The common belief is that bats are the true vampires. However, as is well known, many are actually frugivorous or nectarivorous. But did you know that there are some bats that love coffee cherries? Discover in this blog what they are, how this coffee is made, and what makes it so exotic.
What is bat spit coffee?
Unlike Black Ivory and Kopi Luwak, this coffee is not harvested from the feces of elephants or civets. In fact, the coffee cherries are not even consumed by an animal. Instead, it is an Arabica coffee that is chewed by bats.
What makes this coffee so exotic is definitely the way it is produced. These little bats chew on the outside of the coffee cherry while it is still attached to the plant. They use their teeth to remove the skin and try to eat the pulp and lick the sugar from inside the fruit. What’s left when the bats are done eating is coffee with a special new flavor.
How is bat-spit coffee made?
The coffee beans do not make the journey through the bat’s digestive system. Instead, the coffee cherry remains attached to the plant. After the fruit is chewed on by the bat, contact with the sun and air, combined with the digestive juices in the bat’s saliva, creates a unique and distinctive flavor.
After the fruits have been in contact with the bats, the further procedure with the coffee fruits is normal. The beans are harvested, dried and finally roasted. However, the production quantity for this coffee is limited.
Globally, this coffee is grown in two main growing regions, Costa Rica and Madagascar. The differences are the types of coffee grown and the different types of bats.
In Costa Rica, a small bat called Artibeus jamaicensi nibbles on coffee fruit. This bat lives mainly in the jungles in the south of the country. The local producer of the special bat coffee is called Sea Island Coffee and uses Arabica coffee beans of the Gesha variety.
Coffee is grown in the center of the country, in the province of Itasy.
Traditionally, the Robusta variety is the main coffee grown in Madagascar. However, the commercially and qualitatively most important variety is Arabica. Therefore, in this case, several producers have decided to start growing Arabica. Unlike Costa Rica, Bourbon Point Arabica is grown in Madagascar.
What does bat-spit coffee taste like?
The coffee bitten by bats is much milder but very aromatic. Its main tasting notes are floral and fruity. It is sweet and has a fine acidity. It is also characterized by a pleasant aftertaste. Unlike other coffees, its taste lasts longer and is not so acidic.
How much does bat spit coffee cost?
Unlike the other exotic coffees we found, this coffee is not so commercial. The reason for this is that only limited quantities are produced.
However, compared to the other exotic coffees, it is not that expensive. A 500-gram pack of Sea Island Coffee costs £85 (about $112 USD). It is one of the few companies that sell this type of coffee. It is produced in Costa Rica and you can buy it on their website or on Amazon.
The variety originating from Madagascar is even less commercial and harder to find outside the country.
Other exotic coffees
There are more products in this range of expensive coffees with rather strange origins – don’t miss them!