An Asian hotel chain now offers you the world’s most exclusive and likely its most expensive coffee, which derives its refined taste from the subtle workings of an elephant’s digestive system.
Anantara Hotels, a Bangkok-based operator of resorts in Asia and the Middle East, offers its guests the experience of coffee made from beans which have previously been digested by Thai elephants. Two cups of the so-called Black Ivory Coffee cost around $50, Agence-France Presse reported last week. A kilo of the digested beans costs up to $1,100. Currently, only 50 kilograms of the beans are available for sale, the company said in a press release.
The Thai Arabica beans are harvested in Thailand and then fed to local elephants, rescued from roaming in the Southeast Asian nation’s bustling streets. Once digested, the “naturally refined” beans are handpicked by elephant trainers and sun-dried, according to the release. 10,000 beans need to be handpicked out of the warm, mushy dung of the caffeinated mammals to gain one kilo of the precious Black Ivory Coffee.
It’s not the first gourmet blend to pass through a mammal’s digestive tract. Kopi Luwak —a more popular variety of pre-digested coffee — is made from beans fed to the cat-like Asian palm civet. New York-based Porto Rico Importing Co. charges $340 for one pound of civet coffee. Cat-poo coffee producers have recently begun moving away from Robusta to Arabica coffee beans, hedging on their sweeter, more fruity notes, the Guardian observed. Elephant-poo coffee is so far strictly Arabica.