Monday, August 18, 2008

Cat Poop Coffee

When I last wrote, about an hour ago I was without coffee. I am pleased to report that I am back now and with my superb iced coffee made from Starbucks roasted Costco Brand coffee beans. Longtime readers know of my hopeless addiction to coffee that I periodically try to kick and then lack the willpower to follow through on. Many times I've often wondered if I could even write at all if it weren't for coffee.

One of my favorite blogs is Slashfood and one of my favorite Slashfood bloggers is Marisa. The other day Marisa posted a piece about the cost of a cup of coffee. Marisa writes that "the price of a morning cup is up" and goes on to ask readers to share how much a regular cup of coffee costs in their city.

I admit that I don't really know how much a cup of coffee costs here in South Florida because I mostly just make it at home like I do with everything else. At my favorite diner I think it's about $1.25, but I normally don't get coffee out, because I like to make it at home. I'm telling you these Costco beans are great. They're regular Costco brand, come in a generic looking green bag and are roasted and prepared by Starbucks. That means that they're exactly the same as the far more expensive Starbucks brand, just in an uglier bag without the mermaid. But to answer Marisa's question about the most expensive coffee - I have seen it all and I have seen it here in South Florida.

Barton G, a Miami restaurant so expensive and so over the top that normal people can only go there if their rich parents or rich friends (or rich friends' parents) are paying or if they are on a date with a rapper or professional athlete, offers a simple cup of coffee for $40.00. It is made from beans which have been crapped out of the ass of an Asian wildcat. I am not kidding about this. I would never lie about something as serious as cat poop coffee. See for yourself.

I've been lucky enough to go to Barton G a couple times. The restaurant is difficult to describe because it's simply so unusual. It's probably the most expensive place I've ever eaten, but it's also the most decadent and creative in terms of dishes offered and presentation. One popular appetizer is a lobster poptart which is served in an actual toaster. I like their fried chicken which comes rolling to the table in a big metal chicken on wheels, which inspired me to spontaneously burst into song. "Chicken on Wheels, Chicken on Wheels." Ok never mind that part. You can't hear the tune. Desserts arrive with lit sparklers. You can get an entire chocolate fountain, at least five feet high and with about twenty different items to dip into it. One dessert used to come with a table top Pac-Man machine and chocolate monkeys hang from the rims of martini glasses with every cocktail (Whiskeymarie would be in heaven). Every single thing you order at Barton G is guaranteed to be completely ridiculous, whimsical, insanely expensive and unlike anything you've ever encountered at any other restaurant in the world. And, yes, the food does taste really, really good. If it didn't the concept wouldn't work because it would be all style and no substance. So I say, if you can save up a few paychecks and are visiting Miami you should try to go to Barton G just for the experience. And then you too can try a forty dollar cup of cat shit coffee.

I personally have not tasted this apparent delicacy. I haven't been to Barton G in a couple years and frankly my last experience there was horrible, but not because of any fault of the restaurant or its staff who tried to fix things for us as much as they could. I'd like to go back, but not for the coffee. At the end of my last visit when I was trying to decide which party-sized dessert to have (did I want decorate my own cupcakes or did I want a giant ceramic banana filled with seventeen scoops of ice cream and twenty three toppings?) I happened to see the forty dollar cup of coffee on the menu and my first thought was something along the lines of "Jesus Christ who would pay that much for a single cup of coffee?" But then I remembered that I was in Miami. There are plenty of people in Miami and surrounding areas who would not hesitate to pay forty dollars for a single cup of coffee and most of them would have no idea that it was made from beans pooped out of a civet's butt.

I've worked for and been around rich people for most of my life and I can tell you with some authority that many of them, especially the ones down here, would jump at the chance to order forty dollar coffee just because it was expensive and pretty much all of them would have no clue that what they were drinking had already been digested by another animal.

I can imagine a bunch of Indonesians sitting around trying to figure out how they could best get one over on Rich White Westerners. They probably saw the piles of civet dooky lying around and noticed that the turds were full of beans and thought, as a dirty joke that it would be hilarious to make coffee out of those poopy beans and sell them to white people for an exorbitant cost. Supposedly the cat poop coffee tastes spectacularly rich and complex, but I wonder if maybe people are just imagining this. It's a proven fact that cost affects our perceptions of things. It's partly because we unwittingly associate cost with quality, which is only sometimes true, and it's also because we want to believe that something we paid a lot of money for is really good or better in some way. If we didn't, then we'd feel ripped off and look like fools. A perfect example to prove that this is not true, that cost does not always mean quality, is my Costco beans; cheaper only because they are sold in bulk and in an ugly bag. For six hundred dollars a pound I hope the cat poop coffee comes in hand woven silk bags tied with pastel colored, satin ribbons.

I know a guy who went to Barton G for a special occasion and decided to splurge and try the cat poop coffee for fun. He's a regular guy with a good, but not millionaire's salary and he wanted to try the coffee for the story he could tell. I can accept that because I've been known to do and try things myself that I knew would make for interesting stories to tell at dull cocktail parties such as the time my friend Michael and I decided to chase down an eight foot alligator on a golf course thinking that we could run in a zig zag pattern and get away from it if we pissed it off. Don't try that at home. So the guy I know who tried the cat poop coffee said that it tasted exactly like any other cup of coffee, but that he did get a special certificate with it (suitable for framing) saying that he had, indeed, tried cat poop coffee. Can you imagine going into someone's house and seeing a framed certificate on their wall saying that they had drank coffee which had passed through the digestive system of a cat responsible for the spread of SARS to humans? That's quite the accomplishment there.

I don't think I would try cat poop coffee. Cat shit just isn't very appetizing to me and yes I know they clean it off, but still. Whenever Canela starts digging in the box the whole house can smell it. You wouldn't think that dry food and the occasional small lizard could produce such a stench, but cat asses are particularly foul and cat shit is one of the most vile and toxic things on the planet. As I sipped from my steaming mug I wouldn't be able to get that image from my mind.

How about you all? Have you or would you try cat poop coffee? What other ridiculous delicacies have you had or would you like to have?

33 comments:

TK said...

Kopi Luwak has been around for a long time, I think it actually was a coffee that the poor pickers would pull out of the civet crap because they did not get much in the way of their own beans to brew. The cats prowl the coffee tree plantations and eat the ripe chrerries, and poop the green bean. Something about the digestive enzymes mellows the coffee. It still has to be washed, sorted and then roasted. Roasting gets the bean up to about 440=50 degrees. So it's pretty safe to drink. I have never tried it. Got the T-Shirt though years back from Raven Brew Coffee in Ketchikan, Alaska.

TK said...

Oh, I'm actually drinking my own home roasted blend of an Ethiopian Sidamo and an Indian Mountain Estate coffee, it is good stuff. I've been up all night with a sick dog, time to call the vet now. Thank god for coffee, I would have trouble taking care of stuff today without it with no sleep!

Comfort Junkie said...

My goodness, people will buy anything, won't they?

Cats are amazing animals. The ability to turn perfectly normal kibble into toxic sludge has to be some kind of super power.

Marisa said...

I am completely honored and delighted at the mention! I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying Slashfood and my pieces over there.

I have heard tell of this Cat Poop Coffee, but I've never actually tried it. Somehow, I think it's one that I could skip out on.

These days I mostly make my own coffee, with beans from Trader Joe's. I went wild this morning and stirred in a spoonful of sweetened, condensed milk for Vietnamese/Thai-style coffee. I wasn't actually trying to be fancy or exotic, though, my milk turned sour overnight and it was all I had.

bluelikethesky said...

I was too lazy this morning to go downstairs and make coffee, so this will serve as my morning cup!

Now I love cheese. I even love stinky cheese, as I've learned that what the nose reads as "turd" can register "gorgeous" on the tongue. But one night, in Santa Barbara, I met my match. We were at the wee sibling of a fancy-schmancy LA restaurant, enjoying a multi-course extravaganza with paired wines. I was blissfully anticipating the cheese course, the end to a lovely meal.

And then I detected a horrible smell. I kept getting stronger, and I looked up to see our server approaching with the cheese course. Yes, I tried the offending Euro-nugget. I even tried to like it. But, in the end, I decided that it tasted exactly like it smelled.

The closest I've come to that since was when a vet tech, searching for the puncture on a golf-ball-sized abscess on my cat's head, accidentally made its contents squirt across the room (causing people two rooms away to holler, "Gawd! What's that smell?").

nancy said...

Civets are not members of the cat family, they are just called civet cats sometimes.

Chiada said...

I don't think I'd try the coffee, mostly because I'm not much of a coffee drinker to begin with.

The only thing I've ever had that was a "delicacy", and I'm not so sure that it's that much of a delicacy anyway, is escargot. I had it on our honeymoon cruise. I decided to be brave and try it. It came in a small rectangular pan with small wells. Each well had a snail in it and was full of garlicy butter. Basically it was almost the same as eating oysters dipped in garlic-butter. So, they were good. But why have an expensive delicacy if it's just covered up with everyday items like garlic and butter?

I'm not much of an adventurous eater as far as weird, scary things go. I don't think I could eat things like monkey brains or bull testicles or eyeballs. Can't. Too scared.

Avant-Guarde Dancer said...

While I trust TK's info about the safety and cat-shit-freeness of the coffee, as I a fellow cat owner I too would not be able to get the thought of how horrible my cat's litterbox smells out of my head! I'll probably pass, unless I'm out with a rapper or professional athlete and they offer to pay for it ;) Even then, it might take a good, strong double dare!

JoeinVegas said...

Glad you can't hear it, but now I'm dancing around the office singing 'cat poop coffee' - 'cat poop coffee' -

Melisa said...

I love sweetbreads (beef). For Argentine's it's included in the "parrilla" and we think nothing of eating this food. For some people however, it it gross-looking. I will say, my suggestion to them is don't see it raw. Raw, it looks like brains, very gross.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetbread

Anonymous said...

Dang ! I'm from that part of the world and now live in LA. Didnt know about this musang coffee until a few years ago. Some civets made their home in a house 3 mins from my mums house ( house was in probate, litigation). They'd run up and down the roofs all night. Had I known,I'd be rich now.

Mattie said...

Just ... yuck.

Last Minute Lyn said...

I like mixing Whole Foods Pleasant morning Buzz with Dunkin Donuts whole beans. I know its a weird combination but it makes a good cup of joe.
The other day one of my employees brought a box with a injured opossum.
Jokingly I told him while I appreciate the the thought but opossums are one animal I won't eat.
He didn't appreciate the joke because it was injured and he had called the animal ambulance.

Karen said...

I ate kangaroo at a Thai restaurant in Park Slope. I don't know why they were serving kangaroo there, but it was delicious.

Martee said...

I have eaten "the Queen's Rat", also called a gibnut. It was stewed with some veggies I ate it in Belize. It is a nocturnal rodent only eats vegetation. Still bothered me seeing those little bones and feet were on it...

Beverly said...

No way in hell could I ever, ever, EVER drink something that has been in poop. I don't care how well you clean it. You can bleach it, wash it with alcohol or scrub it with lysol and I'm not touching it. Cat crap is indeed one of the most foul and disgusting things ever. Some people will spend money on absolutely anything. I can think of better things to do with 1-4 hours worth of salary (depending on where you work I guess). I'm not even going to spend that much on a single piece of chocolate/pecan/caramel candy and that's the best tasting stuff in the whole world.

BTW - throw in the occasional can of wet food for a whole new brand of funky cat ass. I don't know if they just mash up garbage and put in those tin cans masked in greasy goo but man - after a wet food meal my cat's farts alone are enough to induce vomiting let alone the vile BMs she produces.

Jean said...

I don't like coffee at all any more - the smell of it makes me quite nauseas and Starbucks is the worst I'm afraid. However, Costco has an organic brand of coffee that doesn't make me want to hurl - so I buy that for the family - and they really love it.

I don't think I've eaten anything all that exotic.

Kerry said...

I've heard about the cat-poop coffee but I feel no desire to try it. I'm happy enough with regular coffee though I get that it could make for great stories.

You make a good point that we value the things we pay for.

Barton G's sounds great. I'll try to remember that when I get to Miami. My friend tells me I'd love Miami. I hope to find out.

bluelikesky- do you live in SoCal? Where in Santa Barbara? :)

chasmyn said...

Hell to the no I would not, and for the exact same reasons you cited. I have four cats who shit in and out of their box regularly, and no WAY would I ingest anything that had EVER been inside one of them. Damn.

I think the weirdest thing I've ever eaten is durian. I wasn't impressed, but I got it in Canada, which means it was previously frozen and imported, then thawed and frozen again. So not at all fresh.

I'm not really into trying strange foods that freak people out - unless sushi counts (I loves me some sushi).

Whiskeymarie said...

After having chased one of my cats around with wet ones this morning because they had a dollop of smelly poop dangling from their bottom, I can say that I am entirely uninterested in trying coffee that has touched a cat's butt.

But, I AM currently working out a deal with the devil that will allow me to only drink cocktails with chocolate monkeys dangling from them for the rest of my life.
My two favorite things, finally together.

Karen said...

It's weird for me that some people might consider escargot or sushi to be strange or exotic. But I suppose it's weird for some that I consider kangaroo to be exotic. I guess it's all in where you live.

sadianne said...

I know that for me, too much coffee can make me almost TOO regular, so cat poop coffee could keep me stuck at home for a while.

I think I'll pass. :)

Anonymous said...

Coffee, I can't imagine drinking it. It's just so vile.

redb said...

I've eaten alligator. It does, indeed, taste like chicken. Not much of a story there. ;)

floridagirl said...

Chiada- matter of fact, I just posted my last blog in honor of where I live.
If you'd like to read it: www.floridagirl-giansnanny.blogspot.com
Will give you a little perspective on this area of Florida.

misha said...

i was in mexico city on christmas night looking for dinner. we joked that the only thing we would find would be chinese. we were very right. we were the only non chinese in the place and i have no idea what i ate, only that it seemed very "authentic"

Sweet Bird said...

Kopi Luwac is actually pretty delicious. My husband got some for Christmas last year from his mother. At $250 per lb. it's definitely extravagant, but it's also quite distinct from other coffees. Very smooth, very subtle.

Totally not worth the price unless you're a coffee connoisseur. It was fun to try and even more fun to tell people I drank the cat-shit coffee.

Deneen said...

South Florida is great for weird food. I used to date a cop and we would go to a Chinese restaurant on SW 8th Street occasionally. I tried chicken feet there--he used to order them all the time. They were gelatinous with a million little bones in them and the sauce was bland.

I've also had cuy, a sort of oversize guinea-pig-like south American rodent at a Peruvian restaurant on Coral Way.

I had fresh durian in Thailand and liked it. But cat crap coffee, forget it. Bad enough that one of my cats scares himself when he's in the litterbox and goes tearing out, leaving litter and pieces of cat crap all over. I can't imagine digging through it to reclaim the coffee beans, ew.

wilksl said...

Heh, I drink Kona coffee regularly (read daily), but that's because its my one real indulgence, and I live in Hawai'i, so I'm not being charged those crazy shipping prices.

Civet coffee? No thanks.

TK said...

I doubt that Civet crap is much like "actual cat" cat crap. It would be more like coyote scat would be my guess!

I am ordering green beans at Sweet Marias and they are offering Jacu Bird coffee, which is, you guessed, BIRD crap coffee! Check it out at
http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.southamr.brasil.html#Brazil_Jacu
So I had to come post a comment in case anyone ever checks back!

Sound even less inviting somehow.. from e-coli to salmonella....

Mr. Grummp said...

Kopi lewak? no, haven't tried it and wouldn't. I don't even drink normal coffee.
I ate escargot once. It was good, but it was only later that I discovered it was not sea snail, but regular old garden snail, the kind my mom used to stomp on when she was gardening. Not indigenous to the U.S. but originally brought here from France as an experimental cash crop. I wouldn't eat it now that I am old enough to know better. Raw sea urchin is quite delicious, though.
The capybara, world's largest rodent, is regularly eaten in South America, so much so that the Catholic church has declared it a fish so that locals can still eat the thing during whatever holidays they are not normally allowed to eat meat.
In the southern United States they have an animal called a nutria, a semi-aquatic rodent brought here, again, as an experimental cash crop. I couldn't eat one of those, either, without thinking about eating a common rat. I hear their fur is quite luxurious, though. Anyone here ever eat one of those?

thotlady said...

No on the catpoop coffee and I will not willing eat any insect...I don't care if it is covered in Godiva chocolate. NO.NO.NO.

Corrinne said...

If I had the money I might try it. Just for the story, like you said. My poisons are Iced Coffee and Red Bull. I drink iced coffee when it is -10 here in New Hampshire =) I can't effectively make my own iced coffee at home. If someone knows, let me know dammit! I pay $2.61 every day for my iced coffee. Ouch. And don't get me started on red bull.

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