Coffee from where the sun don't shine | Bangkok Post: learning

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Coffee from where the sun don't shine

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An expensive and exotic luxury coffee has its unlikely origins in the nether regions of one of the most cute and furry creatures of Southeast Asia, the civet. 


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Family: From dung to coffee by Vanniya Sriangura

News about a coffee shop in Kanchanaburi, where a cup of civet coffee is sold for 1,500-500 baht, recently stirred excitement among coffee connoisseurs. There, a kilogramme of coffee beans, from farmed civet cats, is priced as high as 100,000 baht.

Interestingly, it is five times more expensive than the famous organic civet coffee by Doi Chang, another homegrown coffee brand from Chiang Rai. Doi Chang's internationally certified and award-winning wild civet coffee is priced at 20,000 baht per kilogramme.

"The reason why this Kanchanaburi's coffee comes with such an astronomical price tag is because "it's has been intricately processed during a long period of time", said the owner of Rai Khun Ying, the coffee plantation in the limelight.

"Our price is also based on the world market. Today civet coffee is sold in many countries for 50,000-180,000 baht per kilogramme," he added.

The coffee master explained that, unlike some civet coffee producers, his plantation never force feeds the animals. "We have 20 civet cats. Each of them is provided with four Arabica coffee trees planted within a big cage. Therefore, they are free to eat the berries any time they want."

But, are Thai consumers willing to pay this exorbitant price? "I can show you a list. Many customers want to buy one kilo at the least, but I have to ask them not to, as I am afraid there will not be enough to go around," he said.

Rai Khun Ying sells 2-10 cups of civet coffee every day and has an average of two customers buying the civet coffee beans each month.

Originally from Indonesia's Sumatra islands, civet coffee, aka kopi luwak, is the world's most expensive coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries, which have been eaten by the Asian Palm civet, a small nocturnal animal that feeds on the berries for their fleshy pulp. The beans then pass through the cat's digestive system and come out among the faeces.

After being collected, thoroughly washed, sun dried, slightly roasted and brewed, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with distinctive pleasant taste and much less bitterness.

It's said that the beans taste better because the civets pick only the finest and perfectly matured fruit. It is also believed that some acids and enzymes inside the animal's intestine add a chemical fermentation to the beans.

The civet coffee is offered in the market with a variety of flavours and is best recommended to be enjoyed without milk.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Family: From dung to coffee, 21/04/2011, Vanniya Sriangura, link)

Coffee and Civet Coffee Vocabulary

civet -
a small animal that lives in trees with a thin long body, found in Asia and Africa, produces a variety of musk used in perfume that has a discctinctive smell (See Wikipedia)
musk - a substance from animals with a strong odor that is used in making perfumes (See Wikipedia)

civet cat - same as "civet"
Asian Palm civet - a species of Civet native to Southeast Asia and India also called Toddy Cat and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus (See Wikipedia and Google Videos)

coffee beans - the seed that comes from the berries of the coffee tree that are dried and ground to a powder and mixed with water to make coffee (See Wikipedia)
coffee berries -
the fruit that the coffee bean (which is the seed) comes from (See Wikipedia)

kopi luwak - civet coffee, coffee made from civet faeces or civet poop, one of the world's most expensive coffees, "made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet's intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness, widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world,"produced mainly in Indonesia, also in Philippines, East Timor, Thailand and Vietnam (See Wikipedia and Google Images) ชะมด

civet coffee -
same as "kopi luwak"

faeces - animal waste, poop, "a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anu during defecation," also spelled "feces" (See Wikipedia)
dung - same as faesces (usually means from a larger animal such as a cow or an elephant)

where the sun don't shine -
(slang) the human anus (See Urban Dictionary, Wiktionary and Wikipedia on anus)
nether regions - "the area between a person's (male and female) legs; the crotch, the groin, the area where reproduction and the removal of bodily wastes occurs" (See Urban Dictionary)

nocturnal - an animal that is awake and active during the night (rather than during the day as most animals are)

fleshy -
soft and thick, covered with more than the usual amount of covering or skin (flesh) 
pulp - the inside of a fruit or vegetable
fleshy pulp - has a lot of material inside the fruit or vegetable

roasted - cooked in an oven (without adding oil)
- added boiling water to tea or coffee to develop its flavor and make a hot drink ชง

aromatic - having an especially good smell มีกลิ่นหอม
distinctive - easy to notice and recognize as different, special พิเศษ, มีลักษณะเฉพาะ

matured - fully grown
- a substance with a sour taste (with a chemical substance with Ph less than 7) (See Wikipedia)
enzyme -
a chemical that helps digestion (increases the speed of a chemical reaction in the body) (See Wikipedia)
(verb) - a chemical change (reaction) producing alcohol from sugar (See Wikipedia)
fermentation (noun) - the process of fermenting something

variety - 1. many different types of things or people ความหลากหลาย , 2. one kind of type of thing (example: a special variety of coffee)

connoisseurs - people who know a lot about and enjoy one of the arts, or food, drink, etc. and can judge quality and skill in that subject ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ

organic -
organic food, crops  grown with little or no man-made chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides (See Wikipedia)
homegrown  - grown in someone's small garden, not a large farm

- a type of product made by a particular company ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
certified - inspected officially and verified that the company follows the rules ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ

processed - treated in some way, e.g., treated with chemicals, cut, etc.
plantation - a large farm where crops such as tea, coffee, cotton, sugar or, in this case, trees, are grown ไร่ นาขนาดใหญ่

Arabica - coffee arabica, a coffee from Yemen believed to be the first species of coffee ever grown for consumption (See Wikipedia)
consumers - people who buy things (individuals and families)

General Vocabulary

aka - "also known as"
X aka Y -
the thing called or named X is also called Y, X  is also known as Y 

yield - to produce something useful ส่งผล ให้ผลที่ดี

X is excited
(adjective) - X is very happy and full of energy because of some activity or event (that is happening or will happen)
X excites Y
(verb) - X makes Y excited, makes Y happy and full of energy
excitement (noun) -
the state or condition of being excited, happy and full of energy ความตื่นเต้น
stirred excitement - created excitement

award - a prize or a sum of money that is given to someone following an official decision รางวัล

reason - an explanation of an event, why an event happened เหตุ ; เหตุผล ; สาเหตุ
astronomical - very large
astronomical price tag - very very expensive

intricate - has many small parts and details
intricately - done in a way that has many small parts and details

in the limelight - has gained public attention, many people are interested in it
master - a man who is very good at something ปรมาจารย์

- strong and violent action (making some person or animal do something they do not want to do) กำลัง ความรุนแรง
force feed - the act of feeding a person food when they do not want to eat (See Wikipedia)

- (especially of prices or demands) much too large มากเกินไป สูงเกินไป
exorbitant price - price for a good that is much too high
not enough to go around - a scarcity, when there is not enough of something to give to everyone who wants it

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