×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Demand for Kopi Luwak May Be Threatening Wildlife

timothy posted 1 year,6 days | from the perils-of-espresso dept.

Earth 112

Damien1972 writes "Popularization of the world's strangest coffee may be imperiling a a suite of small mammals in Indonesia, according to a new study in Small Carnivore Conservation. The coffee, known as kopi luwak (kopi for coffee and luwak for the civet), is made from whole coffee beans that have passed through the gut of the animal. The coffee is apparently noted for its distinct taste, though some have argued it is little more than novelty. Now, this burgeoning kopi luwak industry is creating 'civet farms,' whereby civets are captured from the wild and kept in cages to eat and crap out coffee beans."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

112 comments

Sturgeon's Law (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482215)

"Ninety percent of everything is crap."

Re:Sturgeon's Law (0)

TWX (665546) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483655)

Obligatory Austin Powers quote...

Austin: Crikey! This coffee smells like shit!

Basil: It is shit, Austin.

Austin: Oh well then it's not just me.
[Drinks coffee.]
Austin: It's a bit nutty.

This is some bad shit. (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482225)

No text.

Oh. Wait.

Re:This is some bad shit. (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482467)

I thought, by definition, it was supposed to be good shit.

Re:This is some bad shit. (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483329)

I thought, by definition, it was supposed to be good shit.

I don't know about that, but it is expensive shit...

Distinct taste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482227)

Of course it tastes salty, it was smuggled out of Indonesia in a Civet's rectum!

Re:Distinct taste? (1)

Cito (1725214) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482299)

I buy some twice a year, it's really expensive but it tastes amazing

here's a kid that does a "Bizarre Foods" show on youtube trying Kopi Luwak coffee

http://youtu.be/28PRETajHks [youtu.be]

really good stuff

Re:Distinct taste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482599)

Tastes amazing? Like coffee and shit?

I could probably get something similar by tossing some lumps from the catbox into the coffee grinder. No thanks.

Re:Distinct taste? (3, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483071)

Most people who know coffee say that in blind tests this "Shit" coffee is indistinguishable from cheap ("Shit") coffee.
People are for the most part incredibly stupid.

Re:Distinct taste? (4, Informative)

TheP4st (1164315) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483213)

I am a big coffee drinker and a very fuzzy one at that. A couple of months ago my brother in law knowing my love for coffee bought me some Kopi Luwak from in Malaysia. I cannot even begin to explain how disappointed I were in the experience of drinking this supposedly fantastic brew. I would not compare it with a cheap coffee as it do have a unique and distinct flavor and aroma that is far from unpleasant that set it apart from any other coffee I have ever had, but it certainly does not live up to the reputation it have and it is in my opinion ridiculously overrated.

Re:Distinct taste? (1)

jythie (914043) | 1 year,6 days | (#43484451)

People tend to rationalize expensive and trendy things. Chances are in a blind taste test the same people would lament how low brow it tastes.

Re:Distinct taste? (2)

Krishnoid (984597) | 1 year,6 days | (#43484745)

Classic obligatory column [davebarry.com] on Kopi Luwak. Definitely a memorable description of his experience with it.

Re:Distinct taste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43484969)

aaaaaaaAAAAAAAHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My eyes!!! The Comic Sans!!! It Burns!!!

Somebody has to say it (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482267)

Humans are weird.
"Let's destroy our planet by trapping and force-feeding coffee beens to a small mammal, take it's shit, grind it, put it in boiling water and drink it as a high end novelty drink."

Re:Somebody has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482301)

How does this destroy our planet? Or, for that matter, the civet cats?

Seems to me the #1 way for an animal to prevent extinction is to be commercially useful alive.

Re:Somebody has to say it (3, Funny)

JDevers (83155) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482345)

Well, it certainly doesn't help the WILD population of civet cats. Maybe when our alien overlords find that our feces is delicious when we are force fed massive quantities of sawdust you will understand.

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482425)

well if that's what it would take to get alien overlords to eat my poop....

and they'd keep the space dragons away too! AND FORCED MATING! SIGN ME UP FOR SOME BARK BREAD!

Re:Somebody has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43485047)

AND FORCED MATING! SIGN ME UP FOR SOME BARK BREAD!

To meet our annual increase targets on the captive human breeding program, we're proud to introduce our new super-advanced-alien-buttprobe-tech method for implanting artificial wombs in the males of the species. Now the other half of the livestock will enjoy the pleasures of the entire breeding cycle, from insemination by a big needle to offspring-birth at accelerated 7-month cycles.

Re:Somebody has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43485301)

"Isn't it adorable how they squeal as their larvae claw their way out of the thorax (now 20% faster, thanks to the larval iron claws genetic modification)? Some uninformed idiots say we're being cruel, but records show the earthlings actually begged for the forced breeding program to be implemented!"

Re:Somebody has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482313)

The planet is not destroyed by it.

Re:Somebody has to say it (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482407)

It's just another stupid food fad for people with too much money on their hands, like "truffles": horribly-expensive mushrooms that just taste like dirt.
 

Re:Somebody has to say it (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482631)

It's just another stupid food fad for people with too much money on their hands, like "truffles": horribly-expensive mushrooms that just taste like dirt.

Truffles have been prized for hundreds of years, and so has coffee.

Truffles taste earthy, that's true, but that doesn't mean that it is going to stop being a prized culinary item because you don't see the point. You may not like them, but many people do.

Fugu [wikipedia.org] is horribly expensive and you need a special license to prepare it, but that hasn't slowed demand for it.

If it's food, and it's tasty, people will always want it. And, there's always going to be a certain cache to having something which is so rare and expensive.

I've never had occasion to try kopi luac, but I know that Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is also ridiculously expensive because of the micro climate and soil it grows in -- because you can't just grow the same coffee elsewhere and get the same results. It's entirely dependent on the soil and the climate.

But lobster used to be considered poor people's food until people discovered how tasty it was. So were oysters, so was sushi. Then people discovered how yummy they were.

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

jythie (914043) | 1 year,6 days | (#43484479)

Truffles, like Shark Fin, is popular because it is popular. It is 'rich guy stuff', so rich people eat it because they can and middle class people buy it because it is a 'taste of luxury'. Even when people can distinguish truffle from other mushrooms, it still pretty much comes down to 'I can detect the socially right one'

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

retchdog (1319261) | 1 year,6 days | (#43484783)

Truffle is trivially distinguishable from other mushrooms. Is it worth paying hundreds or thousands per pound to try it (more than once, at least)? Probably not. Is the taste going to agree with everyone? No. Is a large part of the price the prestige factor? Yes.

But to assert that it is indistinguishable is just stupid. Either you've never tried them, or you've had your taste buds cauterized.

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,6 days | (#43484825)

Well, it depends really.

Truffles are full of umami [wikipedia.org] compounds like all fungus is.

I know lots of people who are absolutely crazy about the taste of mushrooms and will eat anything with them in it and seek it out. I also know people who don't like the taste of them at all and won't touch them.

I won't dispute your point, because let's face it, celebrities aren't drinking Cristal because they're wine connoiseurs, they order it because it's expensive and cool to do so. But even I can certainly tell the differences between wines of the same varietal but of differing qualities up to a certain point. That $40 bottle of wine really is better than that $5 bottle.

There's always going to be people who want to buy the stuff that the snooty people buy. But that doesn't mean that the chefs and other people with really good palettes don't taste it and say "wow, is that awesome" are wrong.

I suspect most people who drink Grey Goose don't have a good enough palette to tell the difference. But that doesn't mean that when the people who can tell the difference taste it they can't say "this is the best one".

There will always be a small amount of people with really well developed sense of taste, and there will always be those who get it because it's cool. That doesn't make the people with the well developed sense of taste wrong.

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

DarkOx (621550) | 1 year,6 days | (#43485225)

That $40 bottle of wine really is better than that $5 bottle.

Maybe on that. There have been lots of blind test; even one done by the Freakonics guys that determined many people could not reliably distinguish and those who could expressed a preference for the in expensive bottle almost as frequently as the expensive one.

So there is lot of subjectivity is what a "good wine" actually is and it may come down to personal preference, in absence of social pressure to prefer the higher priced bottle. There may be authentic quality issues as you go downward into the very bottom rot gut how the heck can fill and ship the bottles profitably at that price entries, in that those might not get much in the way of fining or control around MOTG (matter other than grape).

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,5 days | (#43485649)

There have been lots of blind test; even one done by the Freakonics guys that determined many people could not reliably distinguish and those who could expressed a preference for the in expensive bottle almost as frequently as the expensive one.

Well, not knowing anything about the tests, I don't know what they were made up of. Were they people who were drinkers of cheap wine, or actual oneophiles? Because the people who drink the cheap plonk might not be a good sample. But even across 'better' wines, there's differences in what people like and don't like.

So there is lot of subjectivity is what a "good wine" actually is and it may come down to personal preference

Absolutely there is, it's taste which is highly subjective.

I usually don't like southern hemisphere wines for instance, because there's just something about them I'm not a fan of that I can't define. There's a few exceptions, but generally I don't enjoy them. Given a group of Chardonnay wines, some I will really like and some not so much even though they're the same varietal.

As a general rule, I can say that Australia, South Africa, and Chile don't produce wines I am partial to -- but I've certainly found a few examples which I rather enjoy. Jacob's Creek from Australia, for instance, makes wines I've consistently found to be really nice -- and I'm sure others find them pedestrian and boring.

On the other hand, I absolutely love grappa, which I know an awful lot of people think is utterly disgusting and tastes like paint thinner.

There's certain dishes with eggplant I don't like, because the eggplant ends up with bluish tint, and tastes very alkaline to me. It's immediate and unpleasant to me and I can't eat it. My wife can't taste it at all, but there's things she tastes the difference between that I can't even register.

Taste is a very subjective thing and not everybody experiences it the same.

Re:Somebody has to say it (2)

SlippyToad (240532) | 1 year,5 days | (#43485899)

Well, not knowing anything about the tests, I don't know what they were made up of. Were they people who were drinkers of cheap wine, or actual oneophiles

That actually doesn't matter. If only self-selected "wine tasters" can taste the best wines, it still only matters to them, and the rest of us can do just fine with a bottle of Ripple or whatever.

It's the same in the world of expensive musical instruments. Blind testing by experts, virtuosos, and violin-makers all revealed that given the choice they'd take home a $100 violin that was made three days ago, over a million dollar Stradivarius, because honestly there is no difference in the quality of the sound, or the playability of the instrument. This is in fact true of just about everything.

One way people sucker each other out of lots of money is by making you think you're getting the elite, cream of the crop product. See also expensive stereo equipment where people blow $10,000 on a turntable because it's got vacuum-sealed rotary overhead cams and a fucking flux capacitor built in, but it still turns the record at 33 and 1/3 rpm, no more, no less. There's a lot of money in prestige, and perception is more important than reality.

If you are comfortable with your perceptions that's great, but please don't kid yourself. You are paying many times the needed price for a difference that is proven to not be real.

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,5 days | (#43486223)

That actually doesn't matter. If only self-selected "wine tasters" can taste the best wines, it still only matters to them, and the rest of us can do just fine with a bottle of Ripple or whatever.

That doesn't mean the good wines aren't of a better quality, it might just mean that people don't have enough knowledge to know the difference. But I've certainly seen that you can educate someone a little about wine and actually see their perception of wines change. I'm not talking about going from $5 bottles to $500, but I've definitely seen people go up one price point after they learned a little and got walked through some tasting.

See also expensive stereo equipment where people blow $10,000 on a turntable because it's got vacuum-sealed rotary overhead cams and a fucking flux capacitor built in

Well, if it actually had a flux capacitor in it, someone would definitely give you $10K for it. :-P

There's a lot of money in prestige, and perception is more important than reality.

I won't dispute you there. Diamonds are expensive and desired for wedding rings because DeBoers tells us so. We can make diamonds in the lab.

Some things are just more expensive because they're more rare. Kopi Luwac for sure because it's not produced on a huge scale -- I've never tried it, so I couldn't say anything about it.

In the example of truffles which came up earlier in this thread -- truffles are rare, hard to find, and not something you can cultivate. You need a dog or a pig to help you find them by smell.

So in large part, scarcity is what makes them expensive. And in most of those cases, I fall firmly into the camp of not being able to tell the difference.

But I also know there are things I can tell the difference between a $10 example and a $20 one. So I won't concede that in all cases it's without any benefit.

Re:Somebody has to say it (2)

plover (150551) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482563)

It may not be destroying the planet, but if you look deeper, the Internet is responsible for the domestication of the civet. I certainly never would have heard of civet shit coffee if it hadn't been for the Internet, and the same is true for about 5 billion other people. Yet now thanks to the interwebs, we have all heard of it.

And let's say that 10% of people who hear about it want to try it, and 10% of those can afford to. That's 50 million new customers trying to consume a product that's produced slowly on a few acres of jungle. The internet also enables all those customers to order instantly, flooding this little patch of jungle with money. The locals are doing the only sane thing: trying to squeeze more beans out of this boon, while opportunity seekers flock to the new wealth. That means trapping, domestication, poaching, anything to grab a piece of the pie before their neighbor takes it all. It's just another Gold Rush, only faster.

Really, nothing else could have happened.

Re: Somebody has to say it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43483325)

It's fucking idiot hipsters in America. They don't care that it tastes awful. It's all about how they think the world perceives them for having the distinguished class and "taste" to drink coffe from beans out of an animal's asshole.

Re:Somebody has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#43485499)

Humans are weird.
"Let's destroy our planet by trapping and force-feeding coffee beens to a small mammal, take it's shit, grind it, put it in boiling water and drink it as a high end novelty drink."

We are weird, no doubt - but this instance isn't quite that weird.

I'll give you "take it's shit, grind it, put it in boiling water and drink it as a high end novelty drink." - but the people who are " trapping and force-feeding coffee beens to a small mammal" are merely opportunistic gits making money of vulnerable and simple animals on both sides.

They are as unethical as all hell - but not that weird, sadly.

Re:Somebody has to say it (1)

excitedidiot (2442050) | 1 year,5 days | (#43485713)

Also, we take those same small animals and scrape their anal glands and spray the resulting oil on ourselves to smell better.

Not the same product. (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482305)

This is most likely to create an inferior product. Not that I think semi-digested pooped out coffee beans is particularly desirable product, but when you try to take some biological process and move it up to an industrial scale, something in the product is lost. It's like the fact that industrial scale cheese never has the same flavour of a cheese made in small batches on a small farm. The kind of grass that the sheep/cows eat, the water they drink, and a lot of other factors play into how the cheese tastes.

Re:Not the same product. (5, Insightful)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482377)

Agree completely, and the problem with a civet battery-farm is that an element of why the coffee tastes good is lost.
It's not just that they eat and poop out the beans. It's also the fact they are picky about which beans they eat in the wild.

Re:Not the same product. (2)

S.O.B. (136083) | 1 year,6 days | (#43485057)

I buy my coffee direct from a Canadian company that has partnered with a coffee grower in Thailand to provide a high quality, shade grown, organic coffee. Although I've never tried it (due to the price and the obvious ick factor), they offer Kopi Lewak but it is from wild civets not caged, domesticated civets for this exact reason.

It's not only the digestive process that is important but that the civets are particular and only eat the ripest, sweetest berries and theoretically the best berries contain the best beans. Since this company's coffee is already a high quality coffee I imagine their Kopi Lewak is also better than the rest due to their use of wild civets.

This is analogous to the difference between commercially raised and free range chickens.

Re:Not the same product. (3, Interesting)

sFurbo (1361249) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482917)

One explanation that has been proposed for why Kopi Luwak is different is that the civets choose the most ripe berries. This effect could easily be lost with captivity.

Re:Not the same product. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482921)

Since when has that mattered. They can put the desirable name on it, and the hipsters and their money will be soon parted. I bet you 99% of these coffee drinkers could tell the difference tastewise, or even care about the taste. They can taste the rare in it, that's all. That and it's expensive, so it must be good.

Sheeple.

Re:Not the same product. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43483423)

Oh lord, first we get "I could care less" now we're completely losing any difference between "could" and "could not" whcih is contracted as "couldn't"

Re:Not the same product. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43483577)

This higher-scale production of civet coffee will do the same thing to the market as Chinese truffles. Eventually (if it doesn't collapse, first), the industry might demand that civet coffee be labelled as to whether it was Wild Crapped or Farm Crapped.

Re:Not the same product. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#43487671)

That's because the industrial scale cheese is pasteurized unlike most of these small farm batches. On the flip side, there is likely to be less variation because the industrial scale cheese is produced with more automation than a few people doing it manually.

phew (3, Funny)

ssam (2723487) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482383)

now i have a good reason not to drink it without seeming squeamish.

Re:phew (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482863)

1/2 pound Kopi Luwak coffee: $60 [kopiluwakonline.com]

1/2 pound Caribou coffee: $7.40 [cariboucoffee.com]


Getting coffee which is not literally shitty: priceless

Re:phew (2)

JDevers (83155) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482941)

Even better, buy high quality green coffee beans from around the world and roast your own coffee. Mediocre beans roasted and consumed after a short wait of a few days taste better than the best beans that are months post roast, now high quality beans consumed fresh are tremendously better than any large scale commercial venture...home roasting or local fresh roasting is the only way to go if you actually crave good coffee. It is also pretty economical and fun.

Re:phew (2)

serbanp (139486) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483853)

Amen to that. The only downside to that is that you either get a powerful hood to remove all the smoke or you remove the batteries from the smoke alarms...

Re:phew (1)

reboot246 (623534) | 1 year,5 days | (#43487537)

Since I started roasting my own coffee, I'll never go back to buying coffee roasted by somebody else. The difference is like daylight and dark.

It doesn't take long (about 15 minutes in my case) and you always have the freshest coffee imaginable.

Sweet Maria's is usually my go-to source.

Is there anything on this planet (2)

fredrated (639554) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482431)

that humans can't suck the complete life out of?

Re:Is there anything on this planet (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482601)

I've been saying it for years...there are too many humans on this planet. Sure, we're advancing at an astounding rate, but we just don't need eight billion people. We'd likely be better off with closer to 1% of that.

But, hey, in order to "grow" commerce and markets we need more consumers, so damn reality and keep on fuckin'.

Re:Is there anything on this planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482861)

but we just don't need eight billion people. We'd likely be better off with closer to 1% of that.

Lead by example.

Re:Is there anything on this planet (1)

Reality Man (2890429) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483113)

I already don't have kids. And?

Re:Is there anything on this planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#43487729)

I'm guessing he wants you to be a bit more proactive than that by eliminating your oxygen use.

Re:Is there anything on this planet (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482611)

The cockroaches still seem to be doing OK, but I'm not aware of any cockroach delicacies.

It's time for "The Replicator" (5, Interesting)

Covalent (1001277) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482451)

Years ago I went to a lecture given by a food chemist. His research had produced excellent "synthetic coffee" in the 80s and 90s. He said that they had tested the coffee with groups of drinkers who generally found it delicious. So why don't we have synthetic coffee today? Government regulations required that they not use the term "coffee". Essentially, they were forced to call it "coffee substitute" or "synthetic coffee drink" or other such drivel. The result? People thought they were drinking "chemicals", and not coffee. In reality, it was made from organic sources (chickory root, spices, etc.)

The minute people realize that the "chemicals" in kopi luwak are just that - chemicals - the sooner we could just synthesize these in the lab and allow people to have the shit-coffee and leave the civets to romp in their truffula trees.

Re:It's time for "The Replicator" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482661)

I, for one, would prefer synthetic coffee to be labelled as such. Would I buy it? Possibly.

Re:It's time for "The Replicator" (1)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482715)

If it's not coffee it shouldn't be labeled as such, and roasted chicory root has been used as a coffee surrogate for centuries. A quick Google search shows that it's being sold today as a healthy organic alternative to coffee.

Your food chemist should blame his marketing department for the cock up, not the government.

Re:It's time for "The Replicator" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482767)

So he should have called it something else entirely.
He had no right to label it coffee, that would be misleading. He should have called it "Doc Brown's Organic Breakfast Beverage". It sounds like it lacked caffeine, which means it was probably doomed to failure anyway.

The ignorance of the public is a separate problem that should not be handled by making them even more ignorant about their breakfast drinks. Everything is chemicals, some of them are delicious some not, some dangerous some not. This is like the whole GMO labeling and even worse the irradiation labeling. I want irradiated ground beef, I like to eat burgers far too rare for good sense. If you remove that labeling I will have to grind my own or start taking bigger risks.

Re:It's time for "The Replicator" (1)

TripleE78 (883800) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483185)

And they still won't want it. I think part of the appeal is that this is a novelty that's really hard to produce, and therefore expensive. It's another way to show how much better you are then everyone else because you have money. And it tastes better because it's expensive (or so your mind tells you).

Conspicuous consumption sucks.

Re:It's time for "The Replicator" (1)

dywolf (2673597) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483249)

Checklist:
is it coffee? No
is it meant to replace coffee? Yes

Then coffee substitute is the proper terminology. If it didnt come from coffee beans, then its not coffee. that shouldnt be a difficult concept for you to grasp. You just failed to apply the proper marketing technique to open up a market for it.

Re:It's time for "The Replicator" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#43485923)

You are an idiot. Of course they couldn't label it as "coffee" as that implies ground up coffee beans. You also can't call an oil based butter substitute butter either, but people still eat that. Label laws exist so that consumers in theory have an idea of the product they are getting. Sounds like this guy was just butthurt that his product sold like shit(probably because it tasted like shit) and you took the bait.

This is anymal cruelty (0)

denis-The-menace (471988) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482517)

Never mind that this is gross.

Trapping and force-feeding something that the animal would not normally eat is just wrong.

Re:This is anymal cruelty (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482581)

You fucking idiot, they eat it naturally you moron.

Re:This is anymal cruelty (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482723)

Trapping and force-feeding something that the animal would not normally eat is just wrong.

They didn't discover this coffee by feeding something to the civets they wouldn't eat normally.

The civets already eat the fruit and crap out the seed. The civets clearly already liked eating it.

Now, as to how someone made the leap of taking the seeds which have passed through the civet and decided to make coffee out of it ... I couldn't even begin to guess at.

But they are NOT force feeding them something they wouldn't eat normally.

Re:This is anymal cruelty (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483133)

Now, as to how someone made the leap of taking the seeds which have passed through the civet and decided to make coffee out of it ... I couldn't even begin to guess at.

Wikipedia is your friend...

History:

The origin of kopi luwak is closely connected with the history of coffee production in Indonesia. In the early 18th century the Dutch established the cash-crop coffee plantations in their colony in the Dutch East Indies islands of Java and Sumatra, including Arabica coffee introduced from Yemen. During the era of Cultuurstelsel (1830—1870), the Dutch prohibited the native farmers and plantation workers from picking coffee fruits for their own use. Still, the native farmers wanted to have a taste of the famed coffee beverage. Soon, the natives learned that certain species of musang or luwak (Asian Palm Civet) consumed the coffee fruits, yet they left the coffee seeds undigested in their droppings. The natives collected these luwaks' coffee seed droppings, then cleaned, roasted and ground them to make their own coffee beverage. The fame of aromatic civet coffee spread from locals to Dutch plantation owners and soon became their favorite, yet because of its rarity and unusual process, the civet coffee was expensive even in colonial times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak [wikipedia.org]

Re:This is anymal cruelty (3, Informative)

SternisheFan (2529412) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483379)

Animal welfare:

Initially civet coffee beans were picked from from wild civet excrement that was to be found around coffee plantations. This unusual process contributed to its rarity and subsequently, its high price. More recently, growing numbers of intensive civet "farms" have been established and operated across Southeast Asia, confining tens of thousands of animals to live in tiny cages and be force-fed.

'"The conditions are awful, much like battery chickens", said Chris Shepherd, deputy regional director of the conservation NGO Traffic south-east Asia. "The civets are taken from the wild and have to endure horrific conditions. They fight to stay together but they are separated and have to bear a very poor diet in very small cages. There is a high mortality rate and for some species of civet, there's a real conservation risk. It's spiralling out of control. But there's not much public awareness of how it's actually made. People need to be aware that tens of thousands of civets are being kept in these conditions. It would put people off their coffee if they knew"'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak [wikipedia.org]

Re:This is anymal cruelty (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43482747)

They do normally eat such beans. However, in the wild civets can choose which particular beans to eat and obviously only choose the best ones, which is what makes the coffee so good. Until now, I've thought that Kopi Luwak is a remarkably environment-friendly delicacy since it was made by collecting beans from civet shit in the wild and thus hardly harmed nature at all.

Re:This is anymal cruelty (1)

dywolf (2673597) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483295)

you ignorant twit. it was discovered precisely because it IS something the civets eat, and eat regularly.

Any reason it can't be sustainable and humane? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482559)

Are civets endangered? Are they being force fed as in "forced to eat more than they want" or force fed as in "they would never eat coffee beans on their own free will?"

Sounds like a good business opportunity, get your ethically-made civet shit coffee here!

Re:Any reason it can't be sustainable and humane? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482627)

Once the demand causes prices to reach the level of moral depravity, there will be a class of "entrepreneurs" who will realize that the market is worth any moral failure to provide. Torture, murder, environmental destruction - all a small price to pay to become rich (for someone's personal value of rich). The drug trade is similar.

History of this way of treating coffee beans (4, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482717)

I do not know if this is true, but I could see it. I came across a story some time back that claimed to explain the origins of Kopi Luwak coffee. The story was that during colonial times the natives were not allowed to have any of the coffee beans for their own use. They wanted to drink coffee. When they discovered the undigested beans in civet feces, they collected them and made coffee from them. At some later point, Europeans saw the natives drinking this coffee and decided it must be something special, since the natives drank it (never considering that it was the only coffee the natives had access to).
All reports I have seen about blind taste tests suggest that the flavor is thin and inferior to other quality coffees.

Re:History of this way of treating coffee beans (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43484027)

A few years ago I read a comment made by an internet poster about this. He said his well-to-do boss drank only this coffee for 25 years straight, only because it was the most expensive, therefore it must be the best coffee. When told of where i comes from, and why it's so expensive the guy's face went ashy pale. Me, a $5.00 large can of no-name brand basic coffee tastes amazingly like... coffee!

So all it takes... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | 1 year,6 days | (#43482743)

...is a trip through some animal's gut? I think we've discovered a new industry for the labor forces in "emerging nations". Not suprisingly, it's the raw material "production" positions that will be highly prized, whereas the refining and packaging jobs, not so much.

Re:So all it takes... (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | 1 year,5 days | (#43486067)

This is the course almost all manufacturing and industry seems to be taking. Turn their product into SHIT, charge a ridiculous amount of money for it, and then scream at us the public that we don't appreciate them properly.

env hypocrisy is legion (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483271)

At the star supermarket on austin street in Newton, MA, there is a sign - enter our Earth Day contest and win a trip for two to costa rica
Is there anything more emblamatic of anti-environmentalism then flying to another country to help destroy the jungle iwth your tourism ?

A few months ago at star maker, there were for sale bundles of firewood, wrapped in plastic, from Lithuania (!) advertised as "green"
so you have you open pit or woodstove, in-efficient combustion, wood that was transported across the ocean....

but nothing can beat the slimyness of Poland Springs, a division of Nestle the people who kill babies with formula: the bottles say new green cap - it is smaller and uses less plastic !!
(alhtough i suppose transporting water from Fiji or Iceland, and selling it in plastic bottles is really the ultimate environmental insult)

Re:env hypocrisy is legion (1)

DarkOx (621550) | 1 year,6 days | (#43485449)

there were for sale bundles of firewood, wrapped in plastic, from Lithuania (!) advertised as "green"
so you have you open pit or woodstove, in-efficient combustion, wood that was transported across the ocean....

Well wood burning could be considered green in that its at least a renewable resource. It could arguably be considered carbon neutral as well; if we got to the point were we re-planted as much acreage of forest as we harvest.

The transporting it across the ocean part though is pretty messed up.

Re:env hypocrisy is legion (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#43486375)

sorry, it is the poor combustion part that is important...many people, at least in Newton, MA, burn wood for pleasure in fireplaces, openpit type arrangements, or in old wood stoves.
The chemical conversion of the wood to CO2 and water (burning) is very in efficient, resulting in a great deal of wood smoke, which is a toxic gas filled wiht toxic particles - if you have ever been near, say a campfire, you know that the smoke is nasty.

Imagines hundreds of homes doning this; disaster

I believe that in boulder CO this was quite a problem at some point in the recent past

Best way to brew Kopi Luwak (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483477)

It's a little know fact that Starbucks allows you to bring your Civet in for that fresh-brewed taste. Best way to do it is feed Civet and entire box of prunes about 30 minutes before heading out.

Destroy all the Hipsters (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483749)

before they destroy us all!

Anybody that wants to drink coffee that was crapped out of an animal has jumped the shark as a human being.

Re:Destroy all the Hipsters (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | 1 year,6 days | (#43483999)

Though, to be fair, some animal crap is delicious, I rather like honey

Re:Destroy all the Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43484191)

That's not crap, that's bee food.

Re:Destroy all the Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#43485577)

Beer is yeast piss.

Dave Barry covered this in '97 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43484609)

Very funny too!

http://www.davebarry.com/gg/decaf.htm

Just pay me $1000/lb and... (1)

sethmeisterg (603174) | 1 year,5 days | (#43486113)

I'll be more than happy to eat a bunch of coffee cherries and shit them out for you. Heck, I'll even ship them to you for no additional charge.

Re:Just pay me $1000/lb and... (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,5 days | (#43486419)

This may not be quite as pleasantly easy money as you think, if you want to reach high enough production levels to retain paying customers. Each pound of roasted beans starts from 15-20lbs of coffee cherries, which you will need to force feed yourself and hold down for a couple days of fermentation. So, I'm guessing it would take you at minimum two weeks of "processing time" (seven 2-day batches), in which you force-feed yourself ~2lb of coffee cherries and constipation-inducing medication, wait 2 days without eating other foods while your gut churns on fermenting pulp. Then you get to crap out the lumpy slurry, and start the process again (probably with a few day recuperation time). So, you'd be "more than happy" with two weeks of forced gorging, indigestion, constipation, fasting, and diarrhea for $1000? Your day job must be pretty awful.

Re:Just pay me $1000/lb and... (1)

sethmeisterg (603174) | 1 year,5 days | (#43487011)

Who's to say the fermentation would take 2 weeks? I have developed a patent-pending process whereby I'm able to drop the fermentation time down to 1.5 days without affecting the taste of the final product. It is true, though, that the volume of ingestion might be a small issue, but it's worth a shit, err.. shot.

Re:Just pay me $1000/lb and... (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,5 days | (#43487287)

Good luck with your patent. However, I have the suspicion that a business plan based on "use my own body in direct competition against the digestive and excretory systems of maltreated caged animals" may not work out so well as you hope --- that's a race to the bottom I wouldn't want to contest.

A few related links (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#43487005)

A 2012 'The Guardian' article : http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/19/civet-coffee-abuse-campaigners?INTCMP=SRCH

A 2 minute Animal planet video explaining the basics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q7IYpLYQ7Q

A Careh Coffee promotional video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnBacZr4OEA

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...