Have you heard about monkey poop coffee before? Coffee that comes from poop? If you think we're joking about this, we're not.
Monkey poop coffee is a very rare kind of coffee bean produced in Taiwan and India. Formosan rock macaques and rhesus monkeys help in the processing of the said beans. However, these monkeys do not ingest the coffee like what Indonesian civets do. Instead, they chew the fruit and spit out the bean–which is why "monkey spit coffee" seems to be a more appropriate name for it.
While access to this type of coffee is limited, monkey coffee is said to be very delicious with sweet and complex flavor notes. However, it is quite expensive, like most specialty coffees in the market.
This article will talk about what monkey coffee beans is as well as other famous "poop coffees." In addition, we'll discuss the science behind the processing of these beans that makes them uniquely flavorful–and finally, why these coffees are a little too pricey.
Animal Poop Coffee And The Coffee Industry
Animal poop coffee may sound a little too weird for most coffee drinkers. However, it's one of the most luxurious types of beans in the market. Animal coffee is produced from beans that were harvested straight from animal wastes, such as fecal matter or discarded remnants of the coffee cherries that have been partially eaten.
The Science Behind Animal Poop Coffee
There are digestive juices existing inside some animals' digestive tracts. These juices break down the coffee beans to an extent and are exposed to certain conditions that can alter their flavors.
What does animal poop coffee taste like? The end result of the process is a bean with reduced bitterness and acidity–generally, a great cup of coffee. This is also mainly the reason why a bag of these beans costs so much more. Another reason is the harvesting procedures farmers have to go through in order to get the said beans. What we mean by this is digging through animal poop.
Different Types Of Animal Poop Coffee
There are many animals that are responsible for processing poop coffees.
Civet Cat Coffee (Kopi Luwak)
Civet coffee was initially discovered in Indonesia during Dutch colonialism in the 19th century. Now, it's also produced in farms located in the Philippines, East Timor, Bali, Sulawesi, and Sumatra island.
The processing of these beans begins with civet cats feeding on coffee berries. The fruit will be digested by the cat for about 24 hours and is excreted in the form of feces. The beans will then be harvested by the farmers from that pile of fecal matter. The flavor is described as earthy and smooth, with less bitterness as compared to non-poop types.
The price tag of this rare coffee ranges between $100 to $600 for a pound. However, purchasers should be careful in buying this fancy coffee as 80% of Kopi Luwak in the market are actually fake.
This coffee is primarily produced in India and Taiwan. The farms that cultivate these crops are usually situated beside forests where Rhesus monkeys dwell in. These monkeys pick out the yummiest of the coffee cherries, chew them for a bit, and then spit out the rest. The saliva of this animal has the ability to break down the coffee's enzymes which in return changes the flavor of the beans.
Monkey poop coffee beans is priced at around $320 per pound. A cup of this monkey spit coffee is really delicious with almost no hint of bitterness at all. It's full-bodied, too, with notes of citrus, nuts, vanilla, and chocolate.
The process of this type of coffee starts with an elephant eating Thai arabica coffee berries. After 15 to 70 hours of being exposed to the animal's digestive tract, enzymes will alter the flavor of the beans–hints of spice, chocolate, and malt. Every 36 pounds of the fruit will yield a pound of elephant poop coffee, which will approximately cost $500.
A specific bat, Artibeus Jamaicensis, is known for making different coffees even tastier. These bats use their sense of smell to search for coffee cherries in the forests. With their razor-sharp fangs, they bite into the fruits and lick around what's inside to get sugar. The coffee beans will often be exposed, while the coffee berries will still be on the plant. The cherry and the bean will then dry up with the help of the enzymes from the bat's saliva.
This process will result in more delectable flavors such as floral and fruity, with a soft acidity. Each pound will cost you about $230.
The Jacu bird, which is native to Brazil, is responsible for rendering beans that taste like aniseed. These coffees are also known to be full-bodied and with a slight nuttiness. In addition, the refined characteristics are also brought about by the fact that these birds are herbivorous.
After the bird feasts on the ripest coffee cherries, it retains this inside its digestive tract for some time. Every pound of the coffee beans pooped out of the bird’s body is then pooped will cost around $330.
We've learned about how varied types of coffees are produced in different parts of the world. And interestingly, some of them are not processed by means of traditional ways. Who would've imagined that poop coffee beans would become a popular specialty product in the market? Somehow, this just tells us one thing–coffee will always be a staple product no matter how it's produced.