Black Ivory coffee claims to be one of the rarest, most refined coffees in the world, and retails for a whopping $1,110 per kilogram. And now, it's being offered at the Anantara Resort properties in Thailand,the Maldives, and Abu Dhabi.
How could this wonderful coffee be so luxurious, you might ask? Its proteins—and their associated bitter taste—are broken down during a "refining" process. That process, it turns out, involves a rescued street elephant chomping a huge load of the Thai Arabica beans, digesting them, and then, let's just say, jettisoning the remnants from his or her anterior region.
So, yes, the coffee is kinda made of elephant dung.
Can't wait to try a cup? It costs about $35–$45 for two at the resorts; staff will brew your pot right at your table, using a 19th-century Austrian-style siphon. Black Ivory Coffee Ltd. will be donating 8 percent of all proceeds to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, which cares for rescued elephants. So far, sales have "exceeded expectations," says a hotel source.
Granted, Thai culture has long glorified their beloved elephants, so perhaps the process is not so unsettling to locals. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, a similar coffee is made after coffee beans are eaten and excreted by a cat-like (and pretty cute) civet. Perhaps squeamish westerners might embrace such a high-end coffee if it were "refined" by way of a Golden Retriever wearing a bandana. (No, scratch that. Still grossed out.)
Have you tried the elephant dung coffee? We'd love to hear from you.