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Black Ivory Coffee: You Won’t Find This Sh*t in Your Local Starbucks!

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 The Black Ivory Coffee Company Ltd., a company based in Chiang Saen, Northern Thailand is famous for producing the rarest and the most expensive coffee in the world. The Arabica coffee beans are consumed by the street rescued Thai elephants and are then collected from their excreta. Refinement of the coffee takes place at Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) in Thailand. The foundation has rescued 30 street elephants to date and 8% of all coffee sales were donated to GTAEF to help fund an elephant veterinarian to provide free care to the elephants.

So what makes this coffee so rare? The Arabica Beans are picked from an altitude of 1500 meters. After the elephant excretes, the mahout and his wife handpick the beans and they are sun dried and roasted off later. 8800 beans are required for a kilogram of roasted coffee i.e. 33 kilograms of coffee cherries are required for just 1 kilogram of Black Ivory Coffee.

The supply of Black Ivory coffee depends on the availability of coffee cherries, the appetite of the elephants, the number of beans destroyed through chewing of the beans and the ability of the mahouts and their wives to recover intact beans. Hence the rarity leads to a high price. It is sold at $1,100 per kilogram. Black Ivory coffee is only available at Anantara luxury hotels and resorts in a few remote corners of the world – Thailand, the Maldives, and Abu Dhabi.

Fun Fact : The Arabica beans contain 1% caffeine and are brewed in a machine that was designed almost 200 years ago!

If anyone told me to have a coffee made from poop, I wouldn’t have it for a thousand bucks.

But various experiences suggest otherwise. Canadian Businessman Blake Dinkin ( also the founder of Black Ivory) settled in Thailand is betting a small fortune to produce this coffee at his sanctuary, dubbing it “the next big thing”.

To reach the sanctuary, you need to cross the Mekong river in Northern Thailand followed by a foot journey, then a jeep ride over dusty roads on the rugged mountainside.”;It’s not a coffee that people are going to wake up late for work craving,” Blake said. ”This is a special, unique coffee that is for a minority of people who are open minded and adventurous, and want to try something different.”

“The Elephant Story” is a shop in Comfort, Texas. It is an antique shop with a twist that has all things elephant. Ed Story , the owner was an elephant polo player.

This shop serves the Black Ivory Coffee for $50 per 400ml. It is akin to wine tasting and is an “experience”. You get to have a smell of the exotic coffee prior to shelling out the cash. The elephant being a vegetarian, his system has an enzyme that extracts protein. That is why, rather than a bitter tasting coffee, you get a sweet luxurious beverage.


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It is strongly recommended to drink the coffee black. Avoid adding milk as this will overpower the delicate but complex notes of the Black Ivory Coffee. While adding sugar, use raw and not the white/processed alternative as this will be a bit too sweet. Black Ivory Coffee pairs fantastically well with chocolate, cakes that have spices such as nutmeg (carrot cake) or cinnamon as well as dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries. Chocolate with chilli or ginger is excellent too.

More adventurous options include cigars or bourbon.

Black Ivory Coffee is often confused with Kopi Luwak, a coffee made from the deposition of an Indonesian cat-like animal civet. The Black ivory and Vietnamese weasel coffee are constantly competing to become the “Most Expensive Coffee in the World”. So, may the best “crapuccino” win!