Lovers of fine coffee in the village of Harold are flocking to sample the aromatic blends of local entrepreneur and alcoholic Reg Boggis, who is delighting the locals
with his personally ‘homemade’ civet coffee beans.
For those not in the know, civet coffee beans are unusual in that they have passed through the digestive system of the civet, a nocturnal cat-like mammal
native to tropical Asia and Africa. The animals digest coffee berries but not the beans inside, which are passed into the “fecal matter”. In words of one syllable, the beans are shat out by the animals and then harvested. The enzymes in their stomach acid help produce a bean that is sought-after for its smooth, caramel-like taste, and can fetch over $1000 per kilo from the richer sort of Guardian reader.
Seeing the opportunity for marketing a boutique coffee in the village’s trendy cafe scene, Boggis was at first discouraged by the absence of civets from Harold’s native fauna, and all attempts to persuade his tabby cat Ernie to eat coffee beans ended in savage failure.
“I was getting pretty discouraged,” he explained. “Even if I did manage to get the cat to swallow some coffee beans without clawing me to death, it’s going to be a slow business. I reckoned it would take me a week to get enough for one cuppa, and that’s not going to make me rich. Even then, I’d be following the cat around all day trying to catch it going for a crap – that wasn’t the life for me.”
Then one night, after absent-mindedly nibbling on some of the left-over beans late at night in his workshop, he saw the answer:
“Then it hit me. All I needed was coffee that had been through a digestive system – well, I’ve got one of those, and I know exactly when and where I go for a dump. On a good day I could easily swallow four of five bags of beans, wait a bit and catch the results in a bucket, quick rinse and Bob’s your uncle!”
Boggis’s output grew rapidly, and he was soon able to judge the beans with the practised nose of the professional planter, separating the “brown gold” from the humble cling-on at a glance.
After some rapid yet unpleasant experimentation, Boggis worked out that by consuming regular lamb bhunas in addition to coffee beans, he could replicate the prized rich caramel flavours most desired by consumers.
Customers in Harold’s fashionable cafe “Veggie! Veggie! Veggie!” lavished praise upon the new beans. “They have the delicate nose, but rich warm depths,” purred cafe owner Pippa Delaney. “I don’t know where Mr Boggis gets them from, but he’s sitting on a gold mine.”