Thoughts and experiences from this simple creature, called Chris. How well do you know him? Do you even care? Probably less so, after reading this:

Sunday, April 13

Tasters taste test the tasteless

McDonalds is Japan's favourite coffee?
Apparently, over 1,000 people surveyed came to that conclusion.(click on pic to go to original story)
The survey, which polled 1,280 people here aged between 20 and 39 years old in November last year, asked respondents to select their favorite coffee based on aroma, bitterness, sourness, price and so on. McDonald's 100-yen coffee topped the list, followed by Doutor Coffee, Mos Burger, Starbucks and Mister Donut.
What...the hell...?
Price must be a factor in their decision. However, Mr.Donuts has free refills - did they take that into account?
I would've thought it would have been Starbucks (Tully's is better but possibly not included), Mr.Donuts, McDonalds (as they are making an effort to improve the coffee), then whatever other crap there is.

I read that in the States, McDonalds has been aggresively marketing it's coffee, to compete with other , more 'coffee orientated' stores. I think it's working.
My guess is the price has a lot to do with it.
Price, plus drinkability (doesn't completely taste like sh*t) and convenience.
Plus, I wonder how many people, once in the store, will then order an extra apple pie, or a cheeseburger or extrabigdoublehwhoppercellulose and child?
Now, I'm interested in trying a McDonalds coffee, just to see how bad or possibly not-so-bad it really is. It's available for just 100yen in Japan. Great value? Perhaps not, especially if you are a big drinker. e.g. compare it to the 260yen for MrDonuts for free refills and the 'value' image dissapears after 3 cups .
I did notice that in McDonalds, the coffee jugs are changed regularly, in a bid to keep the coffee 'fresh'. Also, the thermostat for the coffee is set at about 96, which is good for coffee. One complaint I have about Starbucks coffee is that it always tastes burnt. I'm sure they're either heating their coffee to too high temperatures or heating it for too long. But even Starbucks house coffee is better than the Doutor crap. That's possibly the nastiest coffee I've ever had the misfortune to try. However, they do have some good sandwiches but the shops are always so smoky. I think Doutor will soon become 'Dinosor', along with the chain smoking salarymen who never go home and the chain smoking 30-something-living-with-their-parents, who don't want to.

I shall try a McDonalds coffee and comment on the taste. I regard taste to be the main criteria for judging a coffee's superiority.
Basically, these guys run a business. Business has a simple rule. Convince people that a duck isn't really a duck and that they really want one of these 'non ducks'.
"It walks like a duck,
it looks like a duck,
it sounds like a duck,
it tastes like a duck...
...but perhaps it's not a duck... costs more, so it can't be.
I want it."
Basically, if it's cheap as sh*t, if it looks like sh*t, if it tastes like sh*t...'s sh*t.
However, if it's as cheap as sh*t, it looks sh*t but it tastes fine... ...then that's fine.

I'll use this stringent judging criteria to asses the McDonalds coffee.
To be continued...

Still, why am I suprised that McDonalds topped the Japanese poll?
Japanese are the top importers of Copi Luwak, the coffee that possibly tastes like sh*t because, basically, that's what it is. Sh*t. Feces. Excrement. Crap.
Civet cat crap, to be more precise.
In the animals' stomachs, enzymes in the gastric juices massage the beans, smoothing off the harsh edges that make coffee bitter and produce caffeine jitters. Humans then separate the greenish-brown beans from the rest of the dung, and once a thin outer layer is removed, they are ready for roasting. The result is a delicacy with a markup so steep it would make a drug dealer weep. (read the LA Times article)
These civet cats were well known to eat only the ripest and best coffee beans. The locals discovered that if they then took the excreted coffee beans and made coffee with them, the stuff actually tasted really good! Exactly who first discovered this and why is possibly a secret best kept to themselves.
"Hey, guys! I was just, uh, you know, drinking the ground up remains of forest animal dung and guess what? Some of it tastes realy good! Why are you looking at me like that?"
Mmm, good enough to eat. Crunchy, too.
Apparently, it's now the most expensive coffee in the world ($600 a pound!) and one of the rarest. Hand picked by industrious Indonesians with bad backs and very itchy noses. I'm looking for a cafe that serves copi luwak in Japan. I really want to try some. Just a cup. But how can I be sure that it's the real deal?

Something that scares me even more is this quote from the excellent LA Times article:
Like a forensic scientist reading a bullet's markings, Marcone stares at kopi luwak under an electron microscope, searching for striations that tell him that a civet excreted it. His studies found that kopi luwak drinkers need to be careful to avoid being duped.
"About 42% of all the kopi luwaks that are presently on sale are either adulterated or complete fakes, unfortunately," he said.
Oh, sh*t.

"Well, we've done the tests.
It's not civet sh*t.
Basically, you don't want to know. Trust me."

Just 2 nights ago, as I was cycling to my local station, a large cat walked across my path. As I got closer, the animal didn't seem to want to get out of the way. I made a cat sound to make it move (hey, it works with cats) and was about to nudge it with my leg when I realised that it wasn't a cat. It was a lot longer. I then thought perhaps it was a tanooki (racoon), but it was too cat-like. Then I realised it was a civet cat. I didn't know they had them in Japan? I remembered that in China they were carriers of the SARS virus, so I got out of there, faster than a guy who thought he was getting lucky then did the reach around and felt a warm sausage and a big bag of nuts. The animal slunked off down a side alley, calm-as-you-like. The bugger must have known that his sh*t was worth more than I was. Couldn't get a picture. Damn. Should've grabbed the bugger and fed it some of the coffee beans I have in my home, then 'processed' the results.
Nuts! Or should that be 'beans!'?

Then a thought hit me. If civet sh*t can fetch such a high price, then what about other such animals? I've seen another animal on the street near my home. A great big tanooki (Japanese racoon). If I could feed one some coffee beans and process the racoon sh*t, maybe I could make a fortune?
Here's a Tanooki:
By the way, those aren't legs.

I know this animal has the balls for the job, but am I nuts enough to try it?

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Blogger Sean Gamble said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:05 am

Blogger T. Benjamin Larsen said...

Some really funny shit* those luwak-illustrations of yours. I actually made a small animation about the Luwak coffee some time back, in case you're interested.


*Nominee for the Bi-annual Worst-Pun-Ever-Award.

4:19 pm


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