and then ground up and used to brew coffee.  Coffee has become established as an important global trading commodity and a virtual necessity for every office worker in the developed world. 

It is therefore quite extraordinary that consumers would then pay far more money for coffee beans which have been partially digested and then excreted by a mammal that looks a bit like a cat or fox.  Beyond that, it’s doubly extraordinary that a hospitality professional would later decide to put this so-called “fox dung coffee” into a beer.  Colin the Handsome Yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor will shortly be doing exactly that – serving a beverage affectionately known as “Moo Poo.”  This is Moo Brew Barrel Aged Vintage Stout (8.5%) served through the Malthouse Hopinator (aka the Modus Hopperandus) over Civet Coffee beans. 

However, Mr Mallon does not take personal credit for either the flavour combination or the disarmingly scatological name.  That honour goes to the famous Wheatsheaf Hotel in Adelaide.  Proudly “pokie free” and serving “no cans, casks or cocktails”, the Wheatsheaf [1] focuses on “real beer, real wine and odd whisk(e)y.”  They also have a long-standing association with Moo Brew Brewery from Tasmania and came up with the combination during a moment of brilliance and/or madness.

The beer base is the highly regarded Moo Brew Barrel Aged Vintage Stout.  In this instance, it is the 2012 batch which has been aged in French and American oak barrels for a year then blended.  This pitch black beer is reported to have notes of oak, vanilla, berries, mocha, toasted treacle, toffee, coconut, tar and Belgian chocolate.  The pundits at RateBeer have it rated at an impressive 93/100.  

When the Wheatsheaf created the Moo Poo combination, they used their own version of the miraculous Hopinator which is called “The Glasshopper”.  At Malthouse, the Modus Hopperandus holds the absurdly expensive coffee in constant suspension and the Vintage Stout pours through it, imparting a late but obvious character to the beer coming out of the tap.  

That absurdly expensive coffee is Civet Coffee purchased from Weasel Coffee in my old home suburb of Tawa.[2]  They specialise in coffee which has passed through the digestive system of the Asian Palm Civet, a creature which is often compared to a cat, fox or weasel. [3] Supposedly, Civets select only the very best coffee berries to eat but the actual coffee beans pass straight through them.  The stomach enzymes of the Civet are thought to reduce the natural bitterness of the resulting coffee blend which is variously called Civet Coffee, Cat Poo Coffee, Kopi Luwack, Weasel Coffee, Fox Dung Coffee, Motit Coffee or The Most Expensive Coffee in the World. 

While it is clearly difficult to make the coffee sound appetising given the words “digestive tract”, “stomach enzymes” and “defecation” all occur far too often in relation to the process, the actual coffee is celebrated by experts and coffee aficionados. [4] It is also one of the most expensive and rare types of coffee suggesting that many people are willing to pay a hefty premium for the product.  The current price in New Zealand is around $800 a kilogram. 

Tim Hayward, food writer at the Guardian, wrote an article asking “Is the world’s most expensive coffee worth the price?”  His answer was yes saying “it’s a pleasure to finally discover that it actually deserves its reputation.”  However, he did note that a large amount of so-called Civet Coffee was fake or imitation. [5] Tim tried the coffee, coincidentally, on his birthday while cooking himself a bacon sandwich. 

Far from being upset that his most prestigious beer was being poured over coffee beans which came from the southern end of a northern bound Civet, Moo Brew head brewer OJ (Owen Johnson) has given his blessing to this union. 

I’m not the target market for this beer and coffee partnership.  In addition to being an unreformed and unrepentant hophead, I am a member of the tiny minority of Wellingtonians who do not really drink coffee.  However, I have had a few beers poured over coffee from the Hopinator over the years and it really does make a noticeable difference.  Moo Poo offers the chance to sample an excellent beer poured over obscenely expensive coffee in an extremely rare combination.  At the very worst, drinkers will have a good food hero story and a near endless supply of poo related puns and stories. 

From our celebrated Coming Events Desk, on September 28 Malthouse will be holding the now annual tradition of Oktoberfest.  There will be more details next week but there are already posters up and 31 people on Facebook have said they are coming.  That indicates the event is going to be what the Germans call “Einleuchtend riesige.” [6]

There will be Hofbrau Oktoberfest on tap, sausages on the barbeque, an oompah-pah band in full effect and the staff will be dressing up. [7] It is not yet known if Colin will be wearing man clothes this year after his strangely popular stint as a pin-up girl in last year’s publicity – a role he performed with surprising comfort and disturbing ease.  

 Next time, we eat Operation Barbarossa.

[1] Or “Wheaty” in the Australian vernacular.  This follows roughly the same simple pattern as ambo (ambulance officer), bottlo (bottle store), servo (petrol station) and ranga (person with red hair).   However, I was particularly taken with the concept of a “Darwin Stubby” which is a two-litre bottle of beer.

[2] I didn’t say a word when proofreading this blog. (Cthysssp)

[3] Apparently it is in fact a cousin of the heroic Mongoose.

[4] A professional coffee taster is apparently called a “cupper.”  I was previously under the impression they were called “hipsters”.

[5] He worryingly notes “We have to hope that any such sharp practice involves the passing off of regular coffee rather than passed beans through an inauthentic animal).”

[6] “Implausibly huge.” 

[7] They may currently be unaware of this fact.


Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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