RMB 268 Buys You a Cup of Shit Coffee in SLT Soho ... But it's Great

Cat shit coffee? Yep. Yuck.

It is indeed a thing, and there's a new branch of the Kafelaku Cafe chain slinging cups of the expensive (and arguably inhumane) stuff at Sanlitun Soho. It's Chinese name pulls no punches: it's called 猫屎咖啡 (māoshǐ kāfēi) – cat shit coffee.

Worse still: it's open around the corner from the Smellme Pet Lifestyle Centre, in a move that might showcase the owners' sense of humor (or, more likely their total obliviousness/poor luck in real estate opportunities or scarier yet, they've teamed up and have a secret tunnel to feed the specimens through straight from the source).

If you have a queasy stomach, have no idea what kopi luwak is, or just tend to prefer your foods not to have previously passed through an animal before you ingest them, be sure not to read on (but if that's the case, I'm not sure why you even clicked on the link for this blog at all).

Kopi luwak Indonesian coffee is made from beans fed to, and then excreted from, local feline-esque creatures called luwak, or civet cat. For some reason this process makes the beans more, not less, valuable. A National Geographic excerpt says there's "something about the natural fermentation that occurs in the civet's stomach seems to make the difference." The beans are then collected and thoroughly washed, we hope. How many species of animal they had to force feed coffee beans to before settling on the luwak is open to debate.

Just how expensive does this shitty beverage cost? Kafelaku sells cups of its priciest kopi luwak coffee at RMB 268 each. Yes, you read that right. If that's too rich for your blood, there are other options: a blended version for RMB 138, a kopi luwak cappuccino for RMB 128, or a kopi luwak coffee mocha, RMB 128 as well.

We'd be ashamed to call ourselves food and beverage editors without actually seeing what all the fuss was about, so on a windy weekday we dutifully strolled over to the café after lunch peak.

The only waitress there told us that they often sell “10 cups of kopiluwak coffee every day," a figure we were only slightly incredulous about but were happy to help pitch towards.

They do have other food on offer and if you get there fast you might still be able to nab one of the first cakes/pies/quiches/macaroons that the store ever stocked, that's because they apparently never made any new ones and everything is slowly decaying in the glass cases, like a high school science experiment. Thank god it's difficult for coffee to rot.

Let’s get to the point, what does civet shit coffee taste like? After a 10-minute wait, the drip coffee was served to us alongside milk, additional hot water, and a glass of ice water. The verdict? It was surprisingly delicious; bitter without being too acidic and rich in fruity, smokey, and meaty aromas, not unlike the initial waft from a burger before your first juicy bite. It was also so strong that my fingers began to tingle and I felt more awake than I had in weeks.

All in all, it was the slap to the face that we'd always looked for in a cup of coffee, and it will be difficult for us to go back to our sad office equivalent, but we'll somehow manage given that it's an entire 268 kuai cheaper.

If civet shit is not your thing, their are also normal coffees and teas with similar prices that you might find at Starbucks (RMB 22-37). For comparison purposes we ordered an Americano, which tasted like watered-down and weak when sipped after the thick and soupy civet rendition.

So, was it worth it? We were happily surprised with the quality of the coffee, but for RMB 268 a cup it might be best to save up your pennies for a trip to Indonesia to try it at its source. Given the state of the food and very few people who visited during our experiment, we expect the café itself to expire imminently (despite the "founded in 1896" notice branded onto everything) and return to the third-tier city from whence it came.

If you're truly desperate to try a cup and don't want to have to go all the way to Indonesia to do so, then it might be easiest to apply to Kafelaku and start on your new shitty career path.

Kafelaku (Sanlitun)
Daily 9.30am-10pm. 1/F, Bldg 6, Sanlitun Soho, Chaoyang District (8590 0987)
朝阳区三里屯Soho商场6号楼1层

Images: Kyle Mullin, Tracy Wang, blogspot.com

Comments

It's a relief that you guys didn't use the words "shit/shitty" too much in the article -

it would have been too obvious, and a desperate attempt to be funny. Well done.

I have tried this coffee a few times..The price here in similar to the US, about 40-50 usd. How I was told, it has more to do with the animal picking only the ripest fruit. Making the coffee more sweet and fruity than even the best hand picker could do. It is very sweet, I actually prefer the bitterness of normal cup of good coffee. The cat is actually a weasel!

A good place to try the shit coffee without dropping big money or flying 9 hours to Indonesia is Vietnam. Dalat is about a 40 min flight from Saigon. If you drive out of town there is many small local run coffee farms that keep the weasels on hand. Also it's interesting to see the process and different stages of the poop drink. You can get a cup there for about 5usd.

mike

Next time I would suggest comparing with an expresso vs the americano. As an americano is basically a watered down expresso. Probably why it seemed watered down as you said. Smile

mike

Right, the luwak shit coffee at Dalat was nice. 

Good god. Please. Please do not advertise and promote this product. Please do some research first. Boycott this place at all costs.

There is almost none of this product that is aquired properly anymore. It was once something that came from collection the wild droppings of this animal in jungles. Now, because of tourists wanting something exotic, the animals are abused and tortured. Force fed coffee berries (something which should only be a tiny portion of their diet) and they die in the process of farming their crap.

DO NOT BUY THIS. It is so disgusting. Not becuase it comes from poop. But because animals are stolen, abused, smuggled, tortured, killed to get it.

I'm pretty sure the Chinese don't give a shit.

No Chinese person i know would ever pay more than 100 kuai to torture a civet cat

Books by current and former Beijinger staffers

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Wow. Really disappointed that the Beijinger would promote something like this, and even more disappointed in admin's facetious comment. Take this article down.

Pull your pants UP! U SAGGIN'!

Starlighter wrote:

Wow.  Really disappointed that the Beijinger would promote something like this, and even more disappointed in admin's facetious comment. Take this article down.  

Don't worry, I'm sure it's fake civet cat coffee anyhow

only humans (in the form of the exploited migrant farmworkers and underage slave laborers common in the coffee business) were harmed in the production of this RMB 268 cup of coffee

 

Books by current and former Beijinger staffers

http://astore.amazon.com/thebeijinger-20

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