Kitties and Coffee? Welcome to the Cat Cafe!

There is wave of new coffee shops popping up across the nation, and the coffee here benefits more than your health!

Cat cafes seem to be all the rage lately.  So, what is a “cat cafe”?  These cafes are awesome! They are traditional cafes in that they sell coffee and some light snacks, but they have an access door to a whole other land, a land of precious kitties to cuddle with while drinking your coffee.  And the best part, if you fall in love with one of these kitties you can take it home!!!!  That’s right, these cafes house shelter kitties and they are adoptable.

So how does this work in general?  Of course you have health department regulations to comply with, so how is that done? The facilities generally tackle this issue by separating the food and drink preparation areas from the kitties in a separate room where the kitties have no access.  This allows the food preparation to remain sanitary.  Some of the cafes also work with outside vendors to provide snacks for their patrons.

Cat cafes allow you access to great coffee, while also providing a space for those people who are not necessarily “cat people”.  That’s right, if you are allergic to the cats you can still contribute to their little cafe sanctuary by going in and enjoying a cup of joe without entering the cat room.

Most cafes charge admission to the cat room which generally includes a specialty coffee.  This admission fee helps to support the kitties.  They have to eat too you know!

I cant’ think of a better way to spend an afternoon than to drink coffee and love on kitties.  I’m in love with the concept!

Kopi Luwat Makers Accused of Animal Abuse

Kopi Luwat, which sells for approximately $230 per pound, is known as the worlds most expensive coffee. It is made from the droppings of a Asian palm civet, a cat like creature which eats coffee berries, digests the fruit, and passes the bean after digestion. Workers collect the digested beans which are then made into the famous brew, Kopi Luwat.

Animal rights organizations have accused the makers of Kopi Luwat, which is produced mostly in Indionesia, of animal abuse. They claim the civets are confined to small cages and fed a diet exclusively of coffee berries.

Reporters from the Guardian, a newspaper, released their findings after visiting a cafe in Sumatra and finding the animals confined to the cages. The paper says that animal rights groups believe that there may be tens of thousands of civets living in this type of environment and that it is a moral and ethical issue.

“The conditions are awful, much like battery chickens,” Chris Shepherd, deputy regional director of the conservation group Traffic South-East Asia, told the Guardian. “The civets are taken from the wild and have to endure horrific conditions. They fight to stay together but they are separated and have to bear a very poor diet in very small cages.”

New Yorkers Crazy for POO

Kopi Luwak, also known as cat poo coffee, is taking New York by storm!  It is made from the fecal droppings of a cat like creature, the civet.  New Yorkers are shelling out $30 a cup for this unusual treat, according to the NY Daily News. 

The civet, which is from Indonesia, creates a brew that is very “earthy” in flavor.  Kopi Luwak was featured in the movie “The Bucket List”, being the only coffee that Jack Nicholson’s character would drink.  The character is later horrified to learn exactly where is liquid delight origionated.

Beans Prepared By Animals

In the Philippines coffee is becoming a big business.  Coffee trees grow abundantly on these islands.  But the Philippines have a little more help in making coffee “extra special” than other counties do.  How is that?

Some Philippine beans get a little extra  processing which makes them the most expensive coffee beans in the world.  This processing is handled by an unlikely employee who gets paid in coffee cherries.  His taxes, if you will, are then pooped out in the form of processed coffee beans which are quickly collected and packaged for your enjoyment.  So just who is this little worker?

The civet is a catlike creature, although not actually a cat.  He is nocturnal and furry.  He loves coffee cherries and in return for his delicious feast the enzymes and acids in his stomach ferment the beans and when they are excreted from the animal’s intestinal track they produce a lovely chocolaty and smooth brew with no bitter aftertaste.  These lovely beans sell for hundreds of dollars a pound.  As you can imagine, civet farms are popping up all along this impoverished region.  Indonesia also has this coffee, better known to the world a copi luwak.

The fact that these coffee farms are on the rise may help; the consumer by bringing down cost.  However, with such high margins one as to wonder if they are getting the genuine deal or a knock off of the origional. 

“Because of its increasing popularity, there is more civet coffee than ever, but I don’t trust the quality,” said Rudy Widjaja, 68, whose 131-year-old family-owned coffee store in Jakarta, Warung Tinggi, is considered Indonesia’s oldest.

Goad Sibayan, a purchaser of these coffee beans, has found some issues with the much sought after coffee.  He went to Cordillera to a arm known as Pat-ogs and inspected their beans.  Upon inspection he said he would pay just under top-grade price. He had found some impurities — inferior beans that the civet had spat out; beans chewed on, not by civets, but bats — that were indiscernible to all but Mr. Sibayan’s expert eye or, rather, tongue.

To read more about Mr. Sibayan’s trip to the Philippines, please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/18/world/asia/18civetcoffee.html?pagewanted=2

World’s Most Expensive and Caffinated Coffee

Kopi Luwak.  Something you have to see to understand. Is it tasty? Can you get past where it comes from to find out?