and of themselves are fine and normally not a bother to the rest of the world.

“Coffee Drinkers,” on the other hand, have their own, fussy way to prepare coffee. They will only buy from a select, artisanal roaster, will only brew this dark elixir with fresh, spring water, and have turned the process of making coffee into a ritual. They have shrines built to the Goddess Coffee on their countertops, each element set just so, ready for the next time of worship. Coffee Drinkers are always looking for the next best cup, all too willing to point out the “fruity” notes and have a hatred for anything commercial.

Coffee Drinkers may even be willing to pay (pardon the French) out the arse for their next fix.

There’s long been a story about the origins of a certain kind of coffee bean that sounds like something straight from the Library of Urban Mythology.

As the story holds, a small, feline-like creature known as the Asian Palm Civet wanders the jungle floors of Southeast Asia, eating the red coffee berries which contain the actual coffee bean.

Something magical takes place inside the Civet’s innards and “chemically” processes the bean. Dutiful workers follow these animals around and wait for the bean to “pass,” then scoop it up, give it a good wash, a light roast, and it’s ready to be ground and enjoyed.

While this brand of coffee has existed for many years, one man decided to take the idea and give it a fresh spin, using a much larger production animal.

Blake Dinkin, a Canadian, has been spending his time in Northern Thailand, perfecting a recipe that involves feeding red cherry coffee beans to elephants. Just as it happens with the Civet, the elephant processes the coffee before passing the bean, which is then collected by workers.

With such a fickle production and small quantities, it only makes sense that a cup of this brew would fetch a high price for those willing to try it, of course.

Supply is also limited, meaning only a few luxury hotels in select parts of the world, such as Thailand and Abu Dhabi, offer the coffee, which fetches around $50 per cup.

Dinkin also notes that the Elephant’s diet also affects the overall flavor of the coffee. With a diet of bananas, sugar cane and more, these flavors are all imparted onto the coffee bean, which those ardent enough to try it would likely point out with a single pinky finger extended.

For all the money Dinkin has spent to refine this process, he still talks as if he’s operating on pure gut instincts about how this system works.

“My theory is that a natural fermentation process takes place in the elephant’s gut. That fermentation imparts flavors you wouldn’t get from other coffees,” explained Dinkin, according to the Daily Mail.

This Elephant brew might make for decent coffee. It’s also likely anyone who drinks it will be mocked and/or ostracized for paying $50 to imbibe the intestinal juices of a jungle animal.

No matter how good the coffee might taste, it’s likely one will never forget exactly where it came from.

Image Credit: Dennis Cox / Shutterstock

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