A cup is more than a cup sometimes

Published 8:12 pm Saturday, April 17, 2010

My grandmother, Dixie, had the proper idea of how to greet each morning. She’d brew some Folger’s in a percolator on the stove and take the steaming cup of java out on the back porch, inhale its sweet smell and sip it gingerly until the liquid cooled off enough to take deep drinks.

Folger’s, though, was her mainstay in the morning. If she had a cup after 2 p.m. she took some decaf. Sleep at night sometimes eluded this side of the family and my “Other Mother,” as I called her, did nothing to keep away the Sandman.

Thus, from about the age of 2, when she introduced me to a saucer mixture of half-and half (java heavily ladened with milk and poured into a saucer for a taste), I’ve been a coffee drinker.

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But not always Folger’s. Not until now.

I have always loved different coffees, especially those from Starbuck’s — Sumatra, Kenyan, Jamaican — you get the picture. Until I read an article in the New York Times recently about coffee from the Philippine highlands.

There’s a place in the Philippines known as the Cordillera. The coffee trees grow plentifully and animals pick the best of the coffee and dine on them. These animals, called civets, are captured by the coffee exporters because the beans ferment in their stomachs, producing a bean that is said to have a smooth, chocolate-type taste.

The writer of the NYT article called this bean, harvested from the poop of the civet, “gold.”

Some distributors send the beans to Japan and South Korea, the largest markets for these harvesters. The price of a 2.2-pound bag is $500, according to the story.

This is no new thing. The story says the Dutch in Indonesia and later Japanese soldiers during World War II loved the civet coffee.

The love for it died out shortly after World War II, then demand came back with a vengeance about three years ago as one of those speciality coffees.

Now, I believe my Other Mother had the right idea. I’m returning to Folger’s. Excuse me while I smell the scent rising from my cup this morning and look out over the Alabama River.

Leesha Faulkner is editor of The Selma Times-Journal. You may reach her at 410-1730 or leesha.faulkner@selmatimesjournal.com.