When you pay £70 for a cup of coffee, you may be forgiven for wanting to know what makes it so special... and whatever that secret ingredient is, you can be sure it is very exclusive.
The most expensive coffee in the world - Kopi Luwak (civet coffee) - is now available in the United Kingdom, having wound its way from the remote jungle islands of Sumatra, Indonesia. Now... what is so special about this coffee?
Well... the beans are rescued from the fecal matter of the Asian Palm Civet (a species of wild cat native to South and Southeast Asia)!
The civet eats only the ripest of coffee beans. Fortunately for us, it cannot digest the seeds, meaning their droppings are collected and processed. These undigested seeds (they pass through the animal's digestive tract, collecting proteolytic enzymes in the process) are then washed, sun-dried, roasted and brewed. The resulting coffee is said to be less bitter and almost guaranteed to deliver a very strong kick of caffeine. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the coffee's rich and frothy flavour is a combination of the fecal matter and the animal's gastric juices.
As one may expect, the beans are not very commonly available. In fact, only 450 pounds, approximately, are produced every year and, in the UK, will soon be on sale at DSTRKT restaurant, in Piccadilly.
Incidentally, every mug of Kopi Luwak contains exactly seven grams of the powder.
"It's not a gimmick. The beans actually make a really, really nice cup of coffee," the Daily Mail quotes Fraser Donaldson, a manager at DSTRKT, as saying, "The way it is made might put some people off but it will certainly wake you up at 10 o'clock at night. We are the only people in the UK to sell it with the next nearest place the Ritz Carlton in Paris."
Kopi Luwak is also produced in Philippines and East Timor.
If we've piqued your interest, then check out five other insanely expensive cups of coffee and their beans, as declared by business magazine Forbes:
1) Hacienda La Esmeralda (Panama; $104 per pound)
2) Island of St. Helena Coffee Company (St. Helena; $79 per pound)
3) El Injerto (Colombia; $50 per pound)
4) Blue Mountain (Jamaica; $49 per pound)
5) Los Planes (El Salvadaor; $40 per pound)