After conducting a few DIY bio experiments in his kitchen, Delebecque decided to start a company. He teamed up with Sophie Deterre, a food scientist whose experience includes working on bitter orange aroma for Grand Marnier, to develop a fermentation process they say mimics some of the changes that occur in coffee beans as they wend through a civet’s digestive tract.
Their company is called Afineur, and they hope to have beans on sale by the end of the year. Delebecque says the price probably will be between $50 and $100 a pound—not cheap, to be sure, but considerably less than the hundreds people pay for a pound people of true kopi luwak.
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