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Pricey Coffee Made from Elephant Dung

Pricey Coffee Made from Elephant Dung


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The world’s most expensive coffee is being sold at $1,100 per kilogram

You'll never look at your coffee in the same way again.

Here’s a coffee that will really wake you up: the brew, the reportedly most expensive in the world, is made from beans found in elephant dung.

Black Ivory Coffee, sold in the Maldives and Thailand, will cost you $1,100 per kilogram-- yes, that’s over $1K for coffee passed through the digestive system of a Thai elephant. The makers of the brew celebrate the coffee for its natural refinement, stating, “Research indicates that during digestion, the enzymes of the elephant break down coffee protein. Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness in coffee, less protein means almost no bitterness.”

With the coffee coming in at over $1,000 per kilogram, drinkers would be paying over $50 per cup. The makers also point out that only about 50 kilograms of the coffee are available, making the expensive product even more difficult to obtain-- that is, if you’re really dying to try it.

For now, we’ll learn to appreciate the bitterness of the cheap Starbucks house blend.


Black Ivory Coffee

Black Ivory Coffee is a brand of coffee produced by the Black Ivory Coffee Company Ltd in northern Thailand from Arabica coffee beans consumed by elephants and collected from their waste. [1] [2] The taste of Black Ivory coffee is influenced by elephants' digestive enzymes, which breaks down the coffee's protein. [2]


From civets to elephants

Over a decade ago, Dinkin was aiming to market civet cat coffee from Africa. The pricey coffee was popular several years ago. Known in Indonesian as kopi luwak, it also involves the red, ripe cherries encasing the coffee bean being eaten by the animal.

But he decided to move on after finding its production fraught with fraud. Farmers often would merely wipe cat feces over coffee beans to pass the beans off as digested, he says.

His quest led him to various animals and took him to Indonesia before he finally settled on elephants in Thailand.

The key reason he chose elephants was they only have one stomach and consume a lot of food in a day. Also, coffee cherries may naturally have been part of an elephant’s diet, if grown in an area where they were grazing, he says.

Dinkin works in partnership with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, a sanctuary for rescued elephants. It’s located in the far northwest corner of Thailand where the country meets Burma and Laos, an area once synonymous with opium production.

John Roberts, who runs the sanctuary, remembers his first thought when Dinkin approached him with the idea.

"Am I going to have a lot of wired elephants on my hands? Am I going to have a lot of depressed elephants on my hands with headaches and withdrawal symptoms if we aren’t feeding [them coffee]?"

Dinkin worked with a veterinarian at the Toronto Zoo to show that the caffeine won’t absorb into the elephants’ bloodstream. With his worries quelled, Roberts gave Dinkin the green light for production.

Roberts says if the idea takes off, he envisions herds of wild elephants devoted to the task of producing the coffee.

"It could pay for the total upkeep of elephants and mahouts, [a person who takes care of elephants], and families and that is a goal."

Many of the elephants’ handlers were destitute before arriving at the reserve he runs in association with the luxury hotel chain Anantara.

Thailand banned logging in 1989, leaving many mahouts without a source of income from their elephants. Many ended up living on the street, struggling to find a way to provide for their families and feed their elephants.


12 of the World's Most Expensive Coffees

Kopi Luwak is not only one of the most expensive coffees on the market, it's also one of the strangest. The specialty java is made from beans that are first ingested by civets (animals similar to cats). The beans are then picked out of the animal droppings and roasted, making for an extremely rare coffee that can cost around $400 per pound. Just 50 grams of it goes for $60 dollars at Dean and Deluca, and coffee shops have sold cups for as much as $30 each.

De&rsquoLonghi knows all about the exclusivity of the Kopi Luwak. In 2008 the coffee product maker crafted a specialty blend of its own, called Caffe Raro, that contained the civet-digested coffee as well as rare Jamaican Blue Mountain beans. The result was a single 2-ounce shot of espresso (made with hand roasted beans) that famously sold at Britain's upscale Peter Jones department store for 50 euro (approximately $67) a cup.

Grown at the Don Pachi Estate in Panama, Don Pachi Geisha beans broke the record for the most expensive beans sold at action at an impressive $111 per pound. The lucky few coffee roasters who get their hands on these extraordinary beans &mdash known for their intense fruitiness &mdash often sell them around preset roasting dates so customers receive the beans when they are as fresh as possible.

Panama Geisha Esmeralda is known internationally as one of the best coffees in the world. It has won numerous awards and accolades, including first place in the Best of Panama coffee competition six years and counting. The beans grow on extremely low yielding trees and are separated by different lots, which are then auctioned off by the grower. Funnel Mill coffee shop in Los Angeles sells a single serving siphon (that&rsquos only enough for one cup) of Lot #2 for $35.

High-quality coffee beans from St. Helena, a tiny island in the South Atlantic, bring in about $128 per pound. If you don&rsquot want to commit to an entire pound, Blacksmith Coffee Roastery sells 8-ounce bags of the coveted coffee for no less than $64. They are packaged and shipped within an hour of roasting. Just what makes St. Helena coffee so special? The beans are of the Green Tipped Bourbon Arabica variety and they are grown in St. Helena&rsquos volcanic soil. The island only produces a few thousand pounds of coffee each year and the resulting beverage is said to have the same appeal as a fine wine.

Black Ivory coffee has also earned a reputation for one of the stranger coffee-making processes out there. Just how are these beans prepared? First the finest 100 percent Arabica beans are chosen. Then those same beans (still in fruit stage) are given to elephants. The elephants consume the coffee cherries and ultimately digest and then defecate the coffee. (Taking a trip through the elephant's digestive system apparently results in a less bitter cup of Joe.) The beans are then hand-picked from the elephant dung and roasted to perfection. Black Ivory is predominantly served at five-star hotels in Thailand (where the coffee is produced) for around $68 per cup, but it can also be found in the Maldives and the U.S.

Sold for around $50 a pound (it varies depending on the specific beans), El Injerto coffee has a rich history. Coffee has been growing at the Guatemalan location since 1900. A fourth-generation family currently runs the enormous farm. Beans are all handpicked when they reach the perfect ripeness. But the coffee beans aren't the only valued assets at the farm. Housing, medical care, and food are provided for all of the workers.

Black Blood of the Earth is a fitting name for a coffee that contains 40 times more caffeine than the average cup. Beans are brewed using a cold-vacuum extraction method, which allows for the highly caffeinated beverage to simply taste like regular coffee instead of extremely bitter. The special method supposedly also helps drinkers avoid upset stomachs and stained teeth because the process extracts more of the beans' oils and yields less overall acid. Black Blood of the Earth can be stored for up to three months without spoiling. A 25-ounce bottle can cost anywhere from $40 to $50, but a little goes a long way &mdash drinkers are warned to only have one shot of the potent drink at a time.

The Ospina family has been in the coffee business since 1835, so it's no wonder they sell some of the most refined and expensive coffee in the world. Made using Arabica beans, the Ospina varieties are grown near the mountains of Antioquia on land that was chosen hundreds of years ago. Ospina Presidential Coffee is one of the company's most exclusive varieties, and it celebrates the 170th anniversary of the business. Only 5,000 commemorative gift sets were made using anniversary year beans and one golden bean straight from the Ospina farm. Gift sets retail for $135. The Deluxe Ospina Dynasty Coffee Premier Grand Cru &ndash Grand Reserve is even more expensive. A 14-ounce package sells for $165.

There was a time when a $3.75 price tag for a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato seemed steep. But then the coffee giant introduced a $7 cup of coffee. Starbucks uses a special reserve roast, called Costa Rice Finca Palmilera, made from beans grown on a farm in Central America to make the drink. Each cup is brewed with Starbuck&rsquos $12,000 Clover Brewing System machine.


Elephant Dung Coffee to Puke Coffee: 6 weird coffees that are popular around the world

Coffee is loved by most of us and it’s a great beverage to get energetic for your work. Its high caffeine content makes us awaken and ready to focus on something important. That’s why a hot cup of coffee is always the most preferable option in the morning to have. Generally, some of the most popular and common coffee types are espresso, Caffe latte, Caffe mocha, double espresso, cappuccino, cold brew coffee and others.

But there are some weird types of coffee available globally the recipes of which can leave you in awe. Some are made with eggs, some with coconut oil, another one has elephant dung in it. A cup of coffee can even be made with elephant dung. So, let’s find out the weirdest coffee variations popular all around the world.

Weird types of coffee that are popular globally:

Egg yolk and condensed milk are whipped together to get a thick and creamy consistency and then black Vietnamese coffee is mixed with it to get the final drink. It is said that the coffee tastes like a silky coffee-flavoured custard.

Coffee with coconut oil and butter

This coffee is popular as bulletproof coffee which is made with butter and coconut oil. It is considered to be a short-cut for weight loss, but this drink has a very high caffeine content which is harmful for health as well.

Coffee with cheese

Kaffeost is the name of this coffee type and it’s made with cheese in it or consumed with dipped cheese. The cheese is from Finland and Northern Sweden.

Kopai Luwak

This is one of the most expensive coffee variations in the world that comes from the poop of Asian Palm Civet. It picks up the sweetest and ripest coffee cherries to eat. The digested cherries are then picked and roasted to get the flavourful coffee.

Elephant dung coffee

This is quite similar to Kopai Luwak but produced on a large scale. This coffee comes from the dung of elephants in Thailand. Since there is less acidity in the digestion process of elephants, the coffee is very flavourful.

This coffee is made out of the puke of the Vietnamese weasels. The puked coffee cherries are picked, processed and then sold in the market.

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Pricey elephant poop coffee

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand. Black Ivory Coffee, started by Canadian coffee expert Blake Dinkin, is made from Thai arabica hand picked beans. The coffee is created from a process whereby coffee beans are naturally refined by a Thai elephant. It takes about 15-30 hours for the elephant to digest the beans, and later they are plucked from their dung and washed and roasted. Approximately 10,000 beans are picked to produce 1kg of roasted coffee. At $1,100 per kilogram or $500 per pound, the cost per serving of the elephant coffee equals about $50, making the exotic new brew the world's priciest. It takes 33 kilograms of raw coffee cherries to produce 1 kilo of Black Ivory Coffee.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans are seen being put into a mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans are seen being stirred into a mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Black Ivory Coffee founder Blake Dinkin (R) feeds an elephant a coffee bean mixture at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant scoops up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a Thai mahout, serves a coffee bean mixture to an elephant at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant scoops up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A coffee bean mixture on the ground after an elephant feeds at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant is seen alongside dung filled with coffee beans at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images The children of a mahout play with an elephant next to elephant dung containing coffee beans at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives Niang (L) and Lynda (R) pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans picked from elephant dung are held at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Niang, a mahout's wife and her daughter Ari, 6, wash the coffee beans after picking them from the dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Miki Giles from Hong Kong tastes the Black Ivory Coffee at breakfast as Meena, a 6 year old baby elephant, gets curious at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A balance brewer makes Black Ivory coffee at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Miki Giles from Hong Kong tastes the Black Ivory Coffee at breakfast as Meena, a 6 year old baby elephant, gets curious at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 8, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 8, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 9, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a Thai mahout, stirs up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Thai elephants during an early morning graze at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Canadian Blake Dinkin, founder of Black Ivory coffee, hugs an elephant at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout rides his elephant after bathing at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout watches as elephants are fed a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant and a mahout ride along the field at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout walks his elephant back into the jungle at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai mahout rides his elephant in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a mahout, rests in a hammock near his elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant's eye is caught by the sunlight at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Pricey elephant poop coffee

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand. Black Ivory Coffee, started by Canadian coffee expert Blake Dinkin, is made from Thai arabica hand picked beans. The coffee is created from a process whereby coffee beans are naturally refined by a Thai elephant. It takes about 15-30 hours for the elephant to digest the beans, and later they are plucked from their dung and washed and roasted. Approximately 10,000 beans are picked to produce 1kg of roasted coffee. At $1,100 per kilogram or $500 per pound, the cost per serving of the elephant coffee equals about $50, making the exotic new brew the world's priciest. It takes 33 kilograms of raw coffee cherries to produce 1 kilo of Black Ivory Coffee.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans are seen being put into a mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans are seen being stirred into a mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Black Ivory Coffee founder Blake Dinkin (R) feeds an elephant a coffee bean mixture at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant scoops up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a Thai mahout, serves a coffee bean mixture to an elephant at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant scoops up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A coffee bean mixture on the ground after an elephant feeds at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant is seen alongside dung filled with coffee beans at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images The children of a mahout play with an elephant next to elephant dung containing coffee beans at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives Niang (L) and Lynda (R) pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans picked from elephant dung are held at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Niang, a mahout's wife and her daughter Ari, 6, wash the coffee beans after picking them from the dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Miki Giles from Hong Kong tastes the Black Ivory Coffee at breakfast as Meena, a 6 year old baby elephant, gets curious at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A balance brewer makes Black Ivory coffee at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Miki Giles from Hong Kong tastes the Black Ivory Coffee at breakfast as Meena, a 6 year old baby elephant, gets curious at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 8, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 8, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 9, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a Thai mahout, stirs up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Thai elephants during an early morning graze at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Canadian Blake Dinkin, founder of Black Ivory coffee, hugs an elephant at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout rides his elephant after bathing at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout watches as elephants are fed a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant and a mahout ride along the field at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout walks his elephant back into the jungle at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai mahout rides his elephant in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a mahout, rests in a hammock near his elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant's eye is caught by the sunlight at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Harvesting Process

Ten years in the making, Black Ivory Coffee is created through a process whereby coffee cherries are naturally refined by Thai elephants in the remote rural province of Surin, Thailand.

​ It begins with selecting the best 100% Thai Arabica cherries that have been picked from an altitude as high as 1500 meters. Next, the cherries are brought to Surin where each elephant care-giving family mixes the cherries with the elephant's favourite food. Examples include: rice, banana and tamarind. This combination helps to ensure that the elephant enjoys the snack and that there is additional nutritional benefit. Each elephant has its own recipe as their taste, just like humans, is subjective. Once ingested, the digestive process will begin and this can take between 12 to 72 hours depending on the amount of food already in the stomach of the elephant.

Once deposited by the elephants, the individual cherries are hand-picked by the elephant care-givers. (Please refer to the Social Responsibility section for benefits provided in this part of the value chain)

The picked cherries are then brought to the local school where final year high school students are paid to wash, rake and sun dry the coffee cherries. (Please refer to the Social Responsibility section for benefits provided in this part of the value chain)

Once dried to a certain percentage of moisture the cherries are then hulled and sorted by machine for density and by hand for physical defects and size. Only the largest sizes are chosen to ensure an even roast.

Next, the beans are roasted, packed in a one-way valve bag to ensure freshness and shipped out. To ensure freshness, Black Ivory Coffee roasts to order and does not warehouse roasted coffee.

Approximately 33 kilograms of coffee cherries are required to produce just one kilogram of Black Ivory Coffee. The result is a very distinctive cup with notes of chocolate/cacao, spice, (tobacco and leather), a hint of grass and red cherry. Black Ivory Coffee lacks bitterness and is delicate, almost tea-like in its complexity. While taste is subjective, we believe this will be the most distinctive cup you will ever taste.


Pricey elephant poop coffee

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand. Black Ivory Coffee, started by Canadian coffee expert Blake Dinkin, is made from Thai arabica hand picked beans. The coffee is created from a process whereby coffee beans are naturally refined by a Thai elephant. It takes about 15-30 hours for the elephant to digest the beans, and later they are plucked from their dung and washed and roasted. Approximately 10,000 beans are picked to produce 1kg of roasted coffee. At $1,100 per kilogram or $500 per pound, the cost per serving of the elephant coffee equals about $50, making the exotic new brew the world's priciest. It takes 33 kilograms of raw coffee cherries to produce 1 kilo of Black Ivory Coffee.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans are seen being put into a mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans are seen being stirred into a mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Black Ivory Coffee founder Blake Dinkin (R) feeds an elephant a coffee bean mixture at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant scoops up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a Thai mahout, serves a coffee bean mixture to an elephant at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant scoops up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A coffee bean mixture on the ground after an elephant feeds at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant is seen alongside dung filled with coffee beans at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images The children of a mahout play with an elephant next to elephant dung containing coffee beans at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives Niang (L) and Lynda (R) pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Mahout's wives pick out coffee beans from elephant dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Coffee beans picked from elephant dung are held at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Niang, a mahout's wife and her daughter Ari, 6, wash the coffee beans after picking them from the dung at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Miki Giles from Hong Kong tastes the Black Ivory Coffee at breakfast as Meena, a 6 year old baby elephant, gets curious at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A balance brewer makes Black Ivory coffee at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Miki Giles from Hong Kong tastes the Black Ivory Coffee at breakfast as Meena, a 6 year old baby elephant, gets curious at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 8, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 8, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A member of the Lisu hill tribe picks Thai arabica coffee beans at the Thai High coffee farm on Dec. 9, 2012, in Phrao, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a Thai mahout, stirs up a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice that will be fed to some elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Thai elephants during an early morning graze at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort, Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Canadian Blake Dinkin, founder of Black Ivory coffee, hugs an elephant at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout rides his elephant after bathing at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout watches as elephants are fed a coffee bean mixture with fruit and rice at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant walks in the jungle in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant and a mahout ride along the field at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A mahout walks his elephant back into the jungle at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai mahout rides his elephant in the early morning fog at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Lun, a mahout, rests in a hammock near his elephants at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 9, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images A Thai elephant's eye is caught by the sunlight at an elephant camp at the Anantara Golden Triangle resort on Dec. 10, 2012, in Golden Triangle, northern Thailand.

$50 for a cup of coffee? All you need is elephant poop

Starbucks raised eyebrows when it recently started offering coffee for $7 a cup. But that’s nothing compared to a brew that goes for a hefty $50 per serving.

Why does this coffee cost so much? Because the beans first have to be eaten, digested and then pooped out by an elephant.

Apparently that’s an exotic enough process to fetch a price of $500 a pound, making this one of the world’s most expensive blends.

The coffee is called Black Ivory and hails from Thailand. It was unveiled last month at a handful of luxury hotels catering to, well, the sort of people who can afford a $50 cup of joe.

“When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness,” Blake Dinkin, who has spent $300,000 developing the coffee, told the Associated Press. “You end up with a cup that’s very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee.”

This isn’t the first coffee that relies on poops for its heady flavor. Kopi luwak employs civets for a similar purpose. But apparently the larger stomachs of elephants add to the mix.

It can take between 15 and 30 hours for an elephant to digest coffee beans. That means they have plenty of time to stew alongside all the bananas, sugar cane and other stuff a pachyderm might have chomped on during the interval.

This might make for an unusually zesty brew, but let’s be realistic: There are a lot better things you can do with $50 than buy a single cup of coffee.

For instance, you could buy seven of Starbucks’ top blend. You might miss out on all the bananas and sugar cane. But at least you’d get a whole week of your fix instead of just a day’s worth.


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