Going batshit for bat spit coffee

Illustration for article titled Going batshit for bat spit coffee
Photo: Connie Kerr (iStock)

Yeah, you read that right. There is something in our marvelous, marvelous world called bat spit coffee. It’s a product of Madagascar, Reuters reports, it sells for $110 a pound, and it’s reviving the country’s coffee economy.

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Bat spit coffee is not a euphemism. Two years ago, an entrepreneur named Jacques Ramarlah introduced bourbon pointu coffee beans, an arabica varietal, to the Itasy province in central Madagascar, where farmers had previously only grown lower-quality robusta beans, used in instant coffee. Shortly afterward, Ramarlah noticed that wild bats were chewing on ripe coffee cherries and that the reaction between the bats’ digestive fluid and the air did something to the beans that rendered unusually smooth and delicious brewed coffee. (Unlike civet coffee or elephant dung coffee, the beans don’t have to travel through the entire bat digestive system.)

Now Ramarlah works with 90 local farmers in a coffee-growing collective that produced two tons of bourbon pointu beans in 2019. They’re aiming for 20 tons in 2021, which they plan to export to Japan and what Reuters calls other “discerning markets.” Only a small portion of that will be the bat spit coffee, though. So if you need an excuse to visit Madagascar, here’s a good one.

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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