An entrepreneurial colleague from the elementary division decided to help keep everyone awake during the “dead” hours of the day. She put a few sachets of original White Koffie in a yellow Tupperware and tacked a sign on the wall behind it: Rp1, 500 per sachet. It’s pricey as one pack of roughly 15 sachets cost Rp20, 000. Price notwithstanding, it became a successful side business. Partly because it’s a quick caffeine fix, it’s also because of the word luwak. Kopi Luwak (Indonesian civet or civet coffee) is branded as Indonesia’s premiere coffee with a cup costing between Rp30, 000 and Rp70, 000. I was game to have a cuppa until I learned that the beans are harvested from the civet’s dung. Not even the prodding of my friend who swears of its goodness could push me to take a wee sip. Sipping something from dung didn’t really sit well with me.
I’m not a true coffee drinker, in all honesty, unlike my mum who takes it black. My first cup of coffee, in fact, was more like milk-flavoured coffee. And that I frequent Starbucks and Coffeebean when I’m in Jakarta proper doesn’t really qualify me as a serious coffee drinker. But I caved in, needing to stay awake long enough to finish marking all the extended essays and final exam scripts. Now, I even crack jokes about civet coffee. I’d ordered a cuppa – non-sachet, mind you – at Warung Satria but it was taking a long time for my cup to reach my table.
“Maybe they’re still lovingly coaxing the civet to go to the bathroom,” I remarked to my friend.