Move Over, Kopi Luwak: Elephants are Brewing Black Ivory Coffee


An imposing Thai elephant in its element

Civet cats better scurry for cover: elephants are the new go-to animals for au naturel coffee-making: Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas in Thailand are selling pachyderm poo coffee for an astounding US$1,100 per kg.

Marketed under the brilliant moniker Black Ivory Coffee, the specialty brew is created from a process where Thai Arabica beans are ingested and worked over by the elephants' digestive enzymes. Handpicked by the elephants' mahouts and their wives, the beans are then sundried and roasted, yielding what the hotel says is an exceedingly smooth cuppa.

At a retail price of about US$1,100 per kilogramme, the coffee is also one of the most expensive and exclusive in the world. Because the bean-gathering process is so labor-intensive, just 50 kilogrammes are available for sale at time of writing. If you need curious facts for your next cocktail party conversation, let it be said that 10,000 beans are required to produce one kilogramme of roasted Black Ivory.

Eight percent of all coffee sales will be donated to Anantara's Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to help fund an elephant veterinarian to provide free care to the elephants. Additional funds will be used to purchase medicine and build a new laboratory.

"We are delighted to be amongst the first hotels in the world to offer this one-of-a-kind coffee experience that also has a positive impact in the lives of Thai elephants," says Dillip Rajakarier, CEO Minor Hotel Group with includes Anantara. "It perfectly and flavourfully fits the philosophy of Anantara Resorts to afford our story collecting travellers unique experiences in a destination that appeases more than just aesthetic senses."

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas


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