Monday, April 19, 2010

Foolish, Ignorant Foreigners

I like coffee.  That trait makes me a bit odd in my family, as I seem to be the only one who does.  I like checking out exotic beans now and then, as they do indeed have subtly different flavors and tend to be much smoother than the standard Maxwell House (despite how certain people claim they can't tell any difference).  I don't care enough to drink gourmet coffees with any regularity, however.

One of the weirder coffees around is kopi luwak, or civet-poop coffee.  Civets eat the coffee beans, then the hard, indigestible cores pass on out, and are retrieved by the intrepid poop-hunters of Indonesia.  The beans are washed, roasted, and ground into coffee.  I've never had any desire to try it, as it seemed rather unappetizing, all in all.

The New York Times ran an article about it today, and a couple things stood out.  One, the local Indonesians don't consider this stuff to be particularly good.  Second, they are clever entrepreneurs who know how to take advantage of stupid foreigners:
Alberto Pat-og, 60, a retired school principal, said he did not understand why foreigners were willing to pay so much for a cup of the stuff.
“We are a bit surprised,” he said. “A bit perplexed.”
His son, Lambert, 20, added, with a big grin, “We are ignorant.”
 I love the irony.  The pseudo-colonialists think they're taking advantage of the Indonesians because they clearly don't know just what it is they've got.  Trouble is, the Indonesians know exactly what they've got - it's civet poop, and if the foolish, ignorant foreigners are dumb enough to want to buy it, they're more than willing to sell it to them.

There are times when I absolutely love this world.

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