If you like your coffee strong with plenty of nose, then Thailand could be your ideal destination, after a blend made from elephant dung was put on sale by an upmarket hotel chain.
The Black Ivory blend, made from coffee beans digested and excreted by Thai elephants, is billed as producing a particularly smooth cup.
But it is not cheap, with Anantara Hotels saying the “naturally refined” coffee costs a staggering $1067 a kilogram, making it one of the most expensive blends in the world.
“Research indicates that during digestion the enzymes of the elephant break down coffee protein,” the Thai-based hotel group, which is selling the pungent brew at about $50 for two cups.
“Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness in coffee, less protein means almost no bitterness.”
Once the elephants have digested the coffee berries, the beans are picked out of their dung by mahouts…their trainers…and then sun-dried.
The process is carried out at the hotel’s elephant rescue centre in Thailand’s north where 30 of the beasts live along with mahouts and their families.
Black Ivory is not the first novelty blend to hit the market in recent years. Coffee passed through the civet, a tree-dwelling mammal in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, sells for a similar price.
by Sasha Dubronitz