Steve Albini is a man of many fedoras. A noted recording engineer whose clients include Nirvana, The Ex, PJ Harvey, and Page And Plant among thousands of others, Albini is also a singer and guitarist in Shellac, a noted baseball enthusiast, a high-stakes poker player, a former journalist, and, in many ways, a soothsayer when it comes to the wisdom and foolishness of the music industry and its machinations.
Not too long ago, Albini started Mario Batali Voice, a blog about different meals he made his wife Heather and people have been raving over some of his concoctions ever since. Well, because he’s quite the cook, Albini took The A.V. Club up on a recent offer to prepare something in the client kitchen of his Electrical Audio recording facility in Chicago.
Rather than a full course though, he was quite keen to talk about and make some kopi luwak, or ‘weasel coffee,’ as he says it’s commonly known. Albini explains, somewhat gleefully, that this coffee, which he obtained from Shellac’s Bob Weston who recently visited Vietnam, is made from the beans of coffee berries that have been consumed and excreted by Asian Palm Civet cats (the aforementioned ‘weasels’) and then harvested by farmers. Farmers who sort through shit for this kopi luwak coffee that, outside of southeast Asia, sells for up to six hundred dollars a pound.
That is an expensive cup of shit coffee. And when Steve Albini makes some, it could well be the best part of waking up.