9:57 p.m. - 2006-12-07
I hope you are feeling smoov as Friday approaches!
Have any Chupacabras been sighted in your neighborhood?!
Hmmm; a lot of animals must be hiding out because of the cold. I have spotted some crows flying around. They seem to make a loop around the metro daily.
Ever since Thanksgiving my husband R has become obsessed with roasting his own coffee beans. Not only are unroasted (green) beans cheaper, but also home roasted coffee tastes better. His reasarch has also taught us that our current coffee grinder was not acceptable. Instead we bought this retro "burr" grinder:
Then R ghetto-rigged my air popcorn popper, because you can also roast coffee beans in there! It's a very smoky operation.
We had two fans operating, the window open, coffee bean "chaff" flying in the breeze, an apartment filled with smoke...and we got:
The next day we tried the homemade coffee! It was pretty good; quite dark, though. Only 30 or so seconds are required before the coffee goes from "dark roast" to "coal".
But how is Coffee related to Creatures?
Well, the most expensive coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, is made from coffee beans that are eaten by a creature, and then pooped out!
It's true. Kopi Luwak coffee costs from $300 to $600 a pound, and a cup of the brewed beverage runs up to $50. The palm civet, Paradoxurus hemaphroditus, is the fancy feeder. A photo from www.ecologyasia.com:
Fuzzy! These little omnivores are also called Toddy cats, ugudiwa and musangs. They live in Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Palm civets weigh anywhere from four to eleven pounds, and measure seventeen to 28 inches long, not including around 20 inches for their tails! They are gray with black markings, and are nocturnal.
At night musangs keep busy by eating fruit, including only the ripest coffee berries! They supplement their diet with reptiles, eggs and insects.
I don't know who it was who first said, "Let's fish those coffee beans out of that turd, roast them, and drink the result!" But coffee connoisseurs rave about the mild, fruity and musky flavor of Kopi Luwak.
It turns out the chemical reaction inside the palm civet is very similar to the preferred "wet" type of coffee processing. The wet technique uses lactic acid bacteria to lower the bean's protein levels, which reduces bitterness. The very same bacteria is found in the digestive track of civets!
Because of the rarity of this process, only about 500 lbs of Kopi Luwak are made yearly. I would think palm civets would be placed in captivity and fed ripe coffee beans to facilitate the process; don't you? Maybe not.
I would totally try this coffee; apparently small samples of the beans are available for $30 or so online. Apparently Kopi Luwak beans host even less bacteria than regular coffee beans, because they are cleaned more thoroughly before roasting.
The life of the palm civet is pretty mellow. They move around from tree to tree, preferring the tallest and biggest arboreal homes. As they eat the ripe fruit in the area, they will make a home base out of one trees, and then migrate to new territory a few nights later.
The animals are mostly solitary except for mating and motherhood. The palm civet's species name "hermaphroditus", refers to the matching scent glands that both males and females possess. These look like testicles, thus creating the dual sex moniker! I guess some other kinds of civets are "milked" for their glandular oil, which smells skunk-like, for use in perfume as a fixative agent.
Some websites have listed palm civets as endangered, others don't. One species in Sumatra is threatened, and of course, all tree-living creatures lose habitat from deforestation. Palm civets are also nuisances at orchards and are killed by farmers. It sounds like these furry fruit eaters often break into the attic spaces of homes and are pests that way too.
I think I want one, though!
Well, let me know if you've seen a civet in your travels, or have tried the poop coffee!
If my poo was worth $300 a pound I'd be rich!