Once again, the news media has exhumed stories about the ridiculous and ridiculously expensive Kopi Luwak bean: Chron.com | Rare Indonesian coffee bean picked from civet droppings. According to this latest article, we can apparently blame this foolishness on many of our money-to-burn California compatriots hard up for interesting Christmas gift ideas.

This freak show novelty appeals to the nouveau riche stereotype — i.e., those who know the price of everything but the value of nothing. Mentioned on TV a couple of years ago (including CSI-Las Vegas and The Oprah Winfrey Show — too bad those shows don’t merge, eh?), it has faded from and re-entered the vernacular of gourmet and luxury good conversations every so often like a visiting comet.

The bottom line is this: they are essentially coffee beans that have been eaten and crapped out by feral Indonesian weasels. Call it a delicacy, because it comes with a $175 per pound price tag. If I could bag my bodily functions for that premium a price, you can bet that I’d cash in and spend it all on Malabar Gold beans.

We should all hope that these will be my last words on this tedious subject. But here’s the Wikipedia entry if you’d like to know more:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak

UPDATE: April 3, 2007
If you thought that people drinking coffee crapped out by weasels was a problem, imagine being the Philippine government where you have to contend with locals eating all the weasels: AHN | Philippine Coffee Traders Call For The Preservation Of Civet Cats | April 3, 2007.