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Weasel Coffee arrives in Shepherd's Bush

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A local restaurant says it is introducing one of the rarest and most expensive coffees in the world to its menu.

The Pho Cafe in Westfield, which sells Vietnamese street food and specialises in the country's national dish, is now going to start serving “Weasel Coffee”, which will go on sale for £6 a cup.

The coffee, which comes from Vietnam, is produced after being eaten, digested and defecated by weasels, otherwise known as Asian palm civet cats, which live in the foliage of plantations across south-east Asia.

Pho's supplier, Ca Phe Vn, say the drink is: “One of the world's most expensive coffees, made from droppings of weasel-like civet cats. The fussy south-east Asian animals only eat the best and ripest coffee berries. Enzymes in their digestive system help to break down the bean. Workers collect the bean-containing droppings for Civet or Weasel Coffee. The popular Civet Coffee has a strong taste and an even stronger aroma. Some say it's an aphrodisiac.”

In 2002-3, the civet cat was linked to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus which began in Asia and killed some 800 people worldwide. Preliminary studies suggested the virus jumped from the civet, which is a delicacy in southern China, to humans. However, the World Health Organisation eventually concluded there was no firm evidence that the creature carried SARS.

A spokesperson for Pho said : “This type of coffee is regularly used in Vietnam with no problems for health whatsoever. Pho has served Weasel Coffee in various forms for a while but this type is absolute premium coffee. They will serve it because it's delicious, different and Vietnamese.”

The coffee is due to go on sale in three weeks' time.

July 16, 2009

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