Life can be strange... I'm home, considering food miles and their implications when Amita arrives home with a gift of coffee all the way from Indonesia.
You are either passionate about coffee or you are one of those people who drink that instant stuff that tastes like oxo cubes. I must confess that all my enviromental scruples fly out the window when it comes to coffee. The only requirement is that it tastes great.
Back to my present... Inside a beribboned bag sat a gold sided box with an elborately carved, leather covered lid. Snapping open its magnetic catch revealed a golden chiffon bag fastened with more ribbons. Inside that, another golden parcel, a shimmering packet with a holographic label of authenticity. Finally, nestled in the vacummn, a small cellophane packet of ground coffee. The accompanying brochure declared it to be "The Most Expensive Coffee in the World" - not a word about flavour!
This is Kopi Luwak, only available on the island of Java. the reason it is so expensive is because it is produced by collecting the droppings of a small mammal called a luwak. This little chap (who looks very much like a possum) lives in the trees and likes to eat - guess? - ripe coffee cherries. The bean, which is the seed, passes through its digestive tract intact and is collected, cleaned and roasted before grinding. No one knows who thought up this idea but if you were poking and prodding around in poo to produce coffee, you would charge a lot for it too.
The first pot of brew was shared after dinner with friends. The aroma bought to mind the tropics with undertones of beans grown in rich damp earth, smelling faintly of patchouli. The first impression is of a liquid that is smooth and silky, not a word I would normally associate with coffee but this had a definite texture. The flavour is robust with the sweetness of mocca. Further back on the palate there comes a pleasant bitterness that bites across the mellowness, letting you know that this is a coffee for grown ups.
This is special coffee, it is great to drink. Whether it is worth the exorbitant price is debateable (in the showrooms they charge $US25 a cup.) Meanwhile, I will recycle and reuse the pretty, expensive packaging and enjoy sharing it with my coffee loving friends. I'll save on food miles somewhere else!