I'll probably blog about the actual meal later, but the most memorable talk of the night was the end of dinner coffee.
Kopi Luwak $50. Is that a typo? Nope. $50 for one French-pressed cup of coffee. Literally translated, Kopi Luwak means Civet Coffee in Malay. It is billed as the most exclusive, low-production coffee in the world, costing hundreds of dollars for just one pound.
Kopi Luwak coffee beans are 'processed' by a civet, which is a kind of nocturnal cat. They prowl around Southeast Asia and Indonesia eating only the choicest coffee fruits. I'm not sure how they figure this out, but let's just say their cat-ESP lets them do this.
The civet eats the coffee for the fruit. The actual coffee bean (seed) is not digestible, and so makes a merry journey through the digestive enzymes of the civet's intestines and then passes out of the civet. That's right, the civet poops out perfectly amazing coffee beans.
According to our server, who said all of this with a totally straight face, the enzymes of the civet's gut take away all the astringency and bitterness and result in an amazing smooth coffee. I thought he was joking. I was entertained/grossed out/stunned speechless. How did someone even figure this out? And why? But it's true, and the New York Times even published an article on it.
So where does Kopi Luwak come from? The rear end of a cat. And no, I did not have any. I'm sticking to (human) hand-picked coffee. 100% Kona or Swiss-water processed decaf Mocca Java.
And don't even think of feeding Fluffy coffee cherries and harvesting her litterbox.