Santhanam Gopalakrishnan Iyer (let’s call him Sandy for short) was proud of his Tamil Iyer heritage. After all his grandfather (too long a name, let’s just call him Thatha) was Director General of Schools in Kerala. His father (another long name, let’s just call him Appa) was an IAS Officer from the 1976 batch and had a long distinguished service. Sandy was no less an achiever. He had completed his Chartered Accountancy when he was 22, his Cost Accounting credentials were proved when he cleared those exams when he was 23, and as if this was not enough he also became a Certified Company Secretary when he was just 25 yrs old.
Sandy was more than convinced that along with the wonderful gene pool which he inherited from his achiever grandparents and parents, the secret to his success was a strict regime that he followed on a daily basis. Getting up at 5 AM, brushing his teeth and completion of his morning ablutions, followed by a cup of hot filter coffee was the secret to his sprightliness in the mornings. Sandy was a worshipper of caffeine in its purest form, the decoction concocted by having the same filtered through a stainless steel coffee filter, and he had to have filter coffee in the mornings, no matter what condition the rest of the world was in. This and the fact that Sandy was a strict vegetarian as was the norm for all TamBrahms also reinforced his belief that filter coffee and vegetarian food were the secret of his success.
By the time he was 30 yrs old, Sandy was a globe-trotter in every sense of the world. His high profile Management Consultancy job took him to extremely offbeat places such as Bosnia, Ethiopia, Liberia and closer home, to the South East Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. And irrespective of whatever else he packed, he ensured that his faithful Salem Stainless Steel coffee filter made all these trips with him. In all the cities he went, he made it a point to taste the best local coffee, buy a couple of hundred grams of the same, and prepare and drink his early morning filter coffee without fail. He also made it a point only to have strict vegetarian food in all these exotic countries as well.
And as fate would have it, his fortune and fame only increased, which reinforced the faith in his strict morning regime and vegetarianism.
On one of these trips to Indonesia, he happened to come across a coffee which was called Kopi Luwak and based on the recommendation of his local host, he bought some of it. And true to its reputation, the coffee was nothing short of extraordinary. In fact, Sandy liked it so much that he immediately bought a couple of kilos of the same and took it back home. And as if the stars were aligned in his favor, this Indonesian trip gave such a fillip to his already successful career that Sandy was soon ascending the stairs to stardom in his given field. He was made partner in his firm, the youngest person in the firm’s 300 yr history to make partner, he got married to the daughter of one of the country’s biggest automotive component manufacturer’s Board of Directors, his good fortune just went into orbit.
And all this time, he credited it to the wonderful effects of Kopi Luwak which his local host used to regularly parcel to him from Indonesia every two months or so. Sandy became a fanatic of the coffee and loved it so much that he modified his morning regime to include a second coffee after breakfast as well. He also gave equal credit to his strict vegetarian diet as well, for his streak of good luck.
His next assignment in Indonesia was with the Government department for Spices and Cash Crops. And when he reached there, by virtue of his assignment he was invited by one of the biggest producers and plantation owner to his coffee estate where his favorite brand, Kopi Luwak was grown. In the six years that Sandy had started drinking this brand, his fortunes had soared so much that at some levels he felt obliged to the coffee bean itself to make the visit to the plantation.
And when he reached the plantation, he was invited to the processing plant where all his notions about the brand and his strictly vegetarian diet came crashing down on his head.
Kopi Luwak in Indonesian local dialect meant civet coffee, and these were beans of coffee berries that had been eaten and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet.
All these days Sandy’s fortunes were because he had been drinking animal shit. And that is why ignorance indeed is bliss, he thought to himself.
All the points in the above post about Kopi Luwak are true. Read this Wikipedia entry to know more about the coffee.
I first heard about this coffee in the movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
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