Of all the world’s weird and wonderful delicacies, civet coffee is surely among the quirkiest. At a cool $50 per cup, the prized aroma of this luxurious beverage comes not from the hand of an expert barista, but rather the stomach of a nocturnal mammal.
Civets are cat-like creatures that feed on coffee cherries in the hills and mountains of Southeast Asia. Although civets can digest the flesh of the cherries, they pass the coffee beans, which become fermented by enzymes in their stomachs before being excreted. The civet’s loss is the coffee aficionado’s gain, however, because the enzymes give the beans, once thoroughly washed and roasted, a unique chocolaty flavor.
All of this makes not only for a fine cup of coffee, but also a neat analogy (and acronym) for the emerging markets of Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa. The CIVETS contribution to the world economy can, after all, be likened to that of the civet cat’s: cheap local resource in, expensive global product out.
Robert Ward, global forecasting director at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), coined the concept of CIVETS in 2009, when he recognized the rise of a second generation of emerging nations beyond BRIC countries. In 2001, Goldman Sachs chairman Jim O’Neill predicted that the fast-growing BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China) would be the world’s dominant economies by 2050. . .