Monkey Parchment Coffee: Biodynamic Methods and Cosmic Cycles on Indian Organic Farms With Civets

by DerdriuMarriner

Southwest Indian biodynamic, organic growers call their product Monkey Parchment Coffee. But they employ no monkeys. They instead harvest ingested beans from civet droppings.

Monkey parchment coffee belongs on the world’s list of animal coffees.

Animals contribute to ultimate aromas and tastes by:
• drupes being ingested and pits being expelled by East, South and Southeast Asia’s common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and South America’s jacu birds (Penelope obscura, P. superciliaris);
• pulp and skin being nibbled and pits being salivated by Central America’s common Jamaican/Mexican fruit-eating bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) before sun-drying.

Exotic specialty entrepreneurs also distribute monkey parchment coffee with the following back-stories:
• Drupes are ingested by Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) for salivating and spitting out pits; or
• Drupes are swallowed and pits are expelled by Asian civets.

The second input gets harvested by biodynamic, organic farmers on southern India’s Balmadies Estate.


Balmaadi Estate website:

Balmadies Estate Plantations
Lauriston Post Office, Gudalur, Nilagiri 643211
Tamil Nadu, India
tel: +91 91-44-24671446
fax: +91 91-44-22541955

Balmaadi Estate Chennai office:
6 Prithvi avenue 2nd street
Abiramapuram west, Chennai 600018
Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +91-44-24671446
Email: [email protected]


picturesque landscape of Nilgiri Hills: Emerald Lake, about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Gudalur town and about 11 miles (17 km) southeast of Udhagamandalam, known as Ooty and nicknamed "Queen of Hill Stations"

Emerald Lake is surrounded by tea plantations, which dot the landscape of Gundalur taluk.
Nilgiris District, western Tamil Nadu, southwestern India
Nilgiris District, western Tamil Nadu, southwestern India


The name Balmadies carries the meaning of “cow’s udder” when translated to English from the Tamil language of south India and northeast Sri Lanka. The terminology communicates bounteousness. In terms of animal coffee production, it designates a farm which benefits from prime location:

  • Among spectacular scenery of dense forests, lofty peaks, and verdant plains;
  • As part of the Western Ghats mountain range, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site;
  • At altitudes of 4,593.18 feet (1,400 meters) above sea level;
  • In one of countless lush valleys;
  • Near many rushing streams;
  • On fertile soils;
  • Within the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains) District of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu (The Land of Tamils, Tamil Country).


Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) are native to northern and central India.

The Red Fort of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, north central India
The Red Fort of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, north central India


The Estate’s location does not fall within the recognized southernmost extent in the native bio-geographies of Rhesus monkeys. Amateurs, experts, and locals expect the day-tripping, swim-crazy primate to move digitigrade (tip-toed) and plantigrade (flat-footed) throughout India north of the peninsula’s southerly tip. They only find the fruit-loving, pink-faced omnivore in India’s two southernmost states -- Kerala and Tamil Nadu -- as a result of captivity, domestication, introduction, naturalization, research, or serendipity. Balmadies Estate therefore fits not at all within the native lands of Rhesus monkeys but well within the native distributional ranges of:

  • Asian common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, hermaphroditic paradox);
  • Jerdon’s brown palm civets (Paradoxurus jerdoni, Jerdon’s paradox);
  • Small Indian civets (Viverricula indica, little Indian ferret).


"coffee bean processor": In southern India "monkey parchment coffee" references coffee beans spit out by monkeys at Chikmagalur as well as the color of the coffee beans at Balmadies Plantations Ltd.

Asian common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)
Asian common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)


Asian common and Jerdon’s brown palm civets belong to the group of African and Asian civets that appreciate palm flowers, fruits, nectar, and sap. Sympatric (same-ranging) small Indian civets likewise consume fruits. But mammalogists define the grey-/yellow-brown ground-dwellers as insectivorous (insect-eating) omnivores (everything-eaters) whose diets minimize:

  • Carrion;
  • Fruits;
  • Roots;
  • Small birds, mammals and reptiles.

They contrastingly describe Asian common and Jerdon’s brown palm civets as frugivorous omnivores whose diets emphasize pulpy, small-seeded, water-filled berries and drupes. Both color-blind, night-active civets frequent coffee trees (Coffea arabica, C. robusta) even though Jerdon’s brown palm civets particularly relish the marble tree’s (Elaeocarpus munronii) blue-colored fruits and the Ceylon olive (Elaeocarpus serratus) and Indian gutta (Palaquium ellipticum) trees’ bigger, green-colored fruits.


coffee berries: on the menu for Asian Common Palm Civets and Jerdon's Brown Palm Civets in India's coffee-producing southern state of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu, southern India
Tamil Nadu, southern India


Through eating drupes and expelling beans, Asian common palm civets are the standard sources of:

  • Indonesia’s kopi luwak (civet coffee);
  • Philippines’ kape alamid (civet coffee, weasel coffee);
  • Vietnam’s cà phê chồn (civet coffee, weasel coffee).

They become an entrepreneur’s first choice among civets for five revenue-generating reasons:

  • Animal coffee;
  • Bushmeat;
  • Ceremonial attire and jewelry;
  • Musky perfume-stabilizers;
  • Traditional medicines.

They in fact carry the (misleading) species name hermaphroditus because their substantial scent glands occur on both genders and remind experts of civet male reproductive organs. They also get called:

  • Obligate environmentalists for controlling invertebrate populations and dispersing shrub/tree seeds;
  • Pests for haunting chiku (Manilkara zapota), coffee (Coffea arabica, C. robusta), mango (Mangifera indica), and rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) plantations.


Horsetail (Equisetum telmateia): pioneer biodynamicist Rudolf Steiner extolled horsetail for 90% silica content and emphasized that silicious substances play "the greatest imaginable this earthly life" (Agriculture Course, p. 23)

Horsetail is included in the herb-enhanced organic compost at Balmadies Estates.
Cambridge Botanic Garden, Cambridgeshire, East Anglia region, South East England
Cambridge Botanic Garden, Cambridgeshire, East Anglia region, South East England


But nobody at Balmadies Estate calls civets pests. The farm’s owner-operators commit to Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner’s (February 27, 1861 – March 30, 1925) biodynamic production and organic agriculture. They therefore exclude:

  • Chemical fertilizers;
  • Growth-regulating hormones;
  • Off-farm inputs;
  • Synthetic biocides.

They favor:

  • Biodiversity preserves (forests, insectaries, predator habitats, riparian corridors, wetlands);
  • Diverse, native, non-invasive, perennial plantings;
  • Crop rotation every 2 years;
  • Green/livestock manure;
  • Herb-enhanced (chamomile, dandelion, stinging nettle, valerian, yarrow blossoms; horsetail; oak bark) organic compost;
  • Mineral-fortified (crushed powdered quartz) fungicides;
  • Mulching;
  • On-farm animal feed;
  • On-site pollination;
  • Year-round green ground-cover.

They have lunar phases and planetary positions within zodiacal constellations decide all farm-related events. They view the farm as an on-site, sustainable whole respecting all components, including predators.


Pioneer biodynamicist Rudolf Steiner emphasized the interplays of near and distant elements in "the household of Nature" and credited the warmth of the earth's atmosphere with effective use of silicious forces emanating from Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

Lady Life in The Planet Garden, with circle under planets representing the sun
Lady Life in The Planet Garden, with circle under planets representing the sun


The geographical presence of coffee shrubs/trees between the Tropics of Cancer and of Capricorn -- between latitudes 23°North and 23°South -- begins with the 17th-century economic initiatives of Dutch colonialists. The flowering, fruiting evergreen historically calls home northeast Africa’s Horn. But depending upon the variety, it flourishes wherever Africa, America (Caribbean, Central, South), and Asia offer:

  • Altitudes of 656.17 – 2,624.67 feet (200 – 800 meters) above sea level for robust varieties and of 2,624.67 - 6,561.68 feet (800 – 2,000 meters) for Arabian coffees;
  • Cooler nights and warmer days;
  • Low-acidic or neutral soils, with pH levels of 5.5 - 6.5;
  • 9-month wet seasons receiving 59.06 – 98.43 inches (1,500 – 2,500 millimeters) of rainfall;
  • Year-round temperatures of 59 – 75ºF (15 – 24ºC).


Coffee was introduced into India by 17th century Sufi saint Baba Budan, who brought coffee beans from Mocha (Arabic: المخا‎ al-Mukhā), southwestern Yemen, to the hills of Chikmagalur in Karnataka state in 1670.

Karnataka and neighboring states Kerala and Tamil Nadu have dominated coffee production in India.
Chikmagalur, Chikkamagaluru district, southwestern Karnataka state, southwestern India
Chikmagalur, Chikkamagaluru district, southwestern Karnataka state, southwestern India

Conclusion: A coffee which enters civet digestive systems but reputedly also may be chewed and pitted by monkeys


Monkey parchment coffee from Balmadies Estate gets described as:

  • Balancing acidity and sweetness;
  • Being deeply aromatic;
  • Evoking dark chocolate and orange-toned, roasted nuts;
  • Feeling syrup-like;
  • Tasting resonantly smooth and subtly acidic.

Research by University of Guelph food scientist Massimo Marcone in Ontario, Canada helps explain the attractions of India’s monkey parchment coffee. It indicates that:

  • 40 teeth cut and grind coffee drupe skins and pulps;
  • The gastro-intestinal tract does not decompose pits;
  • The protein-impacting enzymes in civet digestive systems invade parchment- and silver skin-covered beans, liberate amino acids, and support malting.

The beans’ clean appearances and aromas and the beverages’ comforting aromas and tastes -- particularly as milky espressos -- have biodynamic, organic, and predatory inputs to thank.


coffee beans purportedly chewed by monkeys

Monkey Chewed Coffee Beans 3
Monkey Chewed Coffee Beans 3



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Another monkey-themed coffee: Monkey-Spit Coffee, produced in Taiwan, is credited to Formosan rock macaques (Macaca cyclopis), also known as Formosan rock monkeys

George House Fine Coffee, a coffee shop in Tainan, southern Taiwan, sells Kaapi Monkey.
endemic animals of Taiwan: Taipei Zoo, Taipei City, northern Taiwan
endemic animals of Taiwan: Taipei Zoo, Taipei City, northern Taiwan

Sources Consulted


Allison, Melissa. 28 January 2013. "As India Gains Strength, So Does Its Coffee." The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Communications and Public Affairs. 26 November 2002. "Kopi Luwak Coffee Safe, U of G Study Finds." University of Guelph Campus News. Ontario, Canada. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Davids, Kenneth. 2007. "Exotic Procedures in Far Places: Aged, Monsooned and Luwaked Coffees." The Coffee Review. December 3, 2007. Coffee Review. Web.

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Garrett, Rose. 29 May 2013. "Mystic Liver: Inside the World of Biodynamic Farming." Modern Farmer: Culture. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Goodwin, Lindsey. "Monkey Coffee: Cat Poop Coffee Isn't the Only 'Animal-Processed' Coffee Anymore!" Food > Coffee/Tea > Coffee 101 & FAQs. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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"India, Balmadies Civet Cat Coffee or 'Monkey Parchment'." Sea Island Coffee: Browse Estates. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Instaurator. 10 April 2008. "Monkey and Civet Parchment -- Clarifications." The Espresso Quest. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Kavitha. "Bio Dynamic Association of India." > Magazine > Archives. February 1, 2008. Agriculture and Industry Survey. Web.

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Kiely, Mick. 9 September 2009. "Monkey Parchment Coffee Fans." Barista Exchange. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Luttinger, Nina; and Dicum, Gregory. 24 April 2006. The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from Crop to the Last Drop. New Press Bazaar Book. 

Marcone, Massimo F. 2004. "Composition and Properties of Indonesian Palm Civet Coffee (Kopi Luwak) and Ethiopian Civet Coffee." Food Research International 37(9):901-912.

Marcone, Massimo F. March 2005. "Corrigendum to 'Composition and Properties of Indonesian Palm Civet Coffee (Kopi Luwak) and Ethiopian Civet Coffee'." Food Research International 38(2):233.

"Monkey Parchment Coffee." Coffee Snobs. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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"Monkey Parchment Coffee Powder." Crafts Villa. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Mudappa, D.; Kumar, A.; and Chellam, R. 2010. "Diet and Fruit Choice of the Brown Palm Civet Paradoxurus jerdoni, a Viverrid Endemic to the Western Ghats Rainforest, India." Tropical Conservation Science 3(3):282–300. 

Prendergast, Mark. 28 September 2010. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Rajamani, N.; Mudappa, D.; and Van Rompaey H. 2002. "Distribution and Status of the Brown Palm Civet in the Western Ghats, South India." Small Carnivore Conservation 27:6–11.

Rice, Robert; and Bedoya, Mauricio. September 2010. "The Ecological Benefits of Shade Grown Coffee: The Case for Going Bird Friendly." Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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"RMiguel Coffee Introduces Monkey Parchment Coffee to the U.S." PRWeb, Online Visbility from Vocus > News Center. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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Steiner, Rudolf. 2004. Agriculture Course: The Birth of the Biodynamic Method. Translated by George Adams. Forest Row UK: Rudolf Steiner Press.

Ukers, William H. 1922. All About Coffee. New York, NY: The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company.

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"You've Got to be Kidding! Monkey Parchment Coffee." Home-Barista. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 

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Balmadies Estates have coffee plantations in Gudalur Taluk in western Tamil Nadu state's Nilgiris District, which lies within the scenic Nilgiri Hills.

Gudalur, Nilgiris District, western Tamil Nadu, southwestern India
Gudalur, Nilgiris District, western Tamil Nadu, southwestern India
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the end which is also the beginning

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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

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DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 01/03/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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