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Double Tall Skim Catpooccino To Go

If you're a coffee lover, maybe you'll want to make a special flight on Japan Airlines to buy "the rarest coffee in the world": civet coffee. But this specialty brew is sold only in business class, to the tune of $600 for 100 grams.

You're not going to find this in any Starbucks. Your other options for getting the coffee are limited: if you're not heading to Japan, a single coffee shop in Vienna sells the beans. If you're really adventurous, maybe you can sniff out the source directly: the Philippines. An environmentalist husband and wife team, named Reyes, has made a multi-million-dollar business out of its harvest. Non-coffee drinkers themselves, they accidentally stumbled into the civet's special gift while doing conservation work on sugar palm trees outside of Manila in 2003.

What makes the coffee so rare? It's made from the droppings of the civet cat. Apparently, this nocturnal, ferret-like cat eats sugar palm fruit and coffee cherries. (Oh, and you can catch SARS from it too.) The coffee bean is not digested, but ferments in its digestive system and is excreted, much to the delight of locals, who collect the ready-to-roast beans, but try to keep the origin secret. The roasted beans give off a "sweet chocolatey aroma" and produce a "strong and earthy" brew.

Ah, I can just imagine the aroma!

Filed under: Arts and Culture, Asia, Europe, Oceania, Japan, Philippines, Austria

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