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Coffee and snobbery

Probably the costliest coffee in India is Kopi Luwak. Which retails at Hotel Shangri-La hotel, New Delhi 2 a very nominal cost it is only – Rs. 850 / cup. As texans are so fond of saying if that don’t beat all. Well apparently that just does not beat all the beauty of the coffee it is told is its unique strong, nutty, chocolatey flavour (outlook magazine Nov 17 issue). And why wont it be unique for the coffee beans are processed by the Asian Palm Civet (a kind of cat). What am I talking about you ask, how can a cat Asian or otherwise process coffee. Kopi Luwak or Civet coffee is coffee made from coffee berries, which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet.

The civets eat the berries, but the beans inside pass through their system undigested. The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but it has been proposed that enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee’s flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Some sources claim that the beans may be regurgitated instead of defecated.

In early days, the beans would be collected in the wild from a ‘latrine’, or a specific place where the civet would defecate as a means to mark its territory, and these latrines would be a predictable place for local gatherers to find the beans. More commonly today, captured civets are fed raw berries, the feces produced are then processed and the coffee beans offered for sale.

So essentially we are drinking coffee made from the remains of cat shit and for that we are paying a premium. It begs consideration where we are going with our petty snobberies. Jaago India wake up and look where we are going and what we are eating.

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November 18, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Well the article reminds me of an interesting story.

    Some years down the line two young women indu and bhanu decided to launcg a saree brand. Both of them sourced sarees from the same merchant at the same price.

    Now Indu sold the sarees for Rs 14,999 and Bhanu sold it for Rs 499 (yes the same stuff that indu sold it for 14,999) . 6 months later bhanu closed her shutters where as indu has been selling 1000 pieces every month and has been famous in the city for premium sarees.

    So if kuttappan sells good coffee for Rs 4 @ his road side shop no one goes there, but if barista sells the same coffee ( adding some cowdung / urine to make it difficult to drink ) under the name cappuccino for 45…..every body is ready to buy it at a premium.

    But again this is a nice marketing strategy ….after all for years PEPSI where able to sell pipe waters for a premium.

    Comment by Devils Advocate | November 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. long live capitalism and snobbery too of course

    Comment by takinlife1stepatime | November 20, 2008 | Reply


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