Poo brews, charcoal and monkey spit: Most extreme coffees in the world

Rare and expensive coffees are all the rage now. Coffee connoisseurs are turning to the most unlikely of sources for that special cup of joe.

But would you pay upward of $50 for a cup brewed from beans pooped out by an Indonesian cat? What about grounds from an elephant brew? If, surprisingly, you answered yes then you're not alone.

Would you make the switch to one of these extreme coffees?

1. Black Ivory aka Elephant Dung coffee

(Picking coffee beans out of elephant dung. (AP Photo))

Few things are possibly as unappetizing as the idea of rifling through mountains of elephant poop. But that's just what harvesters of this extremely rare-- and shockingly expensive-- coffee do. Beans are gathered by hand from Thai elephants that have feasted on coffee beans. The result is a "delicate but complex" taste without the bitterness of a traditional brew that is best enjoyed with the usual additives like cream and sugar. Beans are available for $66 for just 35 grams but most people try the stuff at luxury hotels.

Price: $13 to $50 a cup 

2. Kopi Luwak civet dropping coffee

(An Asian palm civet and logs of its feces with coffee beans ready for harvest. (iStock))

Known as the world's most expensive expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak beans are harvested after they have been eaten and passed through the digestive system of the Asian palm civet, a cat-like creature native to Southeast Asia. The brew is renowned for its smooth chocolate-caramel-like flavor. Recently, the practice of harvesting the coffee beans has come under scrutiny by animal rights activists who criticized the unsanitary, often cramped conditions of the animals. But the coffee is still widely available through online retailers like Amazon.com and specialty food stores Dean & Deluca.

Price: $25 to $120 for 1/2 pound

3. Kopi Joss or charcoal coffee


Since when did a lump of burning coal become a delicacy? Indonesians have been enjoyed Kopi Joss for years. While dropping a lump of charcoal into coffee is relatively cheap, this uncommon practice makes this coffee a novelty. Charcoal is known to help neutralize acidity in the stomach but locals also drink it to imbibe "strength." It's reportedly very sweet.

Price: about $1 per cup

4. Brazilian Jacu bird dropping coffee

(Jacu Bird Coffee)

Brazil's answer to the popular civet coffee uses of the jacu bird to perform a similar digestive feat on plain old coffee beans. Also very rare, the flavor profile for jacu bird coffee seems to vary wildly. One grower claims it has a "nutty flavor with nuances of sweet aniseed," while another site praises the brew for its "intoxicating aromatic complexity of truffle, rose, leather, red fruit, cedar and spice." We think we'd prefer wearing leather than drinking it.

Price: Up to $250 for 1 pound

5. Monkey spit coffee


Where would coffee lovers be without the aid of spitting, pooping mammals? Taiwanese farmers are producing a type of coffee from the spit of Formosan macaques—a small grey monkey native to the country. The monkeys feast on ripe coffee berries then spit out the seeds, which they can not digest. So instead of pooping out prized beans, these mini apes apparently have sweet spittle that imparts a faint but floral vanilla-scent to the seeds they chew.

Price: $56 a pound