No butts about it, coffee choices are getting really weird

image As some of you may remember, I made a New Year’s resolution to quit drinking coffee back in January. Though I gave what I feel was a strong effort, my love of coffee eventually won out following the most challenging four hours of my life. So instead of denying myself the pleasure I decided to fully embrace my coffee!

Unless I’m driving.

In fact, I wanted to take it a step further by expanding my caffeinated horizons and exploring what the world of coffee has to offer!

As it turns out, this was a huge mistake.

Elephant sized, actually. But we’ll get to that.

Many of you probably already know about a coffee that is harvested from the droppings of civet cats called Kopi Luwak — which, loosely translated, means “Butt Coffee.”

OK., I made that part up. It actually means “coffee” (Kopi) “weasel” (Luwak), which isn’t much better — and a name advertising agencies didn’t rush to represent.

Although I think my slogan Good to the last dropping had potential.

For those of you who were unaware of civet coffee until now and who are, at this moment, rushing to the sink to spit out that off-brand you grabbed from the bulk food section, don’t worry! Chances are you couldn’t afford this marsupial-enhanced brew, which averages $200 per pound.

Now that you have spit out your coffee for a second time, I’ll give you a brief history of Kopi Luwak so you can fully appreciate something even worse. Let’s start with a little history.

Bean growers on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi have long regarded civet cats as pests because of their propensity to climb coffee bean trees, eat only the choicest berries, and talk incessantly about their stock portfolios while emitting a shrill sound similar to an espresso machine. However, at some point, someone suffering from the biggest case of caffeine addiction in the history of man decided he was desperate enough to “harvest” the civet droppings as a way to get his coffee fix. Though the trail leading to the identity of this “pioneer” is not complete, coffee genealogists have determined that it was someone visiting from the Seattle area.

You’d think getting folks to buy something that, as its biggest selling point, can boast of being pre-digested by a skunk-like animal would be a tall order, especially when you consider the USDA allows a certain amount of “foreign matter” in processed meats and canned goods.

What kind of standards are kept on a product that begins as “foreign matter” in the first place?

Regardless, from those humble beginnings came Kopi Luwak, and the inspiration for Canadian investor Blake Dinkin’s, uh… “elephant-cured” Black Ivory Coffee. Like its predecessor, Black Ivory coffee beans are harvested from droppings — in this case, those left behind by elephants that have consumed coffee beans and sugar cane. Throw in some creamer and who knows? Producers might be able to streamline the process and simply hand out demi-tasse cups at the source?

However, at a cost of $50 per cup — or $550 per pound — Black Ivory Coffee is only available at a select few luxury hotels within the Golden Triangle of Asia, where the coffee is produced. My guess is probably each morning.

According to 31-year-old Ryan Nelson, who tried the coffee while visiting Thailand from Tampa, Fla., “There’s definitely something wild about it that I can’t put a name on.”

How about crappuccino?

Sadly, it’s only a matter of time before someone comes up with an even more unique “flavor profile” process demanding an even higher price, such as feeding Arabica berries to gazelles, who are then eaten by lions, whose droppings are carefully harvested for beans by hand. And “by hand” meaning separating beans from the hands of harvesters who weren’t quite fast enough.

I honestly don’t know what direction the future of coffee will take. What I DO know is the potential market that could open up for us here in the Northwest, where pre-digested black berry jam left by bears can be found in abundance along most logging roads in the spring.

For anyone interested in pursuing this venture, I wish you the best. As for me, I’m content in just bringing you the straight poop.



(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

88 thoughts on “No butts about it, coffee choices are getting really weird”

  1. HAhaaa!! “Crappucino” sounds perfect!

    I am so curious about that desperate individual who decided to rifle through civet cat droppings to get his ( or maybe it was a her?) coffee fix. I thought I was bad…. 😀

    1. I’d like to think, if it had been me, I would’ve stopped at some point while separating “chaff from the wheat” and said to myself, “What am I DOING?!!”

  2. I’d be more than happy to swallow whole coffee beans if I could then sell my sh……

    And then I could even write more interesting posts and get more followers, who could read them while drinking their morning coffee. Win-win for everyone.

  3. Why did you ever consider giving up coffee? It’s a huge anti-oxidant and prevents all kinds of diseases including endometrial cancer, if you have a uterus.
    I’m avoiding the elephant poo coffee and will stick to our favorite organic brand from Costco, Rainforest Blend. It’s probably blended with sloth poo…

  4. I’ve been wanting to give up coffee for tea, but just can’t seem to do it. The first cup of coffee in the morning is so warm and soothing! No thanks to animal poo coffee, I’ll stick to the Italian brand that I love.

  5. “Good to the last dropping?” Ha! 🙂

    Unbelieveable what some people will do or try – I once knew someone who started sponning her dog’s hair to make yarn. She was planning to make a sweater. I lost contact with her after I learned about that one. 😉

  6. LOL, good grief! I just want a simple cup of coffee. None of this organic free trade skinny latte stuff, made with milk hand massaged out of a cow by the farmers virgin daughters, with beans that have been cultivated in some animal’s intestinal track. The world is just starting to get a bit too weird for me.

  7. I learned of the coffee for which you write about through the movie “The Bucket List” Have you seen that? It’s an awesome movie, so funny!

    Oh and Ewww, I think I’ll stick to my Keurig coffee.

    1. Imagine how confusing it will be when beans pre-digested by calves becomes available at Starbucks.

      “I’ll have a skinny decalf”
      “Is that decaffeinated or de-calfinated?”

  8. Coffee is somewhat disgusting to me in the first place – unless it’s loaded down with cream and sugar – and maybe some chocolate syrup and ice cubes. Even then, you couldn’t get me to try excrement coffee!

    1. I’m the same way, Maddie! Lots of cream and suger until it’s essentially a liquid Coffee Nip. And I don’t care how much cream and sugar I added, butt coffee is still butt coffee.

  9. This made my day. I thought I had heard everything after the perfume whale vomit expose. How much essence of the civet cat preference for fresh crawfish makes it into the “bum bean?”

  10. Oh darn. All the good coffee puns are already taken in the comments. Well that’s a brewed awakening for me — I guess that’s one of the perks of getting to your popular blog early, Ned.

          1. Grrrr, and now I have another typo in your comments section too, which makes me crazy. What would it take to nudge you into changing “sat” to “say?”

            “Ned? Ned, Ned… This is your conscious talking. Give the poor girl a break. She’ll never have what you have, an award winning hilarious blog–At least give her some OCD relief. Then tomorrow you can one-up her some more.”

  11. Imagine the larger cities having snobbish “poop-coffee” tasting bars, where the coffee beans have been “filtered” through down-on-their-luck folks: “Mmm, this one has a vague hint of ‘Night Train’ in it.” Yes, I know that’s wrong on several levels.

  12. The church I go to bought this coffee one weekend and passed the beans out to each person as they entered the church auditorium for weekend services. Several thousand people attend our church services every weekend. I don’t remember what the sermon was about or the purpose of passing the beans (out), but I do remember sitting in that service with the bean in my hand, chewing on it and wondering why they spent church money on stuff like that.

    Then the pastor told the story of where the coffee came from.

  13. I want to say something clever….but(t) I just can’t get that image (up there, with the elephant poo landing in a bowl) outta my head! What the what? Coffee? Poop coffee? *head is spinning*

  14. Anyone who has watched the Bucket List knows all about that cat poop coffee… but it is something I’d like to know… I mean who was the first person who thought that was a good idea… who went out digging through their poop and said this looks like something I’d like to drink… I worry about that person…

  15. Oh my gosh! I lived in Malaysia so I know the word kopi too well. But as crappacino? Ew! I laughed loud and clear for only myself at your pioneer reference. That is really needing some coffee, and decidedly NOT vegan (which surely are most of Seattle pioneers). Thanks for the laugh this morning. I can always count on you for that. 😀

      1. Possibly! If there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, however that’s where I’m headed. Vegan zombies sound much better than Texan zombies. With shotguns.

        1. True! Haha! The scariest thing abour Seattle vegan zombies is that they’ll be hopped up on caffeine. Come to think of it, that’s not much different than Seattle now…

  16. For the open minded and brave and perhaps for those who also like to support street rescued elephants here is my link to actually try Black Ivory Coffee.!purchase-black-ivory-coffee/cyre

    and just in case you are wondering, yes elephants eat coffee naturally in the wild and no there isn’t any poop on the coffee. If you are OK eating mushrooms, eggs, honey (bee’s vomit) or even cheese I think you will enjoy this.

    Taste is subjective so I think it is pretentious and wrong to call something the best. However I can say it is perhaps the rarest coffee in the world and in terms of taste the average Joe/Jane if blind folded will be able to smell and taste the difference. In my opinion and top chefs have also stated that the aroma has notes of chocolate, earth and a certain jungle vegetative scent (not poo). The taste can be described as dark chocolate, malt, hint of grass, spice and it is very delicate almost tea-like. I can promise it will not be burnt or bitter like regular coffee too.

    In short, jokes are always welcome. But if you are looking for a very unusual culinary experience not to mention a great story to share with your friends, here is your chance. 🙂

    Thanks for reading.

    1. Blake, I truly appreciate you stopping in and offering your perspective and insight into what you do, as well as the merits of Black Ivory Coffee. That said, I voiced my dislike of fruitcake several years back and was eventually forced to eat my words after someone actually sent me their homemade fruticake — which was quite delicious. Who knows, this time I may be drinking my words instead.

      All kidding aside, your points about eating mushrooms (fungus) and honey (bee vomit) are well taken. Not to mention the fact that rescuing potentially abused or neglected street elephants is a cause worth getting behind (depending on where you step).

      Thank YOU, for reading, Blake — and for being a good sport with even better intentions.


      — Ned

  17. So glad i don’t like coffee , it all taste like poop to me ! Feel free to enjoy i will stick with my cuppa tea.

  18. Ha! Reminds me of Cheech and Chong – “This shit is really good man, what is it?” “Labrador, man. My dog ate my stash and I followed her around with a baggie for two days.” Ha!

    1. HAHAHA! I remember that! I still have the album somewhere — thanks for the reminder! It also reminds me of their Acapulco Gold radio ad bit: “No sticks no seeds that you don’t need, Acapulco Gold is *inhales* Bad-assed weeeeeed.”

    1. I’ve always liked the sound of “co-conspirator.” And thanks for the heads-up on the butt beer. I’ll be reading the labels more carefully now.

      1. I guess this collaboration of sorts makes us butt-buddies or poo-pals. And I don’t mean this is any weird man-crush sort of way. Or do I? Damn, I’m sure Freud would have a thing or two to say about this. I’d better take this up with my shrink.

  19. When I mainline my trimethylxanthine, I like to keep it American.

    New National Anthem

    Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
    What so proudly we brewed since our grinder’s last cleaning,
    Who’s broad scoop and bright beans through the perilous night,
    O’er the counter we watched, praying that we’re not dreaming?

    Mr. Coffee’s red glare, the scent bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our buzz would be there;
    Oh, say, does that Starbucks green logo yet wave
    O’er the land of ADD, the home of java slaves.

    PS: Crappuccino. Heh, heh. (Beavis and Butthead laugh)

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