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Feb 20, 2011

Interesting Psak: Cat Poop Coffee

Sometimes I wonder how people think of these things...

really? you want to drink this?
Someone asked Rav Baruch Efrati about the kashrut status of a new type of coffee on the market. He says a new company has started making coffee from beans that have been extracted from the feces of a Felidae - a carnivorous member of the cat family, similar to a panther or a tiger. Supposedly this coffee is very good, and it is extremely expensive, but is it kosher?

Rav Efrati  responded by first saying that regarding the question of kashrut, only the Rabbanut is authorized to say whether it is kosher or not, therefore this discussion is only a perusal of the sources and theoretical.

To be brief and only pick out the salient parts (for the full response see Moreshet):
really really?
Rav Efrati discusses the sources of things that come out of a tamei animal being non-kosher and references the gemara, shulchan aruch and poskim that discuss whether it is allowed to drink the urine of a non-kosher animal or not. Many of the poskim say it is not allowed, but some are lenient for a sick person, even one not in any life threatening danger.

the difference in this case is that the coffee beans are not really manufactured by the animal, but they are from an external source and simply passed through the digestive system of the animal. With the discussion of urine focusing greatly on whether or not it is clear, with fecal matter that is not really an issue, and therefore some poskim say it would be not kosher. Others say that despite that, this is not part of the fecal matter, because it is clear that people eat it, and therefore would be kosher.

Another reason to refrain from eating it is the fact that it is disgusting and not normal to eat feces, as the Shach says that one should refrain from drinking human urine, even though halachically it is allowed.

After further discussion Rav Efrati says that taking the beans form the fecal matter is clearly not the same as eating fecal matter itself. Furthermore, you dont even eat the beans themselves, but you extract from them the juice/flavor. Even the fact that the animal feces has added flavor to the coffee bean, thus making it an unusually tasty coffee, that is also not considered eating a product of the animal, as the feces is also considered external to the animal and not a product of. And, possibly it loses the status of "food" by going through the digestive system, and then it happens to return to good standing afterwards, but is not considered food.

Rav Efrati concludes that theoretically drinking this coffee would be allowed, but is not recommended [as it is considered disgusting].

However, again, only the Rabbanut is authorized to say something is actually kosher, and there may be other ingredients and additives to consider, so this discussion is only theoretical.

I wonder who first picked the beans out of the droppings of a tiger and made a cup of coffee from them, and then decided to mass market it. How do they come up with these ideas?


CNN also discussed the "cat poop coffee", also known as Kopi Luwak.

6 comments:

  1. This has been around a long time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak
    It was a running joke in the 2007 buddy movie called "Bucket List" where the billionaire (Jack Nicholson) loves his Kopi Luwak, until his buddy (Morgan Freeman) reveals at the end how it's made:
    Jack: You're sh**ting me!
    Morgan: No, the cats beat me to it!
    (crosses "laugh until I have tears in my eyes" from his Bucket List).

    ReplyDelete
  2. This could help answer the disgusting question.

    http://coffeecupnews.org/country-club-plaza-episode-127/

    ReplyDelete
  3. perhaps it is new in Israel.
    It is on Moreshet, Ynet and now Srugim (and maybe more), and the question starts off talking about a new company producing this new type of coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd just look at that person who questioned the rav and say: "Really? REALLY?!"

    Obviously that person is DYING to drink that crazy coffee to be 'in' amongst his/her goyim friends and tried to find a loophole in Halachah to be able to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/07/of-civets-and-dinosaurs-miscellaneous.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ah, the Asian Palm Civet is not a member of the cat family, it a mostly vegetarian omnivore.

    ReplyDelete

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