The lyrics were changed to “millionaire,” but the Chock folks were ahead of the game.
Along with infinite varieties and exotic permutations, certain coffees have gotten expensive indeed, most notably something called Kopi Luwak, which is $160 a pound. For the uninitiated, the brew owes its expense to the, uh, high-end production associated with it. Well, actually, it’s low-end. Kopi Luwak comes from coffee beans that have been eaten — and excreted — by the palm civet cat of Indonesia. The beans are later gathered by intrepid harvesters and roasted.
Detractors call it “monkey poo coffee” while waggish journalists claim it’s “good to the last dropping.” But hey, Malaysia-based Luwak Coffee will sell a 2-ounce bag for $35, or a $200 deluxe teak gift box with a pound of the stuff plus a lucite paperweight “containing a sample of natural Luwak coffee, exactly as it is found when hand-collected in the jungles of Sumatra.”
And as all those hand-collectors scurry after palm civets, coffee mania continues. Americans drink 300 million cups of coffee a day. Perhaps we shouldn’t get too excited about the expense of the monkey poo brew, either. The California-based Specialty Coffee Association of America advises that in 1683, a pound of coffee was worth as much as four acres of land. And for the jittery among us, they note, “strong-tasting coffee has no more caffeine than its weak-tasting counterpart.”
The U.S. Army may know more about caffeine than all the coffeemakers put together, however. Thanks to six years of research conducted at Walter Reed Hospital, the lightweight First Strike rations given to our combat troops overseas now contain Stay Alert gum — cinnamon flavored and packing 100 mg of caffeine. That’s about equal to the caffeine in two cups of coffee, meant to stave off fatigue-related injuries among sleep-deprived soldiers.
“Troops no longer have to resort to eating freeze-dried coffee grounds in the field to stay alert,” researchers advise.
Hoo-ah, we say. The gum has been endorsed by the National Academy of Science, Congress and several security agencies. And yes, it is available to us snoozy civvies at a special Web site (www.stayalertgum.com)
Jennifer Harper covers media, politics and jitters for The Washington Times’ national desk. Reach her at 202/636-3085 or email@example.com.
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