If you missed the cat shit coffee craze of five years ago, it’s back, and better than before. Even Dr. Jane Goodall is backing the Vancouver-based Doi Chaang Coffee Co.’s newest product because it’s organic and sustainably collected from the wild. At $500 a pound though, it may be cheaper to fly to the Doi Chaang village in Northern Thailand to scavenge for your own.
The cat crap brew that is the cat’s meow again is a product of the civet cat. When someone put two and two together, meaning civets & coffee and barf & poop, a beautiful thing was discovered. Civets eat the beans and pass them, creating lucrative stooping and scooping for the entrepreneurial Akha Hill tribe of Doi Chaang. Even regurgitated beans (cat barf) are collected and marketed as “spat” coffee as opposed to “passed” coffee.
Unfortunately, the Western popularity of civet crap coffee resulted in many of the wild civets being captured and caged to maximize profits. Apparently the civet-passed coffee has been around for decades, but only appreciated in Asian markets. As reported in “Brother, can you spare $500 for coffee?” (The Vancouver Sun, May 23, 2009) hunky Toronto chef Jamie Kennedy detected “honey notes and a deeply mellow chocolately earthiness.” Online food sites suggest bright and fruity flavour profiles for the litter box coffee. Deeply mellow chocolately earthiness? Really?
The civet coffee buzz can only lead to one thing: a really expensive crappacinno.
It seems like everyone is cashing in on shit lately. The swanky Shikuza Spa in New York is promoting a Geisha Facial which uses traditional and natural Japanese ingredients, like dried bird droppings, or uguisu no fun (and I didn’t even make that up). This spa treatment gives a new meaning to “getting shit-faced.” Somehow, some Geisha with waterproof mascara discovered that nightingale droppings could be used to remove make-up (I would love to know how exactly this discovery came about. Hmm, this soap and water just isn’t working. I know, that big pile of bird droppings on my window sill, I bet that’ll do the trick!). The Shizuka Spa website even suggests that this same Geisha noticed that the droppings helped “to brighten, heal and retexturize the skin due to natural enzymes and guanine, which imparts a pearly luster to the skin.” After all those years of dedicated Clearasil and Oxy Medicated Cleansing Pads use.
Pearly luster? I say save your $180 for the 60 minute facial, side-step the $500 pound of coffee and buy a flight to Mexico. Blast that potentially pearly porcelain luster with UV rays and H1N1. More than 20 coastal Mexican hotels have launched a “flu-free guarantee” this month in response to the Swine Flu that has drastically reduced the number of tourists tanked on tequila. With this guarantee, if you catch the H1N1 virus while vacationing (and obtain a blood test to prove it), you can get your next three vacations for free. As of May 17th, the virus had infected nearly 6,500 people worldwide, so odds are good. Besides, Mexico is generally associated with diarrhea anyway, what ‘s a little touch of the Swine Flu?
Real Resorts, AMResorts and Karisma’s El Dorado and Azul hotels (Cancun and Mayan Riviera) are participating in this promo for travel until December 20, 2009. If you are a winner and test positive for H1N1 within five days of departure you will be magically granted three return stays (valid for one traveler and one companion), one per year. This is an exceptional deal, provided you don’t die.
A safer bet that doesn’t involve cat or bird droppings would be a visit to Malaysia’s Sampuoton Spa. Flipping through a copy of Elle at lunch last week, I was sucked into the “ELLE HOT 100 List” that suggested an alternative beauty fix for dry, winter skin. Branding itself as the first “fish-therapy designer concept spa,” Garra Rufa fish from Turkey will nibble at your dead skin cells. The fish are intelligent too—they will only eat the dead and infected skin cells. Kindly, while snacking, the fish emit an enzyme that “prevents the fast development of cells on the skin.” The hour long treatment is inviting. Who wouldn’t want to slip into a thermal pool filled with Garra Rufa fish? I’m thinking NIGHTMARE, but the Sampuoton suggests that the treatment is relaxing, and you will only feel a mild tickling sensation.
When I visited the site to read more about this seemingly horrifying treatment I clicked on “The Fish” page. Here I learned that the Turkish Garra Rufa fish is actually from the carp family, is known as the “Doctor Fish” by working professors (not sure who they are referring to in that statement), and outside medical circles, the fish is better known as the Reddish Log Sucker. I can see why they decided to incorporate the more exotic Latin fish reference. Who would want a Reddish Log Sucker to eat their dead skin cells? The Garra Rufa Doctor fish, well, that fish has credentials and sounds smart.
The site wisely appeals to those searching for Zen and balance. “Recreation and Nature return. People may realize harmony between human and nature while playing with the fish in the pool while reaching the goal of promoting health recreation.” Who plays with fish? I had Sea Monkeys as a kid, and they were a scam. The comic book adverts said you could teach the smiling Sea Monkeys to play baseball. Yeah, right. This alone discourages me from playing with Reddish Log Suckers who have been eating the garbage off people I haven’t even met. And, if these Doctor fish are so awesome, shouldn’t they be in every public pool and hot tub? Imagine the dead skin available to those hungry nibblers. What a fantastic surprise for unsuspecting YMCA swimmers too as they feel the odd tickle while doing laps and later learn that the Suckers are providing a beauty treatment while they exercise. Sampuoton Spa goes even further—“after an hour of the fish nibbling session the skin becomes elastic, smooth and gives a healthy shine and a feeling of freshness.”
For feelings of freshness I use Dove green tea and cucumber deodorant and give my skin a healthy shine with eight glasses of water and a daily bowl of oatmeal. But, maybe I’ve fooled myself all these years by not trying to achieve the pearly luster of a Geisha by smearing bird shit on my cheeks. I willingly drank and ate fecal matter when I was in Africa which was just foolish. Now I know that a refined palate only chooses spat and shat civet coffee beans.
I guess the spa I work at has a long way to go. We thought clients enjoyed aromatic blends of citrus, lavender and eucalyptus. Tomorrow I’m going to submit a proposal to my boss about creating a Canada Goose Dung Facial and a Coast Mountain Crow Crap body wrap. If that goes successfully, I’m going to gather wild scat in the ravine behind my house and see what shit works best for removing tomato sauce and red wine stains. If the nightingale droppings helped the Geisha with her make-up removal, I bet bear poop studded with blueberries is good for something.