There’s a herd of twenty elephants in Golden Triangle, Thailand that are producing some of the world’s most expensive coffee. Much like Kopi Luwak, where the beans are eaten and excreted by the Civet cat, these beans are eaten by this herd of elephants and then excreted before cleaning and roasting.
A pound of these beans can go for a whopping $500 a pound! Known as Black Ivory Coffee, it is said to have a very unique smooth and earthy flavor – we have to go by what we hear on this one because, you know, FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS A POUND!
“When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness.”says Blake Dinkin.“You end up with a cup that’s very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee.” Dinkin has spent 300,000 dollars developing this special blend of coffee. He continues “You end up with a cup that’s very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee.”
The heard calls a local jungle retreat home, but conservationists there were initially very skeptical of this plan – worrying that the elephants may become addicted to caffeine. Dinkin explains his theory “My theory is that a natural fermentation process takes place in the elephant’s gut. That fermentation imparts flavors you wouldn’t get from other coffees.”
Most of the excreted coffee cherries get lost in the tall grass, unfortunately. For example, out of 72 pounds of coffee cherries, only 2 pounds are collected generally. Once the elephant uses the bathroom, the wives of the elephant keepers collect the dung, pick through it, thoroughly clean it, and send it to Bangkok for roasting. What a journey these beans go through!
Has anyone out there tried this black ivory coffee? Tell us!