How do you like your coffee? Straight from Starbucks, no doubt. Some of us just rely on the sock juice at the office for our daily caffeine fix. There are various (often better) ways to savor a morning Joe, though. On your good days, you might fancy an espresso, or a caramel latte. Well, some people worldwide like their coffee with salt, pepper or straight out of an elephant’s gut. If you don’t believe it then you will be even more awed by these 7 unusual ways the world enjoys coffee.
1. Kopi Luwak Coffee – Indonesia
This selective coffee (200kg produced per year) comes from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Local producers pick the beans right out of the excrement of the Luwak, a small Asian palm civet. It might sound gross but producers say the digestion process unleashes the true coffee flavor. Judging by the $500/kg retail price, some wealthy people think the same.
Regardless of its value, the coffee has raised ethical concerns over the mistreatment of the farmed civets.
2. Black Ivory coffee – Thailand
The coffee that dethroned Kopi Luwak as the most expensive coffee in the world originates from Thailand. The country that once gave the world opium now exports coffee that results from elephant digestion. Like the civet bean, it is the animal’s stomach fermentation that enhances the taste of the bean. Read (and listen) to this excellent coverage of the matter by NPR.
3. Spiced Coffee – Morocco
This is not your seasonal pumpkin-spiced latte. These coffee spices include black pepper, ground clove, ginger, and cinnamon. If you order coffee in Morocco, you better like it extra spicy because it seems that is what you will get.
4. Salted Coffee – Ethiopia
Keeping the spice dice rolling, salt! Coffee connoisseurs add grain of salt to their brew to reduce bitterness. But in Hungary, Ethiopia, or Turkey, this is the norm not a common trick. So, it is not weird at all, and can even have a cultural significance. I bet it must be hard to get the subtle dosage right.
5. Kopi Joss – Indonesia
Charcoal coffee, anyone? No, really! Indonesians must have something against bitter coffee. Except from putting their beans through civet digestion, they infuse their brews with hot charcoal to cut the acidity, giving a whole new meaning to “burning hot”.
6. Kopi Gu You – Singapore
Adding butter to your morning Joe might sounds weird but it will make it as smooth as it can be. It is also a common way people around the world like their coffee. The Kopi Gu You, however, is a signature-brew from Singapore. Should you travel there, be sure to give it a try.
7. Guarapo con Queso – Spain
I know it sounds weird. I would have expected this to be a French specialty but we owe this one to the Spaniards. Prepare your Joe hot with sugar and everything and drop in a cube of cheese. Allow it some time to melt and dip bread into the mixture to savor an all-in-one breakfast. Don’t you wonder what it would taste like if you swap the cheese for your favorite chocolate or peanut better spread?
How did you like this little world tour of coffee consumption? We ended up spending some time in Asia and especially Indonesia. This list could use some unusual ways to enjoy coffee in America and sub-Saharan Africa. Is it true that Americans like their coffee with eggs? Anyone willing to testify?