World’s Most Expensive Coffee Is Made from Elephant Dung

You probably didn’t know this, but the world’s most expensive coffee is pretty crappy, literally. Black Ivory coffee is made from beans eaten and digested by Thai elephants, and is priced at $1,100 per kilogram. Enjoy!

I knew elephants in Thailand were good at painting, but I didn’t know they also make great coffee. The rare Black Ivory blend is served at only four resorts around the world, three in the Maldives and one in Thailand. The people behind the exclusive Anantara Resorts came up with the unusual idea of making coffee from elephant-digested beans. As weird and disgusting as it sounds, their idea actually makes sense, in theory. According to research, enzymes in the elephant’s stomach break down the proteins in the coffee beans, and since proteins is one of the main factors of its bitterness, less protein means less of a bitter taste. The drink resulted from the elephant-refined beans is said to be floral and chocolaty, with the taste containing notes of ‘milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries.’ 

Photo: MarkSweep

If you’re worried you might accidentally be drinking coffee made from elephant dung at your local coffee shop, don’t be. The Black Ivory blend is in very short supply, with only around 50 kilograms of the stuff available for purchase at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, in Thailand. Not to mention the crazy price of $1,100 per kilo ($50 per cup) only makes it a treat for fine coffee lovers with very deep pockets. Why so expensive, you ask? Well, there are multiple reasons for the steep price. One, raising elephants in a natural reserve isn’t cheap, and 8% of the proceeds from the sales of Black Ivory coffee go to olden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. Then, while they might be good at pooping out delicious coffee, elephants aren’t very efficient. The elephants are fed only Thai Arabica coffee beans grown at an altitude of around 5,000 feet, but they need to eat more than 72 pounds of coffee cherries to produce 2.2 pounds of coffee beans. No one can confirmed it yet, but I bet those elephants get a caffeine buzz after every meal.

Photo: fir0002

Strangely enough, the former most expensive coffee in the world, kopi luwak, is also made from animal dropings. In Indonesia, civets – weasel-like creatures – are fed coffee cherries which are then harvested from their excrement. So when life gives you crap, make coffee!

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Feedback (3 Comments)

  • Blake Posted on October 25, 2012

    Hi. To clarify Black Ivory Coffee is not the brainchild of Anantara. Anantara is the customer. The inventor of Black Ivory Coffee is Blake Dinkin and he is the founder of the company by the same name. The website is http://www.blackivorycoffee.com

    BTW no buzz for the elephants as they eat green coffee. In order to bring out the caffeine you need heat. This is why we roast and brew coffee.

  • TING Posted on October 26, 2012

    Vietnamese weasel coffee is sold at $3,000 per kilogram (approx. $1,364 per pound). MOST EXPENSIVE?

  • Shiv Posted on November 29, 2012

    Got a taste of this divine coffee in Bangkok. I’m still following the elephant around.