The Supermarket Chronicles V: Seeking a Smoother Cup of Coffee

Vietnam has supplied me with a lot of Supermarket Chronicle material, and this isn’t the last one.  You’ll forgive me when some of these chronicles happen outside of a supermarket- you get the idea.

During a tour you’ll hear about later, we stopped at a small, family-owned coffee plantation.  One of the processes the family has perfected is known in Indonesian as kopi luwak (I’m not sure of the Vietnamese name).  I have been intrigued by this “flavor” of coffee for awhile, but have hesitated to indulge since it’s difficult to be sure the coffee is genuine in Indonesia unless you actually go to the source.  For the price, you want to make sure its genuine.  Here on the family farm, I was buying the real deal.

It’s probably best to explain the process step by step:

  1. Get yourself a civet cat.
  2. Feed coffee berries (beans inside) to your newly acquired civet.
  3. Let the civet digest the berries and shit the beans out.
  4. Collect said shit and dry it in the sun.
  5. Wash and roast the dried beans, then brew into coffee.

Traditionally, the civet shit was collected on the grounds of the coffee plantation, which is morally preferred over the “civet in a small cage” method.  The theory goes that the digestive enzymes of the civet work to break down the bitterness of the beans.  The civet also only chooses the best beans to eat.  This combination produces apparently superb coffee.  I’m embarrassed to say that a cup of kopi luwak at the plantation was the equivalent of $10, but for the Supermarket Chronicles and my dedicated readers, it had to be done.

Now, I was brought up in a gourmet home, where my mother would apologise if she made us hamburgers for dinner, so if someone is selling gastronomic snake oil, I’ll call it snake oil.  This was, hands down, without a hesitation of a doubt, by far, for a fact, dead sure, unquestionably, the most knock-your-socks-off unbelievable cup of coffee I have ever tasted.

It had better be, because I just spent $10 to drink cat shit.

5 thoughts on “The Supermarket Chronicles V: Seeking a Smoother Cup of Coffee

  1. JG: This came up in a movie a couple of years ago called the Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson. I guess its for real. Great story.



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