Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Well, Poo!

"I'm just a little black rain cloud
Hovering under the honey tree"

Ok, that's not the poo I'm referring to.  Pooh is Number One.  This poo is Number Two.

What did he say?  I'm going to have to think about that.

As you probably know by now, I'm not a coffee drinker.  A few years ago I heard about a new coffee from Thailand called Civet Cat Coffee.  If you've never heard of this coffee, what I'm about to tell you probably won't encourage you to run out and buy some.  First off, it's expensive.  The online retailer Dean & Deluca sells Civet Cat Coffee through the Kopi Luwak brand. One 50 gram bag is $55.  Using the magical Google calculator to convert it to something I understand, it comes out to just under $500 per pound.  Yes.  $500.  Per pound.

Next, what makes this coffee so special?  According to Dean & Deluca, the beans (or cherries) are "digested and fermented by wild civets".  Now, to my internal thesaurus, "digested" is another term for "eaten" and "fermented" means "sits in the intestines until pushed out".  So, the civet cats do all the hard work, climbing the trees, then picking, eating, and - ahem - cleaning the beans.  The farmers just shovel up the forest floor, wash them off, and package them in little bags for gullible foreigners to buy.
Thailand's answer to Juan Valdez
Seems to me the cats do all the hard work.  I guess it's so expensive because there's not that many cats that prefer coffee.  If they'd hire more cats, maybe it wouldn't cost so much.
Well, if that wasn't bad enough, now a Chinese entrepreneur has ventured into my purview with a new product called "Panda Poo Tea".  When I first heard about it, I imagined Kung Fu Panda giving tea plants the civet cat experience before they're dried and packaged for sale.  Fortunately, that is as wrong as it is stomach-turning. 
Panda Poo Tea comes from tea plants grown in a compost bed of panda droppings.  Now, it takes a lot of tea plants to make a pound of tea.  That's a lot of acreage.  A lot of acreage would require a lot of panda scat.  Apparently, that's not a problem.  The average panda creates some 44 pounds of panda poo per day.  44 pounds.  A day.  Every day.  That's enough to make a LEET-speak geek exclaim, "0# $#17!," and rightly so.
He hopes to sell the first harvest of this new tea variety for 22,000 pounds per pound.  For us colonial revolutionaries, that would be a mere $44,000 per pound.  16 ounces.  $44,000.  Now that cat-excreted java seems like a bargain, doesn't it?
I'll stick with a nice Assam, or Lapsang Souchong, or a good English Breakfast.


  1. Oh my. That is a bit extravagant isn't it?

    And 44 pounds/day? I have a new appreciation for the Panda keeper at the zoo.

  2. That is an amazing array of information you have presented and I'm quite impressed with your research skills! Along with your scatological knowledge!