Coffee snobs who rave about ridiculously expensive “pre-digested” Kopi Luwak civet coffee now have something new to turn their noses up at: Black Ivory coffee! Costing upwards of $1,100 per kilo, this exceptionally rare brew is made from coffee beans eaten and excreted by elephants.
It's not a dumbo, er, dumb idea if you think about it: palm civets are scrawny little beasts who can barely eat more than a couple of coffee beans at a sitting.
Elephants, on the other hand, down entire coffee bushes in a single bite. They also excrete jumbo-sized clumps of fibrous waste that's easy to find, process and disassemble.
Naturally, someone's got to do the finding, processing and disassembling: in the case of Black Ivory coffee, that would be the mahouts (elephant trainers & care givers) and their families. Recovery of the beans is done by first washing and straining the elephant dung, then drying the beans outdoors in natural sunlight.
From start to finish, production of Black Ivory coffee is strictly organized and supervised at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, located at and supported by the Anantara Golden Triangle and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Thailand.
As befits a recognized elephant conservation program, 8 percent of Black Ivory coffee sales are to be directed towards funding an elephant veterinarian specialist who will be providing care to the animals at no charge. Any additional funds will be used to purchase medicines and fund a new on-site laboratory.
A worthy cause indeed but cost aside, enjoying a cup or two of Black Ivory coffee isn't as easy as moseying down to your local Starbucks. Anantara Resorts is serving the fragrant fluid only at their resort properties in the Maldive Islands.
Should you manage to settle in at one of the company's designated serving facilities, be prepared for an intimate and interactive experience: a precisely measured portion of Black Ivory coffee beans are hand-ground and brewed at your table. The four-minute process is sure to stoke your anticipation to elephantine levels!
Those who've tried is report the coffee's fragrance exudes floral and chocolate notes. As for the taste, “milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries.”
If you're up to enjoying Black Ivory coffee and have the financial means to make it happen, get going already! Sources state there are only 50 kilograms (about 110 pounds) available for sale at press time. Doubtless more is in the works, and you'd best believe they're not storing it in the trunk. (via Xinhua English News)