Random Adventure #2 – Herveys Range, Townsville, Queensland

Last Updated on June 22, 2017 by Red Nomad OZ

Hervey’s Range Heritage Tea Rooms

I never thought I’d be grateful for my unsophisticated palate until it saved me $50 and a mouthful of cat-poo …

That publicity favours Townsville’s Paluma Range National Park over the much closer Herveys Range may be due to the unfortunate council boundary line placing Herveys Range on the wrong side of the Townsville regional border.

Then again, although the occasions are rare, I HAVE been known to be wrong – so there may be another reason altogether, as despite the lack of information about it, visitors have no trouble making the ~30 minute drive up the range to the Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms, housed in Queensland’s oldest known building. 

Herveys Range from Mt Stuart, Townsville

Beautifully renovated, the building has passed through several incarnations since its 1865 construction – including Eureka Hotel, Cobb & Co stop, travellers accommodation – before its current status as Tea Room and gift shop with outlying wedding chapel and function centre.

And home to the worlds most expensive cup of coffee.

At $50 (AUD) a cup, Kopi Luwak gives one’s quest for ‘great coffee’ a whole new meaning. The subject of deliberation by Customs before its import was allowed, this Sumatran delicacy is not for the faintheated – either of wallet or palate.

Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms Entrance

Each and every coffee bean used to make Kopi Luwak has passed through the digestive tract of an Asian Palm Civet, a cat native to South-east Asia. That’s RIGHT through. Think about it …

The civet digestive process is thought to alter the proteins in the whole coffee beans harvested from the civet droppings on the jungle floor. This gives the Kopi Luwak its distinctive smooth, aromatic flavour – and in a nod to its humble origins, the Tea Room website whimsically refers to it as ‘Cat-Poo Coffee’!

Outdoor Wedding Chapel, Herveys Range

On our July 2011 visit, I didn’t join the approximately 7 people per week who indulge in this gustatory delectation – that unsophisticated palate I mentioned earlier just wasn’t up for it … And what if I tasted it and DIDN’T like it??!!  Or worse – tasted it and couldn’t tell the difference???!!!

But the magnificent scones (7 flavours!), jam and cream for which the Tea Rooms are also justly famous, viewing artefacts unearthed by an archaeological dig that established the presence of a Chinese garden nearby and a walk around the grounds (taken at my peril) more than made our trip worthwhile – even if the resident ghosts didn’t make an appearance!

And I’d saved $50 to squander another day …
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  1. @Bob Crunch – I have no regrets … and you’d think they’d use a name a bit less literal – this is one of the times that euphemism is GOOD!

  2. Great article. I have to say it was definitely for the best you didn’t get a cup. Anything that is referred to as cat-poo coffee is best to stay away from at all times.

  3. @Sara – you and me both, sister! There’s a fine line between ‘exotic’ and ‘disgusting’, isn’t there?!?!

  4. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe what some people will spend their money! No thank you… I’ll save mine for something that *hasn’t* been through a cat’s digestive system 😉


  5. @bettyl – hey, thanx! That’s a great summary!!
    @Lilly – Haha, so good to know someone else appreciates the bizarre …
    @Mrs Tuna – of COURSE there are, but they’re unremarkable – as ANYTHING would be compared to cat-poo coffee …

  6. Jeepers, they just get better n better – unusual, yep, tops, weird – definitely – GREAT, you betcha. Bummer on the poo tea, but heck, who would know – Now we all do. GREAT PICS.

  7. @SFlaGuy – Yes, the links are too easy to miss! I’ll be trying to make them bigger – no mean feat for a technophobe!! Recycling waste water for drinking comes up in OZ too from time to time, but gets voted down! Kind of poetic justice though, huh?!
    @PDP – I’d love for someone who’s actually tried it to comment and put us all out of our misery!!
    @Aleah – Bummer!! Or maybe not, depending on your outlook …

  8. I really love coffee, and I have heard so much about this palm civet coffee. Being in the Philippines (SEA), it should be cheaper for us here, right? Wrong 🙂 So, I still have no idea what it tastes like!

  9. Well another hilarious and fact full post Red, as far as the cat poo coffee goes, most of my family have a hard time coming to terms with Earl Grey tea (bunch of plebs haha!) so the chances of cat poo coffee are totally against all realms of possibility. Not to mention they are Scots so you know there’s the question of $50…enough said!!

  10. Missed that link. Sorry. I noticed that was happening in my blog as well so I enlaged the text on the links. It helped my friends and family as they stopped asking so many questions about subjects I had already painstakingly sought the answers for and provided links to.

    On a poo related note, in California they now are considering recycling their waste water back into drinking water. Imagine all those rich movie stars drinking poo coffee made from poo water.


  11. @Manzanita – Hahaha!! I WAS going to list a few things I’d rather do with $50, but marriage wasn’t one of them!!!! Check out the Wikipedia article for the origin …
    @TGN – Yeah, kitsch is my middle name!!! I think there’s enough people writing about Uluru/Sydney Harbor Bridge/Great Barrier Reef already – but hardly anyone writing about this stuff! That may/may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view …
    @Windsmoke – Not sure if it’s decadent, despicable or downright disgusting!!!!

  12. @J&L – If a tea room serves cat-poo coffee, they’d be loud & proud about it!! They’d have to be – the process of harvesting is very labour intensive, and therefore expensive … Thanx for your kind words – I’ll have to think of something REALLY off-beat so as not to disappoint you next time …
    @Andrew – Wikipedia answers all – I believe it’s a natural part of the civet’s diet as both are found in the SE Asian rainforests! Apparently it’s far less bitter than regular coffee – but don’t take my word for it as I’ve never tried it!
    @Magsx2 – I’m sure the cleaning & roasting process would remove any cat-poo residue … and I’m quite happy for someone else to try it & tell me what it’s like!!!
    @SFlaGuy – Again, the Wikipedia entry is most enlightening as to how this ‘delicacy’ was discovered!! And HHHMMMmmm… note to self – lighten up on the poo connections!!! Will check out yr gadget soon!! Thanx for the tip!!

  13. I thought $4.00 for a cup of coffee was expensive but $50.00 for a cup of coffee poo is out of this world :-).

  14. Better have been gold flakes in that coffee! I am sure a neat experience though. Really cool location. And I love how a lot of the stuff you post is very kitchy…of course in a great way. Love it all!

  15. It probably costs a lot less to get married here than have a cup of coffee. Good thing I don’t drink coffee or I’d lust after a cup. Ha But I was wondering the same thing as SFlaGuy. How was this coffee delight discovered. We were recently discussing this subject over early morning coffee (me with my carrot juice)and the visitors had coffee (the cheap kind).
    Another fun post.

  16. Imagine how desperate for a caffeine fix the first guy to try this was. And what does the Civet get out of it. Another thought provoking and poo related post. I found a cool little addition that lets me put Google map locations at the bottom of my post. Check it out. You might find it useful for your blog as well.

  17. Hi,
    I remember reading about this coffee in the paper a couple of years ago. They say it is really nice, but as you say what if you paid all that money for a cup of coffee and didn’t like it! Just the thought of where the coffee beans come from turns me off. 🙂

    It always amazes me places like this always seem to have “out of this world” scones, and even the jams are usually very nice indeed.

    Again a wonderful post and pictures, you have to love that wedding chapel.

  18. I would try it just so that I could say it is a shocking waste of money. I might even like it. I’ve known for a while about this coffee bean and you have made me think, why do cats eat coffee beans? Force fed? Maybe it is as big a wank as I think it is. Or maybe it is really nice coffee and I should accept it for what it is.

  19. Hello:
    Well, being English as you would expect we have seen and sampled countless hundreds of tea rooms. However, never did a tea room look like this before and never did a tea room serve cat poo coffee before[or rather not advertised as such even if the flavour may have been similar to what one might expect cat poo coffee to be like!!].

    We never fail to be amazed by the wonders that you present us with and this post is certainly at the top of the unusual list…..until next time, perhaps!

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