To brew or not to brew?
January 18, 2013 2:54 PM   Subscribe

My dog ate nearly a pound of coffee beans. The vet gave him some drugs to get him to vomit them up. (He'll be fine.) The beans came up largely whole/intact, and they... bagged them up for us. If we were to rinse the beans, grind, and brew them, what's the worst that happens?

This isn't something we're really considering. (Except I may dare my coffee-loving "will eat anything" friend...) Is this that functionally different from any of those guano/dung coffees that make their entire way through the GI tract? They have some bile on them but that's about it.

Apologies for one of the worst "is this safe to eats" AskMe has probably seen. Definitely not asking if we should so much as what could happen.
posted by disillusioned to Food & Drink (48 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
I can't imagine it'd be harmful if properly prepared. I mean, Kopi Luwak is actually a thing...
posted by erst at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm sure technically the coffee would be safe and harmless to consume, but the coffee breath that results might have a canine aroma. Or at the very least, dog bile.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:00 PM on January 18, 2013

If you really want to see a picture of a bag of vomitbeans... beanplating. (Not on an actual plate.)

I should stress that we'd clearly rinse them extremely thoroughly.
posted by disillusioned at 3:02 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Probably not harmful, but don't you think the coffee would end up tasting like dog food?
posted by GDWJRG at 3:03 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

If they were already roasted, I would imagine that your pup's digestive juices would have infiltrated the beans, so despite washing you'd experience some unique flavor notes.

More importantly, would you use an Aeropress, a Chemex, or heaven forbid - a moka pot?
posted by gyusan at 3:03 PM on January 18, 2013 [10 favorites]

French press all the way.
posted by disillusioned at 3:04 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

i'm sure it'd be okay, but damn. no. i'd just buy more beans. i have cats, but their barf is foul, and i just would not trust it to not be in the beans somehow.
posted by koroshiya at 3:05 PM on January 18, 2013 [8 favorites]

Dung coffee beans are raw/unroasted before their trip through the GI tract. Roasting makes the coffee beans more porous, so I'd imagine roasted beans you've recovered are going to be imbued with dog juice.

I don't know what's the very worst that can happen but I suspect if you go through with this and the story gets out, one thing that could happen is friends will be somewhat reticent to accept an after-meal cuppa joe at your house.
posted by jamaro at 3:06 PM on January 18, 2013 [15 favorites]

the beans may have the residue of the drug your dog was given on them. i'm not sure rinsing would get that off. also, whatever is in your dog's gut. ewww.
posted by wildflower at 3:08 PM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

This sounds like a fantastic idea and you should totally do it and report back to us. I can't conceive of any issues with this.
posted by jeoc at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2013 [122 favorites]

If you are doing this solely because why the hell not, let's see what happens, this will be a funny story to tell people, then yeah, go ahead and do it and report back!

If you are doing this because you don't feel like wasting barf coffee/are too lazy to go back out and get more/basically any other reason then doing it for the lulz, then oh my god plz stahp.
posted by elizardbits at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2013 [11 favorites]

Really? A lb of coffee costs what, $5 to $10?

I once went camping with a couple that were celebrating their 1st Wedding Anniversary during the trip. They had toted a small, refrigerated cooler for two days as we canoed. Around the campfire one evening, after dinner, they brought out the top of their wedding cake. It had an interesting frosting, sort of a glaze. We ate it, and, shortly afterwards he said "Yeah, it was really better looking before the cat licked all the frosting off."

I never let he or his wife provide food for me again...

Don't serve the coffee to your friends.... Or, if you do, please tell them up front..
posted by HuronBob at 3:09 PM on January 18, 2013 [17 favorites]

I would not do this.

This is not what "kopi lewak" is.

Just because you wouldn't die from drinking dog vomit doesn't mean you should drink your dog's vomit.
posted by Sara C. at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

the beans may have the residue of the drug your dog was given on them.

The drug was an IV drug.


Also to be clear, almost certainly not going to try this. Just asking hypothetically. Definitely not concerned about the monetary value of the beans. (Though they were top-quality beans.)
posted by disillusioned at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

You absolutely should dare your friend to drink dogpuke coffee.
posted by foodgeek at 3:13 PM on January 18, 2013 [32 favorites]

I didn't really envision the bag as such, can I change my answer? You should really skip the coffee altogether and go for chocolate covered coffee beans instead. Or just throw the thing in the freezer and say you already did. YUM!
posted by iamkimiam at 3:16 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have to admit, I didn't read the "more inside" that you really weren't considering doing this (well, other than giving it to a friend (I'm using that word loosely)).
posted by HuronBob at 3:16 PM on January 18, 2013

Roast, grind, and brew them.. then give the coffee to the dog. CIRCLE OF LIFE.
posted by mrbill at 3:17 PM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

Every time you take a sip, you will recall where the beans came from.
Honestly...toss 'em. Get some fresh.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:18 PM on January 18, 2013

Have you ever seen what dogs eat? Roasted beans are porous, so the nasty stuff that might be in your dog's stomach could get into the beans. If Fido has been getting into things he shouldn't have been, you could end up with something nasty.

That said, they seem to be whole. Can't believe I looked at the picture. Maybe if they weren't roasted yet, I'd be less ... well, I don't actually know what the words are for this situation. All the ones I'd normally use don't seem appropriate.
posted by Solomon at 3:22 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also consider where your dog's tongue is for like 99% of the day. (hint: ANUS)

Would you want to rub the coffee beans on your dog's butthole, rinse them off, and then brew?

If you do, then as before, please report back.
posted by elizardbits at 3:28 PM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]

[Folks, if this question is going to stay up, the jokes and non-answers need to stop. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:34 PM on January 18, 2013

No, don't do it. Toxocariasis is not fun. I know there's hot water involved, and your probably worm your dog to schedule, but those roundworm eggs are tough.
posted by cromagnon at 3:35 PM on January 18, 2013 [11 favorites]

I'd rinse them sooner rather than later, but by all means, dare him. the worst that could happen: he vomits.
now, if you asked about brewing that...
posted by changeling at 3:36 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Googling varying incarnations of "gastric canine bacteria" turns up several results regarding some nasty sounding bacteria that can live in a dog's gut. It's possible that boiling water would kill them, especially as the beans would likely be ground before brewing, leading to a larger surface area. Not sure I'd want to risk it, though.

Clostridium doesn't sound like much fun.
posted by Solomon at 3:42 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

they... bagged them up for us

Then they should be responsible for answering this question. They're pretty much begging for it, no? Call the vet and ask what you were supposed to do with the bag. Why did they bag it and give it to you to photograph christ on a bike why
posted by kmennie at 3:49 PM on January 18, 2013 [26 favorites]

No, don't do it. Toxocariasis is not fun.

I wonder if that lives further down the gut such that it wouldn't be exposed, or if it's all over?

I think they bagged it so they could weigh them to determine roughly how much was left in the dog. (They had a good idea how much was in the bag to start with, so.)

C.diff is definitely no picnic. The wife is a nurse and she's had to perform fecal transplants before as a last-resort treatment for it.
posted by disillusioned at 3:54 PM on January 18, 2013

Wouldn't it be more interesting, in a way, to plant them? That's what I'd tell a 6-year-old who asked this question, maybe.
posted by amtho at 4:10 PM on January 18, 2013

Hypothetically, if you were my partner and you drank that I'd set fire to the coffee maker and your mug and would probably require counseling to consider ever kissing you again.

So at least for the sake of my sanity, let's pretend you'll never do this.

(I'm really glad you're dog is ok though.)
posted by Space Kitty at 4:10 PM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think it's different from the civet coffee because barfing isn't pooping and a dog isn't a civet. That was the question, right? But I wouldn't drink civet coffee anyway.
posted by gingerest at 4:27 PM on January 18, 2013

The hot water from brewing the coffee is likely going to kill any microbes that may have gotten on the beans, so I imagine nothing too awful would be in your future.

What I am saying is that, as your doctor, I recommend that you drink that coffee as soon as possible.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:46 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is a little bit like asking if the existence of fois gras means you should eat the liver of the dead pigeon you found rotting in the gutter.
posted by Sara C. at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2013 [31 favorites]

This is one of the few times on 'should I eat this?' that I'd shout out "NO!!!" without hesitation.

The question however is 'what could happen?' and the best I've come up with is deep, psychological damage.
posted by mazola at 5:29 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

... and, if not to you, then surely to us!
posted by mazola at 5:48 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I do think that the act of bagging them up and handing them to effectively counts as a dare. If you do brew them you should pour the result into a thermos and bring it back to the vet's office to share.
posted by contraption at 5:52 PM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

How long were they in his stomach for? A few hours, probably? So that's stomach acid beans. I think if you put coffee beans in vinegar for a few hours, it would probably be pretty disgusting when you tried to brew them, and I think that is a milder acid solution -- I think that would be regrettable coffee.

So I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you tried to make coffee brewed with beans that had sat in stomach acid, it would be pretty gross.

I do not think it would kill you. I just think it would be bad coffee.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:29 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Because I too have been in the position of being handed bags of things that have been removed from my dog's GI tract (via the much more expensive surgical route! twice!), and having experienced the god-awful stench therein, I'm just going to have to vote no. But good work on the best AskMe of 2013 so far!
posted by judith at 7:01 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

"Kopi luwak" kind of rhymes with "puppy throw-up," if you squint your ears.

posted by wenestvedt at 7:29 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

There's no way those coffee beans won't taste weird.

In other news, keep your coffee in a sealed container out of your dog's reach.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 7:32 PM on January 18, 2013

I would try making a pot. Clearly I am in a minority :-)
posted by lathrop at 7:53 PM on January 18, 2013

Hi, I can't find the puppy photo.

What does it smell like when you stick your nose in the back and take a deep whiff?
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:31 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure this rivals the seafood lasagna that that anon left on a sweater for five months or whatever in WHAT NO.
posted by threeants at 8:45 PM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'd French press a cup of the dog vomit beans and then quickly French press a cup of the non-dog vomit beans and then compare them. Just take a sip! That won't kill you, will it?
posted by mcmile at 8:49 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is how humans discovered that cheese and beer were things.

On the other hand, we didn't hear from the ones who first discovered blowfish and deadly nightshade.

I say (you, not I) go for it and god speed.

It's going to taste awful though for several reasons. 1) beans bathed in bile, 2) digested = partially brewed, 3) the dogcebo effect: even if great, you'll think "dog ass."
posted by zippy at 9:04 PM on January 18, 2013 [11 favorites]

No, roasted coffee is porous (which is why it is so easy to flavor it with fake hazelnut and other crap); dog enzymes smell disgusting; and civet coffee is roasted after it exits the civet, killing any nastiness. This is not the same situation at all.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:20 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Did you think of what would happen if it produced the best coffee ever? How would you ever make it again? Don't brew it.
posted by empyrean at 3:42 AM on January 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Could you brew just a small portion of this? If it tastes great - or even, is just drinkable - then there may be a huge commercial opportunity in the rest. "Extremely limited stock; canine-artisanal produced; unique process and taste." You may be able to sell the rest for a considerable sum to someone, or a little bohemian cafe, somewhere in e.g. Brooklyn, Portland or Seattle.
posted by Wordshore at 5:36 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

You could brew a flask of normal non vomity coffee and take it to the vet's office to share!

I would drink the civet coffee but I would not drink dog vomit coffee.
posted by emilyw at 8:31 AM on January 21, 2013

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