One of my more recent hobbies which I began back around 2010 is the art of roasting my own coffee beans. I have had some interesting experiences along but recently something happened that eclipsed everything that had happened before: I experienced my own form of Kopi Luwak coffee. Let me explain.
I became interested in this subject after visiting a lovely resort called Pura Vida in Dahlonega, Georgia, now called the Dahlonega Spa Resort. During our lovely visit there we were welcomed in the morning with one of the freshest cups of coffee I had ever had. The aroma alone left me seeking to discover their secret formula which I found out was that was freshly roasted on site for their guests.
Kopi Luwak coffee is known as the most expensive coffee in the world. It is produced by feeding coffee beans to a cat like animal called an Asian palm civet. After the beans pass through this “toddy cat,” as it is known, the excrement is then collected and the beans extracted from these dropping. Does that sound appetizing to you? This brand of expensive coffee was shown to the world in the movie The Bucket List in which Jack Nicholson told about the vanity of drinking such an expensive brew.
Since Kopi Luwak was outside of my price range I thought I would try something different, creating my own form of this expensive brew. My method for the creation of this special coffee I will call Jim’s Kopi Luwak actually came about purely by accident. Here is the formula if you would like to make your own.
First, begin with a paper bag of new, green coffee beans. Any beans will work, just use the ones you like the best. Next, open the bag and remove about half of them and then leave the top of the bag loosely secured by a chip clip. Better yet, just roll the top of the bag up loosely and secure just one end with the metal bag that is frequently found on coffee bags. You will find out the reason for this next.
Next, place the unroasted green coffee beans in a garage or other location in which you are pretty certain that there are mice. Leave the partially unsecured bag (even mice appreciate a challenge) in this location for a period of time. The best time to do this would be during the time when the mice are very hungry, so for us in the Great Lakes region I suggest the wintertime. But anytime would work as long as the critters were present. This is what I call the “conditioning process” and a period of two to three months should suffice in most geographic locations.
Finally, collect your green beans and place them in your coffee roaster. Be certain that you don’t filter them in any way such that you would discover any of the changes made during the “conditioning” process. This is how I did the process the first time. After leaving the loosely sealed bag of green, unroasted coffee in my garage for about three months I poured them directly into my coffee roaster. I did this for two batches since my roaster is a hot air type and can only roast about one cup at a time. After the beans complete their second crack they just about double in size, so after roasting two batches I had about four cups of coffee. This was just the right amount to hold me for about ten days of breaking the morning blues and sustaining me through my digital marketing work at User Friendly Consulting. Then I got the big Aha moment, the super surprise, the Kofi Luwak moment.
My wife just happened to be looking through our garage and came across my bag of Kimel Estates A Papua New Guinea green coffee. For some reason she thought to inspect the bag and after pouring a few of the beans into a container she noticed some small black droppings in the bottom of the bag. She then pointed this out to me but only after I had consumed most of the four cups of the roasted coffee. She did’t mention to me the invisible urine stains on the beans but I am sure that this added an additional element to my Kofi Luwak experience.
One would think that I would have immediately tossed out the roasted coffee and just purchased some freshly roasted beans from the store. That was indeed the case until one day when I ran out of the coffee. I asked myself, if Kofi Luwak was good enough for Jack Nicholson wouldn’t it be good enough for me? As I write this I just finished drinking a fresh cup of my own “Jim’s Kopi Luwak.” Although it had a rather fantastic head on it after stirring in the French press the taste was fantastic. Now I just hope that my wife doesn’t read this post as then I won’t have any coffee at all.
Naturally a few questions arose in your mind. First, Was I drinking coffee containing dried up mouse turds? What about coffee tainted by mouse urine? Maybe. After I thought about it but not before I had already drank all but three or four tablespoons of my special coffee, I poured the remaining beans onto a white towel. I didn’t notice anything unusual until I spotted what was a small, oblong shaped object. Now I knew what a mouse turd looked like because my wife had showed them to me in the bottom of the green coffee bag. Was it a turd? I will never know for sure. Now at this point I finally made the decision to throw the remained coffee away.
This is what the small oblong object looked like that I found in the bottom of my roasted coffee. Actually I found several, this is one of the larger objects:
Number two, and I do mean number two(!!), did I add to the already hyperactivity of the mice in my garage? What effect did caffeine have on mice, and worse, what effect did caffeinated mice have on my garage and on non-caffeinated mice in the area? Did it cause a further population explosion? Did the mice try to collect and sell their own droppings, claiming that this was their own special brand of Kofi Luwak? Were there mouse turds in my coffee, and did these mouse turds actually contain coffee that the mice ate? These are the questions that I am pondering, and sadly may never be answered as I don’t plan to brew any more of my own Kofi Luwak anytime soon.
What was I thinking? Before I learned about the mouse infestation my ignorance was bliss. However, I continued to drink the coffee even after my wife found the evidence in the bottom of the green coffee bean bag. For goodness sake, I was drinking coffee tainted by mouse urine, and worse, mouse number two! That’s right, mouse turds. Once again I am glad to have had my wife to watch over me as I finally listened to her advice and got rid of the offending “blend.”
We would love to hear what you think about all of this and whether you have run any such experiments on your own.