Sunday, February 06, 2011

Civet 'cat' coffee producer to launch eco-friendly cafe

Civet 'cat' coffee producer to launch eco-friendly cafe
Sun.Star Davao
February 6, 2011

ONE of the top finalists in the annual Philippine Business in Development (BID) Challenge is now set to launch its own high-end specialty store brewing the world's rarest and most coveted coffee variety -- the droppings of a nocturnal animal called alamid in the Southern Tagalog, motit in Northern Luzon, and musang in the Visayas and Mindanao.

These are the coffee beans taken from the excreta of the local Asian palm civet (Paradoxorus philippinensis), sometimes called the Philippine civet "cat," which after chewing and swallowing the coffee cherries from Cordillera to Cotabato for decades have produced what some had dubbed as the planet's most expensive brew.

Arengga Bote Central, producer and distributor of Arengga Coffee Alamid, was one of the finalists in the BID Challenge Philippines 2007, with their civet coffee entry called "Chain of Happiness."

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the nation's largest corporate-led social development foundation, has been spearheading the annual BID Challenge Philippines together with Citibank Philippines and supported by Citi Foundation.

Other corporate sponsors include Shell, Nestle, the Phil. Daily Inquirer, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI), and the Dutch-funded BiD Network, which pioneered the international online business plan competition for small and medium enterprises.

Husband-and-wife team Basil and Alvira Reyes of Arengga also announced via Facebook that for the first time, they will be joining forces with members of the local rock band Alamid for the launching of their group’s namesake and creature of inspiration, the Alamid CafĂ© Xpress, tomorrow.

The launching will be held at the Recreational Outdoor eXchange (ROX) at B1 along Bonifacio High Street at the Fort Global City in suburban Taguig.

The Philippine civet "cat," called luwak in neighboring Indonesia, is not actually a cat of a member of the feline family. It is a nearer relative of the African and Central Asian mongoose, and it closely resembles the weasel of the Western hemisphere.

The Paradoxorus philippinensis, according to the Arengga website, "is a civet that belongs to the mongoose family, a nocturnal animal which uses its nose to choose the ripest and sweetest coffee cherries and relentlessly eats them during coffee season."

Arengga said: "Gathered very early in the morning usually before the sun rises, the forest dwellers climb the mountain and pick the civet droppings on the forest floors. On a good day, a gatherer can collect one kilo of civet droppings."

It said Coffee Alamid is a blend of the country's finest Arabica, Liberica, and Exelsa beans. "When roasted, it exudes an almost musical, fruity aroma," Arengga said. "It has a strong, sweet, dark chocolate-y taste ... perfect for that morning kick or high power meetings, definitely a clean cup?"

On environmental protection, Arengga stressed that Coffee Alamid aims to support the protection of the civets, preserve the civets’ habitat, and provide livelihood for the forest dwellers.