this little fella is an asian palm civet. the locals in southeast asia call him Luwak. he and his buddies are coffee plant raiders. during the night, they roam and scavenge for food, fondly drawn to coffee berries, where they tend to pick the ripest and sweetest. they are coffee terrorists, stealing and devouring the beans given by God to his children, intended for our enjoyment, perhaps our very survival as a species! shame on you, Luwaks!!
ah, but the story doesn’t end there. there are also some fine people in southeast asia. mighty fine! during the day, while the little terrorists are asleep, having eaten their fill of coffee cherries the night before, these fine individuals do a little scavenging of their own. they hunt down the little piles of luwak feces, and recover those eaten coffee cherries, which for some reason are not completely digested by the little coffee-critters. they do this because they know that something in the digestive system of the civet takes away coffee-bitterness, leading to an amazing cup of coffee.
what initially begins in a pile of crap becomes something special. something fine. something awesome and wonderful – and impossible without having first been crappy.
the kopi cherries (kopi is indonesian-speak for coffee) are then washed and gently roasted to create – get this – the finest and most expensive coffee in the world: Kopi Luwac. coffee of the civet.
the critters are little, and don’t eat a whole lot, so the coffee is rare. only about 1000 pounds are produced and distributed each year. you won’t find a cup just anywhere, but you can get one at the heritage tea room in queensland, australia, for $33.00 a cup. or in london’s sloan square for $99.00 per cup.
talk about coming out of a bunch of crap smelling like a rose! or even better – like a fine cup of joe!
there’s an ancient story in the bible, in the book of genesis, of a boy being sold into slavery by his brothers. they hated him and decided to be rid of him. they were fraternal terrorists, first dumping their brother in a pit, then selling him to slave-traders. years later, when reunited with them, after having risen to national power in egypt, joseph said to his brothers: you intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. he brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. (gen. 50.20)
in this case, God did the same thing he has done with his strange and divine orchestration of kopi luwac coffee. using – even designing – a crappy situation to produce something special. something fine. something awesome and wonderful and impossible without having first been in the crapper.
psalm 30 says…
you have turned my mourning into dancing. you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy…
and isaiah 61.3 sings…
to all who mourn in israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
next time your life or circumstances seem to be in the crapper, remember that God is all about redeeming – designing even – bad situations, turning them to good. special. fine. awesome and wonderful and impossible, without having first been in there.
what evil joy-terrorists mean as harm, God intends for good.
can’t you just smell the aroma?