Pho is a small chain of family owned Vietnamese cafes. They have 5 branches in London and one in Brighton (UK). There are two branches in the west end, one in Clerkenwell, and one apiece in the Westfield shopping centres in Shepherds Bush and Stratford E15. Their food is both good and modestly priced but it was only recently that I noticed they sold weasel coffee for £5.95 a cup. This struck me as cheap for the world’s ‘most expensive’ coffee – since I remembered reading newspaper articles a few years back about how the brasserie at the Peter Jones department store in London’s Sloane Square was selling a single cup of this rare brew for £50 (US $79.00) a cup.
Pho offered the following description of the coffee in their menu: “For the more adventurous try one of the rarest coffees in the world exclusive to Pho in the UK – Chon Ca Phe aka Weasel coffee. This coffee is eaten, digested and then passed by Vietnamese weasels – a process that dramatically enhances the flavour of the deliciously tasty roasted beans! Served with or without condensed milk.”
I talked to a waitress about the coffee and she said that although a lot of people expressed interest in it and wanted to ask her questions about it, not so many actually ordered and drank it. What put people off it seems is the fact that after the weasels ate the beans they then passed through their digestive tract. A weasel eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through weasel’s intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness than other types. Weasel coffee is widely reputed to be the most expensive in the world – with prices reaching as much as $160 per pound.
I’ll try almost anything once as long as it doesn’t entail cruelty – and my understanding was the shat out coffee beans were recovered from the poo of wild – or at least free range – weasels. At Pho the coffee came in a filter cup and I had to wait for the hot water to pass through the filter before drinking it. Since I usually drink espresso I didn’t bother adding the condensed milk that came separately. The coffee was reasonably strong and definitely less bitter than I’m used to. To make a comparison with whiskies, the weasel coffee was like a smooth Speyside – whereas the espresso I make at home is more like a smokey and fiery Islay. And yes you guessed right, Islay and not Speyside is my whiskey of choice. I don’t want a smooth whiskey or coffee, I like the kick of Islay and bitter espresso.
So I’ll leave Chon Ca Phe to those who are grooved by Speyside whiskey – the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee is not for me! And can anyone tell me whether a reassuringly expensive £50 cup of weasel coffee is any better than one that costs £5.95 from Pho?
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by Dr. Clean & His Enema Machine on 2012-02-29 00:54:40 +0000
This post is complete shit!
Comment by Fat Freddy’s Cat on 2012-02-29 01:14:35 +0000
I don’t know where you get the dope on this stuff but this post is the shit!
Comment by UK Bargain Hunter on 2012-02-29 01:41:33 +0000
£50 for a cup of coffee! Now that’s what I call expensive!
Comment by Steven Everall on 2012-02-29 09:58:13 +0000
The truth is that weasel coffee tastes like piss – or at best like the coffee you’d get on a German ICE (Inter-City Express) train.
Comment by Ed The Weasel on 2012-02-29 10:34:31 +0000
Something in my gut tells me I’m being ripped-off….
Comment by Jo Thornton on 2012-02-29 15:48:15 +0000
Do you know if it is safe for people with cat allergies to drink weasel coffee?
Comment by Captain Latte on 2012-02-29 17:18:07 +0000
Served with condensed milk! Yuk!
Comment by David Moss on 2012-02-29 17:42:00 +0000
I totally agree about the flavour, I found the weasel poo stuff very musky and too smooth and creamy, the analogy of a Speyside malt is perfect really.
Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-02-29 23:50:01 +0000
thanks – I’m convinced that weasel coffee is for those who – for reasons I can’t fathom – prefer Speyside to Islay malt!
@ Jo Thornton – I don’t know for sure. Obviously weasels aren’t cats but those that are allergic to cats might also be allergic to weasels… although the cleaning process for the beans means any pieces of fur or saliva that have got onto them have probably been safely removed. So my guess is that it should be safe for those with cat allergies to drink weasel coffee.
Comment by Leslie Bronson on 2012-03-01 01:09:07 +0000
I feed my cat Trixie coffee beans and then after she’s passed them back out clean and dry them before making coffee with the beans. Brixton cat coffee (from the most famous part of south London) is way better than weasel coffee!
Comment by Sexy Lexicographer Who Is Totally Naked & Waiting For You! on 2012-03-01 01:52:59 +0000
Weasel words are like a flea in your ear and probably about as much fun as weasel coffee…..
Comment by Catweazle on 2012-03-01 09:21:09 +0000
If you want to drink something outstandingly second-rate why bother with weasle coffee? Why not go the whole hog and buy Nescafe Gold?
Comment by Michelle Martin-Wallace on 2012-03-02 02:48:06 +0000
Tastes like crap.
Comment by Bill Thunder on 2012-03-02 03:01:05 +0000
Bill Thunder I’ve started making my own. I’m making a mint on the black market. Proof that people will buy any old shit.
Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2012-03-02 03:17:49 +0000
See, you CAN polish a turd after all.
Comment by Shirley Chillaxalotte on 2012-03-02 22:29:05 +0000
Rat shit ristretto! Helps a mugsworth chillax!
Comment by Professor Fraser on 2012-03-03 00:50:03 +0000
Comment by Regular Guy on 2012-03-03 12:55:51 +0000
Most people eat shit everyday at work so don’t know what’s so different about drinking shit coffee too.
Comment by half a pound of tuppenny rice on 2012-03-03 16:26:50 +0000
Pop goes the weasel!
Comment by I Was Iain Sinclair’s Goffer on 2012-03-03 22:29:49 +0000
Westfield Shopping Centre is a blight on Shepherds Bush, but the Olympics development including the Westfield Shopping Centre there has totally ruined Stratford.
Comment by Trend Watcher on 2012-03-20 16:47:01 +0000
And now some industrialist has announced he’s producing panda poo tea – and it’s even more expensive than weasel coffee!