The kopi luwat civet poops coffee. Or, to be more precise, it climbs to the top of coffee trees, eats the ripest beans, digests the fruity bits around the seed and, er, leaves the rest for industrious pooper-scoopers to turn into the world’s weirdest brew.
Of course, once I spied a weird old-fashioned coffee bar near Shinjuku station with a kopi luwak coffee bag in the window, there was no turning back. The shop was closed when I saw it, but I girded up my coffee tastebuds and went back the next day.
I took a deep breath, boldly went in, sat down at the counter, waved away the menu and ordered the house specialty. It was only then that I noticed that AIEEEE all that combined cat-snake and pooper-scooper effort doesn’t come cheap!
OMG, $30 for a cup of coffee? Too late to back out now, though – the coffee lady behind the counter hands me an official-looking document* to read while I’m waiting, and begins hand dripping my precious beans. By now I’m watching anxiously, really really really hoping that I don’t detect any notes of dog park or litter tray in that first sip.
Okay. This is it. The moment of truth. Grandmotherly china cup? Check. Silver spoon? Check. It looks like coffee. It smells like coffee. And…it tastes like coffee. Actually, it tastes like really good coffee. Pretty delicious, in fact. Not even a whiff of poopiness detected.
So, was it worth $30? As cups of coffee go, I’ve honestly gotta say it was good, but not THAT good. As a way to win every dinner party forever, though? Priceless!
*The certificate attests that the beans were collected ethically from wild civets, not from questionably farmed animals, which sort of explains why it’s so expensive. You know, fair trade and all, which made me feel a bit better about the crazy price.
If you’d like to visit the Tajimaya Coffeeten the next time you’re in Tokyo, it’s at 1-2-6 Shinjuku, and a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had. Tip o’ the Thank You Beanie to valbemar.com for the poop photo.
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon!
“Hauntingly beautiful, an instant immersion into feudal, wartime and modern Japan.” —Melissa MacGregor, author of The Curious Steambox Affair
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!