From The Economist:
Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer, but also one of the most obscure. Unlike coffee exports from countries such as Brazil and Ethiopia, Vietnamese beans are typically used in cheap instant Western coffee, which earns scant international commendation. His country, he declares, needs to market a trendy style of coffee drinking—like Starbucks, he adds, but finer. “Civet dung,” he proclaims. “Civet dung makes coffee good. It’s natural, and it makes real coffee.”
Mr Hung is one of a handful of Vietnamese aficionados trying to revive tastes for this epicurean and elusive beverage. At specialised coffeeshops around the world, this coffee sells for around $30 a cup. As it happens, civet cats are coffee connoisseurs. With their long noses, they sniff out and eat the best and fleshiest beans. Their digestive enzymes ferment the beans and break down the proteins. These beans, harvested from the faeces, then create a coffee that tastes rich and slightly smoky with hints of chocolate. The beverage is known in Vietnamese as ca phe chon, or civet-cat coffee, and is also commonly produced in Indonesia and the Philippines. The final cup delivers a smooth, dark palate that is stronger but, some say, less bitter than typical coffee.