Civet coffee

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  • #1779110

    K-cup
    Participant

    Is civet coffee kosher? Would it be considered a byproduct of the animal? Or are the coffee beans always their own entity. My LOR has never heard of this kind of coffee.

    #1780408

    Amil Zola
    Participant

    The same would hold true of Argan oil.

    #1780416

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    My LOR has never heard of this kind of coffee.

    I guess I’m in good company

    #1780447

    rational
    Participant

    Interesting question. My assumption would be that civet coffee is not kosher, as the civet is not a kosher animal. היוצא מן הטמא , טמא. Since the coffee attains its special properties from its travels through the animal, the bean would not be considered an independent product, but rather a product of the animal.

    Argon oil, if processed by goat droppings, would be kosher, as the goat is a kosher animal. היוצא מן הטהור, טהור

    #1780446

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Mitzad hilchos kashrus it is 100% kosher. The beans are not part of the animal! However, I would be inclined to asser it under bal teshaktzu.

    #1780445

    BaltimoreMaven
    Participant

    Seems that Civet (cat / monkey poop) coffee, as well as Black Ivory (elephant poop) coffee are both Kosher as the coffee beans are partially digested, but are rinsed and cleaned and roasted afterwards. If you can get over the “yuck” factor, and Pony up the $50 per cup it often costs, you may enjoy it. I don’t drink coffee and this just enforces my decision not to.

    #1780504

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Rational,

    Honey and Carnauba wax comes from bugs

    #1780508

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Rational, even if the bean is really changed by passing through the civet, it remains 100% kosher. Digested food becomes דם ובשר כבשרו, but undigested food does not, and retains its own kashrus status. Non-kosher food found in the stomach of a kosher animal is not kosher; kosher food found in the stomach of a non-kosher animal remains kosher. Therefore the same must be true of what is found in the waste from the stomach.

    Honey would not be kosher if not for the pasuk explicitly permitting it.

    Carnauba wax comes from palm trees, NOT insects, and is therefore kosher without any question.

    #1780517

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Milhouse – That is really interesting! I find it so strange (sad perhaps?) that a bottom feeding fish is not kosher because of what it eats, yet there are Jews looking to eat that same stuff.

    #1780533

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Milhouse,

    Cool, I learned something new!

    What passuk regarding honey? I thought דבש is date honey

    #1780646

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Actually the reason bee honey is mutar is because the honey is just regurgitated by the bees, it really is from flowers etc. Its actually similar to the civet coffee in that regard except the bees use their mouths, I think/hope!

    #1780652

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    It’s a machlokes.

    :בכורות ז

    #1780665

    Amil Zola
    Participant

    Rational, thanks!! Learning is a lifelong process and I appreciate your contribution.

    #1780747

    Harotzehbilumshmo
    Participant

    Rational: There is a line of reasoning to possibly argure on your assumption. Pri chodosh and others point out that the bees make changes through addition of enzymes to the nectar, and still the chachomim are matir. Must be that insignificant change does not make it yotzei min hatamei. The seems to be a sticky point (no put intended) when applying the heter of honey to other situations

    #1780746

    Harotzehbilumshmo
    Participant

    I really hope that no one is deciding halacha from these posts and asks their rav. As I assume that the OP is looking for information I would add the following: As a previous poster wrote, the reason why honey is mutar is a machlokes taanaim. If you paskin like those that say that the heter is a sevoroh (chachomim) that honey is not a product or excretion of the bee itself and rather just passes thru the bee (this itself is discussed in the achronim, as clearly there are enzymes that make changes to the nectar) there are those that say (see igros moshe y”d vol 2, I believe 24 but I don’t have it here now) that we can apply this heter to other similar instances (such as confectioners glaze). Others (I believe R’ Shlomo Zalman in Minchas Shlomo vol 1, and possibly R’ Elyashiv as he seems to say that its worth avoiding confectioners glaze, but does not give his reasoning) disagree and say that we can not make out own comparisons to be matir. If you paskin that it is a gezairas hakosuv (R’ Yaakov) its is trickier, and most likely specific to honey. See igros moshe. Additionally it is a machlokes if we paskin like R’ Yaakov or the chachomim (gemorah bechoros, above, see rosh, rambam, mechaber, etc, igros moshe, chazon ish and many more). It should be noted though that R’ Moshes heter for confectioners glaze, besides for different facts, was built on combination of 4 different reasons and can not be applied here. I hope this is academically accurate and helpful. All the best

    #1780769

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Why would you want to drink civet coffee anyway?

    #1780803

    Milhouse
    Participant

    a bottom feeding fish is not kosher because of what it eats,

    Huh? That is not true at all. What a fish eats, or where it eats it, does not affect its kashrus at all. Many bottom-feeding fish are kosher.

    #1780871

    Milhouse
    Participant

    Why would you want to drink civet coffee anyway?

    According to those who drink it, it tastes very good, much better than other coffees, which is why it’s so expensive. I’m sure they’re telling the truth, for the same reason that I’m sure lobster must be delicious: Why else would anyone eat something that looks so disgusting? To overcome the “bal teshaktzu” factor it must be really really good. In both cases, I’m happy to take their word for this and feel no temptation to test it myself.

    #1781036

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    From what I’ve heard, civet coffee used to be top quality because wild civets would pick out the ripest coffee cherries, but nowadays they are force fed coffee cherries of various levels of ripeness, so the coffee is just a novelty and doesn’t have the original advantage.

    #1781355

    I have heard that the star-k doesn’t allow it as it is Bal Teshaktzu

    #1781531

    rational
    Participant

    I am in the middle of reading a long piece in Tehumin 31 on this topic. I’ll follow up when I finish.

    In the meantime, bal teshaktzu is definitely a player here, but the coffee is unlikely to be forbidden because of this. The coffee bean looks normal, and certainly the coffee is not mi’us, on the contrary, it is supposed to be splendid. The disgusting aspect is only in the preparation and not in the product. The coffee drinker is not exposed to anything that would be considered m’shukatz, and based on this specific consideration, there is no issur bal teshaktzu and the coffee is permitted

    #1781584

    rational: I read what you wrote above however, since I asked and was told that Rabbi Heinemann holds it is Baal teshaktzu, I will abide by his psak.

    #1781745

    Milhouse
    Participant

    It seems to me that bal teshaktzu is by definition something that happens in the human mind. Nothing is objectively meshukatz; it’s all in how one thinks of it. Therefore it seems to me that the fact that the coffee looks normal, and the “drinker is not exposed to anything that would be considered m’shukatz”, should be irrelevant.

    The key point is that the drinker is exposed to the knowledge of how the coffee was produced, and that knowledge inevitably creates a subjective feeling of disgust, which the drinker suppresses only because his desire for the taste is so great. And it seems to me that that suppression is what the Torah forbids.

    However since the whole thing is so subjective I don’t think it can be subject to formal rules and psokim. The Creator made people different, אין דעותיהן שוות, and if someone genuinely feels no disgust at the thought of drinking this coffee — not that he has trained himself to suppress it, but that from the first he does not feel disgusted — then i t is presumably permitted for him.

    #1781759

    rational
    Participant

    Since most (not all) of us here are approaching this issue from a “talking in learning” standpoint, without getting involved in personal or denominational innuendo, I’ll allow myself a momentary switch to the other side.

    Indeed, bal t’shaktzu seems like a personal mental issur, where each person may have a different level of disgust for a certain product, rendering the issur highly subjective. However, we are used to the chachamim determining a measure of objectivity in many halachot, where the “average person” is the determiner, and outliers are disregarded, a “lo plug”. Therefore, it could very well be that this coffee is assur , as the average person spending $50 or so on a cup is well aware of the process and the process may be objectively m’shukatz. The fact that the drinker has adjusted mentally may not be enough to nullify a lo plug”

    But then we are in trouble. Why then, according to some sources in this sugya, is donkey (or camel and horse
    urine permitted ? (if it is assur, it is because of hayotze min… and not bal t’shaktzu) I don’t see it as being less disgusting than the civet coffee, maybe even more so. As another example, I have a relative who became vegetarian after seeing the “disgusting” process of shechitah . I venture that many many people would be similarly disgusted at what is seen in a shlachthois. Would they be forbidden to eat meat because of a personal bal t’shktzu? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I enjoy eating tongue, but I admit the thought of a tongue being cut out of the animal places me dangerously close to bal t’shaktzu. But I still eat it. Is this a problem? Hmm…

    Of course, we may end up with a simple solution. According to the personalized approach, anyone who wants to cough up that much money for a cup of this coffee is not disgusted and it is permitted. Anyone who is disgusted by it wouldn’t dream of spending the money. To each his own.

    I have not finished studying the article in Tehumin 31 (page 488? Rav Fishman authoring), but I’ll chime in again when I do.

    #1781858

    klugeryid
    Participant

    Rational
    I don’t know about this coffee, but tongue!!!! Delicious!

    BTW what about the issue of bal tashchis 50$ for a cuppa Joe?????!

    #1783236

    rational
    Participant

    I finished studying the comprehensive and lumdish analysis of this issue in Tehumin, volume 31, by Rav Fishman

    The issues discussed were:
    1. היוצא מן הטמא
    2. דג טהור שנבלע בדג טמא
    3. מי רגליים של חמור, גמל וסוס
    4. היתר דבש דבורים
    5. כבוש כמבושל
    6.בל תשקצו

    Most of the topics discussed in the article were mentioned here, although obviously, not in detail. All suggestions made here (personal bal t’shaktzu, changing the taste of the coffee rendering it assur, and others ) were considered, so no one was off base in our amateur discussion.

    Caveat: One can always be machmir. The question was is drinking this coffee permissible?
    The conclusion was that the coffee is kosher and there is no issur of bal t”shaktzu. Muttar.
    Even if we disagree on psak and lomdus, I venture we can all agree that this coffee is pricey.

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