The Year in Food 2007

One Mammal’s Poop Is Another’s Coffee

Despite complaints about its overinflated price, scarcity, and inconsistent quality, civet coffee and its beguiling fume continued to catch the noses of reporters and connoisseurs worldwide. Kopi luwak, the Indonesian name for the world’s most expensive coffee, has long fetched between $120 and $600 per pound thanks to its rarity and its chocolaty, earth-after-a-rain flavor. Once collected wholly in the wild, most kopi luwak now comes from civets living in the foliage of Indian and Indonesian coffee plantations. The critters gobble coffee cherries, and farmworkers wash and lightly roast the defecated beans to preserve their prized complexity. While critics pooh-pooh the brew as java jive, the excrementitious liquid still sells in Tokyo and New York for $50 a cup. Soy dung latte anyone? —Aaron Gilbreath