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A Cup of Unusual Brew

I know by now that human lives can be diverse beyond imagination.

But I still believe that even after accounting for all the things that I personally might be incapable of imagining, certain boundaries might exist.

But the more I travel, the more I see the lives in other cultures, it is slowly dawning upon me that such boundaries do not exist.

We speak of innovation and disruptive innovation beyond existing practices in every domain… but even if we were to list out all the possible existing practices and integrate them through some deep analytics, we might have something huge – something of the magnitude of the 23&me project by google.

A sip of my morning coffee reminds me of my original thought for this note …


Semaran, Indonesia.

As we stroll outside a charming restaurant after lunch, I notice the beautiful buildings and the accents. IMG_5974IMG_5968

And then eventually this:


Curiosity made me take those 10 post-lunch-lethargic steps in the sun and walk over to the metal structure that I do not recognise as a cage, until I see a little animal sleeping peacefully inside.

I’m satisfied thinking it is some random cat and move on toward the store. Until my google-replica husband walks to the spot and begins to tell me all about this. My usual response after 30 years of receiving unsolicited education from him is ‘DID i ask??’ – which when translated into the demure-Indian-wife-speak (that I doubtlessly am) translates into a quiet “oh ok”.



But this time I was glad to hear the story – because the world seems to have run out of things with which to alarm me. And getting alarmed is good – it keeps me from getting too complacent in my ‘I’ve-seen-it-all’ couch.


So the people of these islands had coffee plantations for a long time. Once upon a time the plantation was visited by Luwak or Civet cats. This was a problem since the cats ate up the coffee beans and destroyed the cash crop of the farmers. But later the farmers found that these coffee beans were not digested by the cats and they were eventually excreted as whole coffee beans.

So they collected these again, processed them, ground them and used them to brew their coffee.

Now to their surprise, they found that these coffee beans had a unique flavor –  a flavor that they enjoyed!!

And so, various methods have been devised to attract the wild Luwak to eat the original beans and then use the excreted beans for coffee……………………………………………………………………………..


Not including the psychological costs, (only paid by outsiders like me), even the pure monetary premium on  these beans is very high.


The hot sun, the post-lunch stupor were all forgotten and all that I could think of was this!

Mr. Google-Replica refused to buy any .. saying that Civet Cats were the cause of SARS – and it may not agree with our constitution and some glands that gave it the flavor and and and …………


The adventure of Indonesia begins!


Back to Indonesian Archipelago Diaries


Dec 2015





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