Famous musician, recording engineer, and noted polymath renaissance man Steve Albini had to get it wrong sometime, right? The AV Club has this feature out today on Mr. Albini’s love of all things kopi luwak, so yes, the answer to that rhetorical question is “yes.” In it, he explains to the iPhone cameraman that the palm civet is more efficient than a human picker, picking the “prettiest, reddest, ripest cherries”. You know those animals are just getting force fed baskets of cherry in cages, right?
TO BE FAIR, in talks with some exporters out of Indonesia, there are examples of “free range” civet farms, where civets are in much larger spaces – free to crawl up coffee shrubs and eat cherry (some are even picked up and petted like a common house cat). But it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that the $4 a pound Vietnam public market Steve is brewing was harvested in such a manner. They save that fancy stuff for Dean & Deluca.
But girl, for real, civet exploitation is rampant, that coffee does not taste good, and even if it’s sprayed with some chemical chocolate flavoring – it ain’t worth $500/lb. Kopi luwak is a ridiculous, literally disgusting fad that retards the public valuation of specialty coffee. No one thing – be it an animal’s digestion tract, or a coffee farm planted by ancient aliens, or whatever gimmick you want to make up – can make a coffee “less bitter” or “more special” tasting, because, oh jeez, just read this article please. We explain it all there.
Steve Albini is closely associated with the city of Chicago, where he’s run his legendary Electrical Audio studios since 1997. Mr. Albini, there are a great many delicious coffee bars in your city at which you can – and should – enjoy fine non-kopi luwak specialty coffee. We recommend:
The Wormhole (1462 N Milwaukee Ave, Wicker Park)
Bow Truss Coffee Roasters (406 N Wells)
Gaslight Coffee Roasters (2385 N. Milwaukee Ave)
Ipsento (2035 N Western Ave)
Caffe Streets (1750 W Division St)
And a great many more! Stop encouraging animal abuse and the cycle of gimmickry by discontinuing your regular importation of luwak coffee from Vietnam. There’s so much better coffee out there, so we hope you enjoy the lot of it. And Steve, because you helped give the world so many classic albums – “In Utero“, “No Pocky for Kitty“, “Libertine“, your own “Songs About Fucking” – please go ahead and visit any of those cafes on the list up there, and tell them Sprudge sent you. The next cup’s on us, friend!*
*Note to owners / marketing directors / baristas of the above listed companies: We will happily reimburse you for one (1) cup of Steve Albini coffee at any point between now and December 31st, 2013. Please email merchant’s receipt of purchase to SteveAlbiniCoffee@Sprudge.com for prompt restitution.
Offer is only available for Steve Albini, and does not include other members of Shellac, dudes in town to record at Electrical Audio, or members of the Electrical Audio web forums.