The three times I’ve ordered a mocha latte, I’ve received something that looks like this. You’re doing it wrong, CCNY cafe.
What you’re looking at is 30 dollars in a cup, believe it or not. This is Kopi Luwak Arabica. Why is it so expensive? Well…
It’s all in the digestion… or production… process. You see, this coffee is made from beans that have been previously digested and crapped out by an Asian palm civet. In the picture above you can see an example of the coffee beans prior to cleaning and roasting, and the finished product on the left. The cost of the animal husbandry and the long process of securing the digested beans is what makes the coffee so expensive.
When I lived in Singapore I’d heard about this coffee. It’s mostly produced in Indonesia. I never did take the time to try it out while I was there, and of course I wasn’t about to spend 30 dollars on a cup of coffee here in the US, so I was happy to see a Groupon pop up for a 20 dollar discount at Jezalin’s, which is where I had my first kopi luwak experience.
Like the rest of the Limelight Market (corner of 6th Avenue and 20th Street in Manhattan), Jezalin’s has a really nice, classy atmosphere. When I got my cup of coffee, the girl behind the counter (also visible in the picture above) came over and showed me the display and explained the process. I was already familiar with where the coffee comes from, but it was fun to listen to her talk about it.
So, was it worth it? It was definitely worth the 10 bucks I wound up paying. The kopi luwak tastes like coffee, but it has a thicker taste to it. It’s not as strong as coffee. It has a more mellow, earthy (poopy?) taste to it. Oddly enough, I felt like taking a nap after finishing it off. At 30 bucks a cup, it’s not going to replace my morning cup of coffee, but it was a pleasant experience overall, and I’ll definitely convince my wife to try some.
Last year in June I purchased a drink at McCafe for the first time. It was the outlet in Pasir Ris’s White Sands mall. I ordered a double chocolate frappe and it was the most horrible drink I’d ever had. It was watery and bland. It didn’t taste of coffee or chocolate. It mostly just tasted of ice. The best part of the drink was the whipped cream on top.
Well, maybe it was the outlet or maybe things have improved with the quality of their drinks. Lately, while waiting to catch a movie at Downtown East, my wife have been getting drinks and sitting in the McCafe there to chat, read and kill time. When I go there I get an iced latte. It’s my favorite ‘fancy’ drink. Out of the three times I’ve bought that drink there I’ve had two hits and a miss. The one time the drink wasn’t good was because the girl gave me a glass of iced milk instead of a latte. Seriously. You couldn’t tell there was coffee in it at all. Thankfully, though, when I brought it to their attention they fixed the drink.
Anyhow, the quality of the drinks has gone up. I guess my original assessment isn’t valid anymore, because I’m loving the fact that I can get reasonably priced coffee there that’s good now.
The presentation is nice too:
One of the best things about Singapore, to me anyway, has been the food. Also, as a coffee lover, it didn’t take me long to try the Kopi that you can find at most every hawker center in Singapore. There are people that hate it, but somehow I got addicted to the stuff and love to have it after dinner whenever possible. I won’t go into the details of how it’s prepared, because I honestly don’t know them, but it’s well worth trying if you ever get the chance.
There are plenty of places you can go to get Kopi. Like I said, you can get it from hawker centers, but there are also fancier looking restaurants set up in malls that sell Kopi. Some of them call it coffee, like the place on the bottom level of White Sands in Pasir Ris (Kayakun Toast I think?), but it’s still the same, and it’s still good.
Here are some photos of Kopi Alley at Downtown East:
I really like the design theme they went with for Kopi Alley, and I was a bit surprised, considering what they sell. It looks nicer than a lot of so-called fine dining restaurants I’ve been in. By the way, the total cost for the items in the last 3 photos was only 5.30 SGD. That’s not too bad at all, and it was overkill. We went there after dinner and we wound up not finishing that chocolate spread toast, so we could’ve done without it. It was a bit too sweet too, but… what did I expect, ordering chocolate spread toast?