As Allan mentioned, I’m in Vietnam this week.
You would love it. It’s 90 degrees now. There are more $2 multi-colored fake Ray Bans than you can handle. Dudes just walk up to you on the street with them. Seriously, I buy two more pairs every time I leave the hotel. The pho costs about $2.50 and is as ubiquitous as McDonald’s. Banh Mi sandwiches? Like 50 cents. And then there’s the coffee…
Did you know the most expensive coffee in the world comes from Vietnam? This particular coffee goes for hundreds of dollars per pound in the US, but it’s about 10-15 bucks here. But that cute weasel on the package is not a mascot, it’s part of the manufacturing process.
You see, these are beans that have been eaten by a weasel (technically a civet), passed through its digestive system, and roasted. It’s called Kopi Luwak. Wikipedia says:
Coffee cherries are eaten by a civet for their fruit pulp. After spending about a day and a half in the civet’s digestive tract the beans are then defecated in clumps, having kept their shape and still covered with some of the fleshy berry’s inner layers.
And what exactly does that accomplish?
Research by food scientist Massimo Marcone at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada showed that the civet’s endogenous digestive secretions seep into the beans. These secretions carry proteolytic enzymes which break down the beans’ proteins, yielding shorter peptides and more free amino acids.
Whatever you say, science dude. I can attest that the beans are the strongest, richest, most chocolatey coffee I’ve ever smelled. I have not tasted it yet, but I will be bringing some back. Is anyone curious?
Now that you mention it, I can think only of one other type of person that consumes substances that have been passed through anal cavities: a junkie.