Monkey coffee is mainly a product of Chikmagalur, India and Taiwan, China. Coffee farms in both regions are sometimes located next to forests or are interspersed with other plants that grow well with shade grown coffee plants. In Taiwan, China, Formosan rock macaques naturally inhabit these forests, while in India, rhesus monkeys are resident primates. The monkeys visit the coffee crops fairly often, and farmers have little chance of avoiding them, so they turned the pest into a tool to produce delicious coffee.
The seeds inside the coffee bean fruit (or cherry) are commonly known as coffee beans. Monkeys are instinctively drawn to the ripest and sweetest coffee cherries in the coffee estate. They pick the best coffee cherry, chew it leisurely for a few minutes, then spit the remaining fruit and the parchment paper around it on the ground. Workers laboriously harvest the chewed seeds, which are then rinsed, washed, processed and dried. Dried beans look grey (instead of the usual green color of raw coffee beans) and sometimes have tooth marks from the monkeys. After drying, the coffee beans can be roasted and sold like other commercially available coffee beans.
The cultivation of monkey coffee is a relatively new practice. In the past, coffee beans chewed by monkeys were rarely collected and considered natural waste. Since the early 2000s, several coffee producers have collected the chewed seeds to process for sale on the international market as specialty coffees similar to civet coffees.
Brewing monkey coffee is like brewing any other coffee. However, monkey coffee tastes very different from typical coffee. Monkey saliva breaks down enzymes in the beans and changes the overall flavor. Monkey coffee is sweeter and more complex than most coffees. It has a full range of coffee flavors including chocolate, citrus and nuts, but vanilla tends to stand out. The coffee is heavy-bodied, with rounded acidity and only a trace of bitterness.
For brewing methods, it's not as convenient as the best instant coffee, but you can consider something other than a drip coffee maker. A pour-over coffee maker, an Aeropress or French press or a Moka pot will produce a richer cup of coffee and showcase these prized beans in the best way possible.
Since it is expensive and rare, it is best to enjoy monkey coffee without any additives like creamer, milk or sugar. Serve this coffee black and savor the subtle flavors of every sip.