You’ve probably heard of kopi luwak, the outrageously expensive coffee that’s made from coffee beans that have journeyed through the digestive system of civets, a cat-like critter found in Indonesia. The civets’ tracts supposedly makes the resulting coffee smoother and was prized by Dutch colonialists who discovered the brew through plantation workers who cleaned seeds that were found in civet poo, because they were forbidden from picking coffee fruits for their own cups of coffee, according to Time.
But the kopi luwak you can buy nowadays likely comes from caged animals and often isn’t the real deal at all. But if all you really want is a smoother cup of coffee, you can always turn to science. Camille Delebecque has a Ph.D. in microbiology and Sophie Deterre got her Ph.D. in food science and technology. Together, the founded Afineur, a company which aims to make the perfect cup of coffee putting beans through a fermentation process. It’s not exactly what happens in civets’ guts, but it does beat having to pick through their droppings.
The company’s Cultured Coffee goes through a fermentation process, thanks to microorganisms, while the beans are still green. They’re then roasted, and the resulting beans result in a less bitter, uniquely flavored cup of coffee. You can use any process you want to make your coffee, from pour-over to Keuring, according to its creators, and the brew will turn out equally delicious.
The pair turned to Kickstarter to launch the beans, and it’s already more than doubled its goal of $15,000. You can get a five-ounce pack for $29. Pricey, yes, but the version of kopi luwak you can find on Amazon starts at $45 for four ounces. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be brewing your un-bitter, civet-less Joe in December.