Monday, June 29, 2009

Civet Coffee aka kopi Luwak

I was able to get hold of some Civet coffee beans and was able to produce some 600 grams of coffee powder. Can you believe 600 grams when a kg of this exotic beans are priced $ 350 and above (US$33.00) per cup. The beans were painstakingly collected over a span of 1 year. The worst part is, the beans are not available throughout the year, You get it when it rains. And secondly thou coffee is extensively grown in chikamaglur, civets are more common in coorg. A very good friend of mine has an estate in coorg and thanks to them that they collected the beans for me.

This rare coffee has the distinction of being consumed before the connoisseur has even taken a sip. The palm civet (Kaadu bekhu/Mungusi), a cat-like animal also called a luwak, ingests fresh coffee cherries but doesn't digest the beans inside. The civet smells & eats the ripest and tastiest of the berries. After the beans pass through the civet's digestive system, The dung is collected and bean are washed and dried. Supposedly, the civet's digestive enzymes make the beans less acidic, improving the coffee's flavor. Most of the beans that are collected in Indonesia are exported and in India the beans are never bothered.

Well getting it roasted is a difficult job, it should not be microwaved. And there is also a risk of civet powder getting mixed with other powder if you get it done outside. My mom hand roasted the beans in a vessel with sand in it to get the right color. Once done it was grinded in a Mixer. We did not mix any chicory and the coffee was prepared the way a filter coffee is prepared.

I thought a civet coffee party (Coffee with Chandan) would be a good reason to invite people home and the party was yesterday. It was fun and everyone loved the coffee. It is very smooth and the aroma was heady. The flavor remains on your tounge for hours if you dont eat anything in between. Its not just me, everyone had some really good opinion about it. I still have some powder left, any coffee lover in Bangalore can drop in and have a cup for free. Do E Mail me before 03.07.09 and you 'll hav to give me one good reason for why I should invite you.

P.S. My mom told me lately that my granddad had a coffee farm long back and those were the days when money was hard to come by. All the produce were sold. However they were using civet beans at their place as they were considered to be of the lowest quality and did not hav any market value then. Just imagine, my mom and uncles grew up drinking civet coffee every day. The beans are called hanuklu in kannada

Monday, June 22, 2009

Right to live

Lately I watched the movie Transformers for the nth time and the following dilogue from the movie kept me thinking.

Ironhide: Why are we fighting to save the humans? They're a primitive and violent race.

Optimus Prime: Were we so different? They're a young species. They have much to learn. But I've seen goodness in them. Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.

So true, Every living being has the right to live. We human beings, the dominant species are suppressing other species. We are disrupting the evolutionary cycle or controlling the evolution to some extent. If other animals are given an opportunity to evolve, they may be of some benefit to us. I'll talk about the benefits later. We know south America is sparsely populated as compared to other continents and at the same time it has Amazon jungle where flora and fauna is diverse. We will have to relocate existing human population and spread them across the world. Thou relocation to a new place in short notice is a bad idea south Americans will benefit from being upgraded to a developed nation. Now South America will have to be declared neutral continent and should not even be visited by researchers. From then on we should let the continent evolve. The biggest issue will be relocation of tribes who are leaving in jungles. We will have to select suitable evergreen rain forest across the world and hav to relocate them there. Some people may perish or may not be able to survive, It'll be a small sacrifice as we are promoting something bigger.

Now if something bad happens and the entire human population is wiped out from the face of planet; We will hav an entire continent which is set in a state of evolutionary process devoid of humans. This may sound crazy but imagine, instead of things starting from scratch, we will have it start from say 5% or 20% of completed evolution. You may also say that existing forest are sufficient. But I strongly feel that the constant human interaction with forest has made it useless and we are shaping the living organisms to our benefits and the evolution is not happening the way nature wants it to happen. So we require an uninterrupted evolution somewhere out there in south America.

Now the advantage part, How many times do you think someone from a different planet has landed on earth and tried to bring back dinosaur to life ? Well I don't think that has ever happened. However we are very close to bring back woolly mammoth to life and are even capable of bringing back dinosaur if we get the right set of DNA from right set of fossils. Its a know fact that its much easier for a life form from earth to bring back life to an old life form of earth. So in an event of catastrophe we can expect a faster evolution in the neutral continent of south America and animals there may one day dig out fossil of humans and inject life to extinct homosapeians. Its something like we helping other species who may help us out in an event of disaster.

Its just a far fetched concept of mine. There may be better ideas floating around. But at the end of the day as optimus prime tells, Freedom is the right of all sentient beings

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Book of Family Records

Being born into a big family has its own advantage or rather disadvantage for people like me. There is a not so interesting game that is regularly played in our family circle. The game is called "who has got how much marks". The rules of game is very simple, compare your marks or to be more precise your academic performance with that of your cousins, friends and siblings. Well there is no prize for winners. The game becomes tough when you have really good performers as competetors. Since I was the eldest of the lot there was a huge expectation of what target I would set, but ironically after few years I was declared retired from the game and now I'm a mere spectator. As you can see, 70% average marks will not make you eligible in the game. So getting in is also tough. But I do hav a set of record that will remain intact for years to come, i.e. " Maximum number of flunk in Math Tests". Well the game has a very dark side, wish there was a better way of recognising talent.