Scientists look to take the pooping out of civet coffee

At first glance, coffee that's result of animal's bowel movements sounds pretty gross. But for anyone who's actually tasted brew from those poop beans (or a beer that features them), the process takes a backseat to the taste. And it makes for one of the most expensive cups of joe in the world. Well, a pair of scientists are skipping the civet's digestive tract when it comes to the flavors of the Indonesian Kopi Luwak coffee, opting for a fermentation process to achieve similar results. A company called Afineur has developed a two-day process that's "inspired by" the civets' work rather than recreating it exactly. It does, however, reduce the bitterness of the coffee and modify aroma just like the small animals do. Fermentation also adds another variable that can be tweaked to fine-tune flavor profiles -- on top of bean selection and roasting techniques. When Afineur's coffee goes one sale later this year, the price per pound should be between $50 and $100 -- cheaper than the several hundred dollar figure that civet-digested beans demand. Of course, you'll still need to decide on a brewing method once you're able to snag a bag.

[Photo credit: SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images]