Coffee good to the very last dropping

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 30/06/2012
Keith Neylon
COLLETTE DELVIN/Fairfax NZ
SMOOTH: Blue River managing director Keith Neylon brews the company's newest product Indonesian luwak coffee, which is the most expensive in the world and processed from civet-cat droppings.

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The most expensive coffee in the world is smooth, strong, full of flavour, made from animal droppings and now available in Invercargill.

Blue River Dairy Products managing director Keith Neylonbelieved his company was the only New Zealand business that sold the exclusive luwak coffee, produced from the beans of coffee berries that have been eaten by a civet, a cat-like feral animal, in Indonesia.

He described the new product, which he plans to sell from his factory shop in Nith St, as a coffee-lover's dream.

It did not have an acidic taste, which made it smooth, with a nice aftertaste, he said.

It was worth tasting before people judged the product.

Because it is a low-production variety of coffee, a kilogram of the beans could cost as much as $440.

Cafes around the world have sold the coffee for as much as US$50 (NZ$63) a cup.

He was not yet sure how much packets of luwak coffee would cost customers but the first samples were now available from the Blue River factory shop if people wanted to try it.

The Blue River brand was about finding products that complemented sheep milk, which would be part of the company's future.

"Coffee may seem the farthest thing away from sheep's milk but it's not.

"They go well together; it adds a natural sweetness," he said.

The Blue River luwak coffee had just been sent to distributors in China, the Middle East, and Australia. Mr Neylon discovered the delicacy during a business trip to Indonesia in April.

He was part of a delegation of 26 New Zealand business people who travelled with Prime Minister John Key there to boost trade between the countries.

Indonesia was growing as fast as China and offered great potential for business opportunities, particularly with food requirements. New Zealand was a natural food supplier, he said.

South East Asia was a viable market that could be developed but businesses were overlooking it.

"Demand would be stimulated and there are good price tensions, making it competitive in the Asian arena".

Many New Zealand businesses were also neglecting the Indochina market, which was also full of potential, he said.

Mr Neylon, who has just returned from a business trip to Vietnam, said he would continue to expand Blue River and as part of that growth, a new state-of-the-art plant in Hedgehope started production yesterday.

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- The Southland Times

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