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World’s Most Expensive Coffee in Backyard

By J Chacko

There is a strange and detested animal in Kerala known as marapatti, meaning tree dog. The elusive, nocturnal animal, mostly herbivorous, grey/black with a face like a rat’s, found in the wild, can also look for other shelters. If they can locate access to attics, they will take up residence there and then problems would start. The stink of their urine, dung, vomits etc. is unbearable and compel guests and visitors to make a quick exit. Their nocturnal activities and fights give sleepless nights to the occupants.

It is difficult to evict them as they are ferocious. Capture or killing would also invite legal problems as it is endangered.

Recently a house in our neighbourhood was host to this dog-sized animal whose meat is supposed to be delicious. Fruits and vegetables in the compound were all eaten up. Faeces littered were washed away in heavy rain. But tiny solids were left behind, which were soon found to be coffee seeds! Coffee plants grow in some houses in the area. The marapattis were gorging on them.

As is the wont these days, immediate Google search was resorted to know all about the creature and steps to keep it at bay. The search findings were mind boggling. The marapatti is the celebrated Asian Palm Civet! It is the most important link to produce the most expensive coffee in the world—the kopi luwak which sells $ 150 a cup, naturally meant only for the ultra rich!

The making of this coffee is peculiar. Civet cats eat ripe coffee berries, the fleshy part of which would get digested in the stomach and the undigested seeds are collected from the faeces. These are cleaned, processed, roasted and ground to get the prized coffee. Chemical reaction with the enzymes in the stomach of the civet gives the coffee a unique flavour. This coffee is mostly brewed in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Collection of coffee seeds and steps for producing the expensive end product go on as a gainful business in these countries.

Nobody in our neighbourhood, however, was impressed by all of this. The process brought disgust to all. If someone somewhere wants to forage marapatti faeces for undigested coffee seeds and if someone else wants to pay astronomical sums to drink it, let them do so, but leave us alone. Please suggest some ways to get rid of these—this was the reaction of all.

No wonder, though a major coffee producer and also home to civet cats, it seems there is only one producer of this coffee in India and the annual output is a measly 100kg. The fancy price it can fetch has not worked well, at least, in India.

A strange form of socialism, however, emerged from this. In some parts of India, the destitute look for undigested grains in cattle dung for food, a much lamented, sad reality. What an irony—the poorest and the richest in the world consume something similar!


Latest coffee trend is to put butter in your coffee

By Abigail Forget

The latest trend in coffee may boost your energy and help you lose weight. Or maybe you’ll just throw up.

Go ahead, put some butter in your joe.

Well, not just any butter, and not just any coffee.  The butter has to be unsalted and grass-fed, and the coffee beans have to be low-toxin – not the ones you find at the supermarket or Starbucks.

Let Dave Asprey, creator of Bulletproof Coffee, explain.

The caffeine in normal coffee, Asprey says, gives you an initial buzz, but in a while you’ll eventually crash. His low-toxin Bulletproof Coffee, on the other hand, contains MCT oil – a blend of coconut and palm oil – and has healthy fats that keep you going for hours.

“It’s about how you feel two hours later,” Asprey said.  “With normal coffee, you get a food craving and get tired two hours later.   [Bulletproof coffee] doesn’t cause a 10:30 crash we’re used to.  It gives you a huge boost over normal coffee.”

Asprey says MCT oil is digested faster than other fats, so it boosts energy and promotes weight loss. He says he adds it to his coffee to provide “laser focus.”

“When you blend low-toxin coffee with butter and octane oil (MCT oil), the butter turns off some of your food cravings and provides things the brain needs, including micronutrients,” he said. “It turns off inflammation in the brain.”

Asprey insists on grass-fed, unsalted butter because “there are a lot of inflammatory ingredients in normal butter.” The same applies to much of the coffee sold in the U.S., which he says is filled with fungal toxins.

The practice of putting a pat of butter in your morning drink isn’t new. For generations, Tibetans have made yak butter tea. In fact, Asprey came up with the idea of putting butter in his coffee after trying yak butter tea during a visit to Tibet three years ago. A health and fitness fanatic who had given up coffee, he’d found the perfect solution.

“I wanted to drink coffee, and some days it didn’t make me feel good. I would get groggy,” he said.

As for the taste, Asprey says “It’s like the creamiest latte you’ve ever had.”

So I tried it. And I agree –- it tastes like a latte. But I wasn’t a huge fan of the butter. I felt full and satisfied, but also a little sick.

Asprey says his butter-coffee devotees have grown to 3 million and they swear by it. Many follow a paleo diet, which is high in animal fats and protein.

But is this stuff all it’s cracked up to be?

“There’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that adding butter to coffee provides an extra energy boost or that it may help you lose weight,” said registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot. “However, these claims may have some merit based on what we know about fat and digestion.”

Zuckerbrot said people need some fat in their diets, in part because it helps the body absorb nutrients in the foods they eat.

“We also know that fat slows down digestion,” she said. “Therefore, in theory, butter could slow the absorption of caffeine into the bloodstream. This would result in a prolonged energy boost rather than the peak and crash you might experience if you drank your coffee without the fat.”

Zuckerbrot, author of “Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber,” said she knows people who add butter to their coffee and swear by the results.

But butter is very high in saturated fat, and some health experts caution that it can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.  And while this elixir will make you feel full, it’s worth noting that adding the recommended 2 tablespoons of butter to your coffee will also add about 200 calories.



There’s something brewing with coffee

The Star, 20 Feb 2014

DIAMONDS may be a girl’s best friend and dogs may be a man’s trusted companion but coffee keeps everyone happy.

Even if you are not a coffee drinker, you would have relied on a cup or two while pulling an all-nighter completing an assignment or to cure a hangover following a night of too much fun.

It also works wonders for those with sleep deprivation. But having a cup of coffee is no longer just about getting a caffeine fix.

It has evolved to something more than a just a drink that can keep you calm, sharpen your mind or provide the vital boost to make it through a boring mid-day meeting.

This can be seen in the number of cafes springing up around the country.

Spilling the beans

The meteoric rise of coffee cafes not just in Malaysia, but around the world — dubbed the “Starbucks effect” — is amazing.

In Brazil, where the level of poverty is well above the norm for a middle-income country, cafes that serve premium coffee and sell the coffee drinkers lifestyle are booming.

According to research conducted last year by market research company Mintel, a quarter of Brazilian coffee drinkers claim they prefer premium over regular brands of coffee and the market volume for coffee in Brazil is growing faster than in the US, year on year.

Two of the most populous countries in Asia are also latching on to coffee culture these days and their long relationship with tea may never be the same again.

Many specialist coffee cafes are opening up in China and India — two countries that are synonymous with tea.

In India, specialist coffee chains have started taking over urban districts and business areas, firmly establishing themselves as hangout spots for youths.

It is predicted that by next year, there will be 4,000 specialist coffee outlets in India, almost double what the number is now.

In China, the number of coffee houses has nearly doubled in the last five years to over 31,000. In contrast, the number of tea houses has only grown by 4%, according to some reports.

Closer to home, Vietnam’s local coffee culture is booming. The country now consumes two million 60kg bags of coffee beans just a few years after its economy opened up to foreign investment.

Coffee culture has also been booming in Malaysia with coffee cafes mushrooming all across the country.

One such cafe is Ministry of Coffee located in Solaris Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. The new coffee house is the brainchild of former barista Michael Tan.

“Malaysians are starting to appreciate a good cup of coffee. From their travels, they now know the difference between a good cup of coffee and a bad one,” said Tan, who has been in the business for 15 years.

“When I started making coffee, the lifestyle was not so popular. It all started five years ago when the outlets of global chains such as Starbucks, Gloria Jean’s and Coffee Bean started opening up. Malaysians enjoy the lifestyle that came along with it,” he added.

Tan and his two of his partners launched Ministry of Coffee last year after seeing a rise in the number of coffee drinkers in Malaysia. Set up with an investment of about RM500,000, Ministry of Coffee uses 100% organic coffee beans from their own plantation in Thailand.

“We wanted to be different by providing our customers with the plant-to-cup experience. So, we decided to invest in a plantation and grow our own beans. That way we can guarantee the quality of our beans,” said Tan.

Ministry of Coffee uses 100kg of coffee beans every two to three months and each cup starts fromRM9.

Targeting teenagers who are crazy about the hipster lifestyle and working class adults who want to taste different coffees, Tan expects this culture to continue growing.

However, he is quick to warn those who are interested in capitalising on the boom to properly educate themselves about coffee.

“In my experience I have seen many indie coffee houses close within six months. Coffee is just like wine. You can’t learn about wine after a seminar or a workshop. You need to perfect your taste buds and that comes with experience. It is the same with coffee,” said Tan.

As the coffee culture continues to boom in Malaysia, it is has also sparked a rise in the sales of coffee making machines.

Taking it home

RoastCoffee2u, though started as a coffee roaster, switched its business model to bringing fresh premium coffee to homes and offices a few years ago.

“Coffee has many perks. It can help people stay sharp during a meeting and bring people closer. This is a proven fact. It is an healthy alternative,” said RoastCoffee2u chief executive James Khoo.

“A coffee machine can blend a perfect cup of coffee.” he added. RoastCoffee2u started selling coffee machines in 2010 and business has been growing ever since.

RoastCoffee2u now aims to capture the home market as more Malaysians are appreciating a good cup of coffee.

“About 90% of our clientele are business owners who take their coffee seriously. Now, we are planning to expand into homes,” said Khoo.

He also believes it will not be long before Malaysians start investing in coffee machine just like they would a microwave or a television.

“We hope that every beautiful home has a beautiful coffee maker. This is possible as our machines have won design awards globally,” said Khoo. With prices for a machine starting from RM2,900, Khoo thinks that it is an investment for those who need their coffee fix at home. He says coffee consumption in Malaysia is expected to rise and more Malaysians will be looking to have their house with coffee makers.


What’s So Great About Espresso?

By Quora Contributor

Just three experiences with an espresso “god shot” and you would have your answer. As a barista in the many cafés I’ve owned, I’ve watched countless customers turn from passive, generally disinterested coffee consumers into evangelizing espresso snobs on the back of just three experience with this “elixir of the gods.” See, once you have developed a taste for the finest espresso, you just can’t drink the other stuff.

Espresso is a process of coffee-making that was developed during the past century by the same Italian culture that has given the world such delights as the classic Barolo, Brunello, and Bolgheri wines; gelato ice cream and the dessert tiramisu; fashion brands such as Gucci, Versace, and Prada; jewelery labels such as Bulgari and Luxottica; and cars like the Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Lamborghini. So Italy is a culture that you can trust to deliver quality and taste perfection, and that’s what they have also done with their espresso coffee brewing method.

At its simplest level, the espresso coffee brewing method extracts the best without the worst of coffee’s taste components. It’s the only coffee brewing method that can extract the best of the 800 aromatic compounds found in roasted coffee without including the naturally occurring chlorogenic acids or more commonly categorized as tannins or tannic acids. If poorly processed, these tannic acids can leach into the coffee brew, adding an astringent bitter taste that is characteristic of so many other brewing methods.

Only the espresso brewing method:

Grinds to beverage order and immediately captures the most delicate of the 800 aromatic compounds that are so susceptible to ambient air and moisture that they are lost within 15 minutes of grinding. (That’s why coffee often smells better than it tastes.)

Uses the finest ground particles that can form the perfect resistance to an optimal high-pressure and high-temperature brewing process, so it can express the best of the aromatic compounds. Other methods use a courser grind with minimal pressure and inconsistent temperatures, often leaving the best coffee oils still trapped within these larger coffee particles and not extracted into the cup.

Delivers optimal consistency to every cup by machine automating many of the steps in the brewing process, which eliminates the variances and degrading outcomes caused by erring human estimations.

Delivers the long-lingering, caramelized aftertaste with its concentration and high viscosity of emulsified coffee oils that become trapped by taste receptors on the back of the tongue and throat. This slowly releases the dissolved aromatic compounds for up to 20 minutes after consumption.

Has the shortest brewing cycle (20-25 seconds), which ensures that the tannic acid that occurs naturally in coffee beans with concentrations in the outer shell does not have the opportunity to break down and leach into and add bitterness to the cup as other coffee-making methods are prone to do.