So the world’s most expensive coffee is passed through the digestive tract of the same creature linked to the SARS outbreak – don’t let that stop you from, ahem, dropping $30 and sampling an 8-ounce cup. Kopi luwak is an Indonesian specialty coffee that’s collected from the poop of Asian civet cats that feast on ripe coffee cherries as part of their natural diet – the beans are excreted intact, but while they’re “inside” they undergo a series of enzymatic changes and fermentations. After a light roasting, the whole process lends the beans a uniquely smooth, earthy-sweet flavor.
2295 S. Hiawassee Road
Sol River, an inviting Veranda Park coffeehouse catering to the serious java junkie, offers up the brew along with 30 other specialty coffees, a designation given to only 10 percent of harvested beans, according to owner Adam Dudley. He only stocks coffees receiving a score of 90 or better from Coffee Review (“the Wine Spectator of coffee”), but the real draw is the $11,000 Clover, a sleek steel contraption that’s part Hoover, part French press.
Coffee snobs and geeks claim the Clover brews the perfect cup of coffee. The machine, one of only two in Florida, places three key factors – grind quantity, water temperature and brew time – in the hands of the barista. After brewing 40 grams of kopi luwak at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 seconds, the resulting beverage is as impressive as Dudley’s business acumen. He’s managed to carve out a niche in the rapidly cooling coffee marketplace by positioning unique coffees and state-of-the-art technology to true connoisseurs. Hype? Perhaps. But for now, his strategy, like his coffee, is generating a lot of buzz.