It’s always inappropriate to associate manure with food, which is why we don’t mention the magic word while on the table. Well, guess what? There’s coffee with animal poop! Oops, I just said it.
If it’s your first time to hear the word, it’ll somehow cast doubt on you trying out this product. But wait, don’t be so conclusive because this product is truly remarkable and yields healthy benefits.
So, is there poop on this coffee? Technically, yes. But there is a story behind the product that gives you a sense of wonder and appreciation. Today, we’ll show you what poop coffee is all about, how is it made, and the main types of coffee poop.
Animal Poop Coffee and How It is Made
This strangely-named coffee is not a fusion of poop and coffee. Animal poop coffee comes from coffee beans that are an output of being exposed by an animal’s digestive acids like saliva and digestive fluids. Most of us know the basic scientific processes involved and the health benefits we can get from coffee.
However, coffee with animal poop takes it to the next level, thanks to the animal proteins and stomach acids involved. The coffee beans are broken down and undergo a physical change. This phenomenon reduces the beans’ acidity and bitterness, making the coffee smoother and flavorful.
The flavor of animal poop coffee depends on the type of animal, condition of cherry eaten, the existing diet of the animal, and the processing done after harvest.
The Five Types of Animal Poop Coffee
1. Civet Cat Coffee
The ever-famous and one of the most expensive coffee are globally known as the Kopi Luwak coffee. A cup of this delicious coffee is made from partially digested cherries that were previously eaten and defected by the animal.
The civet coffee beans with superb quality are the ones dropped by wild civets, which entails difficulty because it means you have to follow the civet around. To keep up with growing demand, farmers take care of civets on their farms, which has also raised brows on animal ethics.
Animal: Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)
The most common producer of coffee with animal poop is the civet cat. The civet looks like a combination of monkey and raccoon. Their duet usually includes insects, reptiles, and fruits, including the coffee cherry.
Coffee berries consumed by a civet stay in their digestive tract for 24 hours. During this time, only the skin and pulp are dissolved, leaving the beans undigested. This is the moment where the wonderful fermentation process occurs. The excreted feces emerge in the form of clumps, where the beans are still intact.
After harvesting, they are washed, dried, and unskinned. They will go through sorting then be roasted right after. Some wonder if the coffee is safe to drink. The truth is during excretion, there are normally contaminations but after the processing, it’s perfectly safe for consumption
The result is a high-quality coffee with an earthy and nutty taste, with hints of chocolate and caramel, where the bitterness is significantly reduced. Other people describe the coffee as “jungle-flavored”. The overall taste depends on factors such as soil type, tree variety, and seasonal fruits consumed by the civet.
While others want to try civet coffee out of curiosity, many find it to taste better than regular coffee.
Where to find Civet Cat Coffee
Originating in Indonesia, the civet cat coffee is also produced in other Asian countries like the Philippines, Bali, Sulawesi, and Sumatra. However, you have to be careful when buying Civet Cat as some scammers have made their way up and sell unauthentic or not 100% civet cat coffee.
One cup of civet coffee is sold at $35 to $80, but one bag costs around $800.
2. Monkey Poop Coffee
Yes, monkeys are involved too! Although this coffee is technically not a “poop” coffee, the monkey’s digestive acids are still involved in the process when they chew the coffee cherries.
Animal: Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta)
Also called the rhesus macaque, these monkeys are native to forests in Southeast Asia. Aside from their normal diet of roots, herbs, and insects, they are also fond of coffee cherries.
Rhesus monkeys in India tend to find the sweetest coffee cherries among lush coffee plantations. They tend to chew the coffee cherries in a relaxed manner and spit out the seed and its outer layer, called the parchment infused with the monkey’s saliva. Their saliva breaks down enzymes in the bean, altering the coffee’s flavor profile beautifully.
Workers harvest the spit beans, wash them off, process them and dry them, resulting in a gray-colored bean instead of the conventional green. Monkey coffee is considered safe to drink because, before processing, harvesters carefully remove the parchments surrounding the bean.
During the processing, they are roasted at high temperatures and brewed almost-boiling water.
Rhesus monkeys are a choosy bunch so they tend to pluck the sweetest cherry they can find. This means that the monkey-chewed beans are of the highest quality possible. The monkey has a distinctive taste of citrus, nuts, chocolate, and vanilla.
There is almost no bitterness, thanks to the monkey’s saliva. Most monkey coffee enthusiasts regard it as having the perfect level of acidity.
Where to find it
Like other animal poop coffee, monkey coffee is a pricey commodity and relatively difficult to procure. This is partly due because of the marketing challenge where many coffee companies have “monkey” on their brands.
3. Elephant Poop Coffee
Also known as Black Ivory Coffee, it is easily the most expensive coffee because of its rarity and 10-year refining process. The process is essentially the same as that of the civet, but this time, Thai elephants are involved, but ethically.
When customers purchase their coffee, a part of their sales (around 8%) are given to The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, including the families taking care of the elephants.
Animal: Thai Elephant (Elephas maximus indicus)
The elephants involved in making Black Ivory are the typical ones in Thailand, specifically the ones rescued off the street. They have been iconic for the whole of Thailand’s culture for many centuries, making it their national animal.
Unlike other animals that directly pluck cherries, the cherries are picked from Thai Arabica plants grown 1500 meters above sea level. Once harvested, they are brought to elephants taken care of by families living in Surin Province.
Don’t worry, the coffee cherries are not the elephant’s exclusive diet, but they are mixed with other food like banana, rice, and tamarind. This lets the elephant enjoy a sumptuous meal with a balanced nutrient mix. With a higher digestive capacity, the coffee stays at the elephant’s stomach anywhere between 12 to 72 hours.
The elephants excrete the undigested coffee beans, which will be manually harvested by the farmers by hand. They are brought to the local school where they are washed, raked, and sun-dried. After drying, they are hulled and shorted by a special machine, then their physical condition will be checked by hands.
The largest beans are the ones ideal for even roasting. To produce 1 kilogram of Black Ivory coffee, you need 36 whole pounds.
The coffee’s flavor profile is a mixture of chocolate, malt, cherry, floral, leather, tobacco, and a hint of grass. There’s zero bitterness with this one. Those who have tried Black Ivory coffee usually say that the taste is one-of-a-kind.
Where to find it
You can purchase this coffee directly from their website at a whopping $2,000 per kilogram. Luxury hotels buy this coffee and sell it to their guests at $50 per cup. The availability of the coffee depends on several factors like the elephant’s appetite, coffee cherry supply, and the efficiency of mahouts (elephant keepers).
4. Wild Bat Poop Coffee
Do you want your coffee beans to taste great? Have some wild bats take a bite first. Wait, what? Yes, bats. They are also called the bat spit coffee and come from an island, not your typical venue for making good coffee.
Over the years, farmers on the island have transitioned from growing Robusta into the Bourbon Pointu variety, where the bats take a good nibble. Unlike other animals like the civets and elephants, you won’t have to focus on nurturing bats because they thrive in the wild. It’s good business.
Animal: Jamaican Fruit Bat (Artibeus jamaicensis)
The bats that feast on them are the species that thrive in islands and forests where there is a rich plantation of coffee. The most famous is in Madagascar but there is also a similar bat-bitten coffee at Coffea Diversa Coffee Garden in Costa Rica.
Again, this coffee is practically not a “poop” coffee. Why? Because the bats are too small to swallow the cherry’s seed.
The bat enjoys a tasty snack of coffee cherry while it is still attached to the plant. Using their small, sharp teeth, they tear the cherry’s outer skin and lick through to get a hold of the sugary treat.
The half-eaten cherries undergo a process where it reacts with the bat’s digestive acid. Only the high-quality beans are harvested, dried, and processed into an amazing bat coffee.
Many who have tasted the coffee found its flavor to be long-lasting. The Bat coffee has light acidity with floral and fruity notes. One cup gives you a smooth taste with a wonderful aftertaste.
Where to find it
Finding wild bat coffee is difficult as its distribution is done domestically. However, they are more affordable, sold at around $200 per kilogram. They are usually served in the local high-end hotels and restaurants.
5. Bird Poop Coffee
This exclusive bird coop coffee started in Henrique Sloper’s 50-hectare estate (known as Camocim Estate) in Brazil, where Jacu birds delight in eating the coffee cherries of his plantation. It was in 2009 when Sloper discovered that there were hidden gems in bird’s droppings.
Animal: Jacu Bird (Penelope Obscura)
Turkey? Pheasant? No, it’s a Jacu, a bird protected in Brazil because of its endangered status. They might look normal but the coffee they produce turns out to be one of the priciest coffees in the world. They were once regarded as pets by farm owners because they could devour 10% of an entire coffee plantation.
Sloper was originally frustrated with the unprecedented invasion of Jacu birds. However, all of this changed when Slope made the huge discovery that under birds were a silver lining.
Jacu birds are herbivores and they don’t just pick any random cherry; they eat the best one. The human eye is capable to recognize the ripest cherry, but Jacu birds are keener about it. The coffee beans ingested go through the bird’s impressively quick digestion, way faster than the civet.
This means the beans aren’t affected much by the bird’s stomach acids, refining the characteristics of the beans uniquely. The coffee beans are then soon excreted together with droppings. Workers manually collect the bird droppings for washing, de-husking, and rusting.
Bird poop coffee has a full-bodied flavor, is slightly acidic, and has no bitterness at all. It has a special nutty taste with notes of molasses, brown bread, and milk chocolate.
Where to find it
You cannot find the Jacu bird coffee anywhere because it is exclusively shipped in Brazil. However, you can find it on Amazon thru their distributor Sea Island Coffee. The price is still a bit pricey, it’s sold at around $3,250 for a 60-kilo bag.
Well, there you have it. Hope you aren’t having second thoughts about trying coffee with animal poop. While it all started with the help of civets, other animals like monkeys, elephants, bats, and birds have followed suit. Each has its unique methods of coffee bean processing, which means different flavors and prices.
What could be next? What are your thoughts on the mentioned animal poop coffee? Did you find one or two that you would want to try?