The title probably caught you off-guard, but it got your attention, didn’t it? You’re probably wondering if we’re joking or not; monkey poop coffee, what? So, to answer the question: no, we’re not joking. Based on that, you’re probably wondering if any form of poop is involved in making the coffee. This is where technicalities come in, but don’t worry no actual poop is used to make a cup of coffee.
You know your curiosity is running full-steam ahead of you, and strangely, you might even want to try monkey poop coffee, even if just for the “cool-factor” and it becoming a talking point amongst your friends and co-workers. Rest assured, it will do both these things.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what poop coffee is, a little of the science behind what makes it so delectable, and why on earth the price tag is so hefty.
Animal poop coffee has the unique ability to conjure up images that don’t match the delicious flavor of the product. You see, animal poop coffee is made from beans harvested straight from the fecal matter of animals, or the discarded, chewed-on remnants of the fruit and beans, that animals have partially eaten.
When coffee beans are exposed to the conditions of an animal’s digestive tract (from the mouth onwards), they undergo a change that results in an alteration of the flavor of coffee that’s produced from these beans. The digestive juices break down the coffee beans to some extent, and what you get as an end result (besides them being pooped or spat out) are reduced acidity and a lot less bitterness.
Wow! All that to get a cup of coffee that isn’t bitter. Seems a bit much, right? Well, the fact is, the coffee produced from these beans, happens to be insanely good, which is partly why it costs so much. It also costs so much, because harvesting the beans means that some lucky person has to dig through poo or scour the ground to get them to your cup. This is the price you pay for poop coffee.
There are in fact, styles of animal poop coffee. They are as follows:
Civet Cat Coffee (Kopi Luwak)
After its initial discovery in Indonesia, Civet coffee is now produced in Bali, East Timor, Sulawesi, Java, the Philippines, and Sumatra. Following a balmy 24 hours in the digestive tract of a civet, the coffee berries (bean inside) are excreted out in the cat’s poop. Its price tag ranges between $100 and $600 per pound (wow!) though up to 80% of Kopi Luwak on the market is fake. As for flavor? It’s described as smooth and earthy, not as bitter as non-poop sourced coffee beans.
Produced in Chikmagalur, India, and Taiwan, the coffee farms often crop up beside the forests that Rhesus monkeys (from whence this coffee hails), call home. It comes attached to a price tag of about $320 per pound, so you bet that this coffee tastes pretty darn delicious. With no apparent hint of bitterness, and a full-bodied flavor encompassing notes of vanilla, citrus, chocolate, and nuts, these coffee beans produce one of the finest cups of joe your taste buds will ever have the pleasure of making an acquaintance with. How it’s made, of course, is altogether a unique process. These beans, luckily aren’t dug out of monkey poop and what happens is that the Rhesus monkeys pluck the yummiest coffee cherries, chew on them for a bit, and spit out the rest. The monkey’s saliva breaks down enzymes in the coffee beans which in turn alter the flavor of the resulting cup of coffee. Technically, it’s spit coffee; regardless the end product is great stuff!
The process of producing elephant coffee begins with the animal (yes, an elephant) consuming Thai arabica coffee cherries. Some 36 pounds of coffee cherries will yield approximately 1 pound of elephant poop coffee. After a time period ranging between 15 and 70 hours, the digestive enzymes and other products in the elephant’s tract alter the way the beans taste when brewed. The flavor profile is described as grassy, with a hint of spice, malt, and chocolate which earns it the $500 price tag that comes attached. A pretty penny for such a strange product, yet all strange things tend to be pricey it seems.
The bat species Artibeus jamaicensis is responsible for rendering a couple of hundred different varieties of coffee even more precious and tasty than they already were. The bats flock out of the forests at night and using their amazing sense of smell, happen across the coffee cherries. They bite into them with their razor-sharp teeth and then lick the insides to get to the sugar. Often, the coffee bean inside is exposed, but the cherries will remain on the plant and it’s the process of the cherries and bean drying with the added help of the bat’s salivary enzymes that transforms the end product into something incredibly delectable. It costs about $230 per pound and has a delicate flavor that’s fruity and floral with the slightest hint of acidity. Many of us are told to avoid bats, and here we are, enticing them out at night to make us amazing coffee…the hypocrisy!
Made by the Jacu bird, a species native to Brazil, the coffee from these beans is said to taste something like aniseed, with hints of nuts in a full-bodied brew. Of course, the bird doesn’t actually make the coffee, rather, it chooses the ripest coffee cherries to feast on. After spending some time in the bird’s digestive tract, the coffee beans are pooped out. With the added benefit of being further refined by the Jacu’s herbivorous ways, we are left with a really tasty coffee bean that costs about $330 per pound. Worth the price tag? Many who’ve tried it say, “yes!”.
While it isn’t procured from the by-products released from the back-end of the Rhesus monkey, the remnants of coffee cherries that have been chewed on and spat out by the monkeys are what results in a most wonderful brew.
To truly enjoy this coffee, it’s best to drink it without any additional ingredients such as milk or sugar. Just savoring the flavor is what it’s all about. In fact, a drip brew method, or using a French press, is said to give us the best results.
That depends on the same factors that other regularly acquired coffee beans are exposed to. Bean type, roast, etc., all play a role in the caffeine content. The longer a bean is roasted for, (the darker the roast) the lower the caffeine content as the molecules spend more time burning off.
With that said, how the coffee beans are brewed, also determines the caffeine content.
Boiled (Turkish or Greek) coffee, has a caffeine content of about 160 to 240 mg per 8 oz cup, drip brewing gives us about 70 to 140 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup, and the French press method allows for caffeine content of between 80 and 135 mg per 8 oz cup.
Caffeine content aside, drinking monkey coffee and the best way to do this is something you’re going to want to know how to do, especially if you want to get as much bang for your copious amounts of bucks spent on a cup of monkey coffee. As we mentioned before, drinking it plain, without anything else to disguise the subtle flavor nuances of the coffee, is the best way to go.
Coffee is coffee. Or is it? Today you’ve just learned (or perhaps re-learned) that coffee can be so much more than just a drink. It’s so involved – as you can see – and there is a wealth of ways in which the many varieties are produced; even through the rear-end of an animal! Enjoy!
The Poop Coffee Industry: More than Just Kopi Luwak (Cat, Monkey, Elephant, Bat + Bird Shit Coffee)
What is Monkey Coffee? Benefits, Uses, and Recipes