In a world that’s grown mad about gourmet coffee, Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas have taken this fascination to a whole new level. They now offer a coffee that has – quite literally – been through an elephant.
For anyone with even a passing interest in gourmet coffees, the fuss made about Kopi Luwak (made with beans digested and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet) can hardly have escaped your attention. Kopi Luwak counts as the world’s most expensive coffee, costing up to 350 dollars per kilogram. The theory behind its unique taste is that digestive enzymes in the Civet break down the coffee proteins – which are responsible for the brew’s bitterness – resulting in a smoother taste.
For those wondering what on earth would prompt a human being to make coffee from beans pooped out by a small wild animal, the anecdote traditionally given involves natives of the Dutch East Indies. Prohibited from gathering coffee fruits during colonial times, somebody eventually stumbled on the idea of sidestepping the rule by using the beans left intact in Civet droppings for their morning brew, and Kopi Luwak was born.
Expansion, err, moving up in the world, err… efficiency
One of the major drawbacks to Kopi Luwak is that the Asian Palm Civet is quite small, and has equally small droppings, making collecting and cleaning the beans a rather piddly job. It stood to reason that if a Palm Civet-digested bean was improvement, the same concept might hold true for other, larger animals – like elephants. Go big, or go home, we speculate…
This is exactly the concept behind Black Ivory Coffee. Grown at altitudes of approximately 1,500 meters, coffee berries are picked and then given to elephants in their food. Individual beans are then gathered by hand by the Mahouts (elephant trainers/caregivers) and their wives, and placed in the sun to dry. Considering that it takes around 10,000 beans to produce one kilogram of roasted coffee, it must still be a rather epic job collecting and cleaning all those elephant poops.
Enrich your life, enrich an elephant’s life
The coffee is refined at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Thailand, an organization that has now rescued over 30 street elephants, their Mahout caregivers, and their families. 8% of proceeds from the coffee are invested back into the organization to provide care and veterinarian costs for the elephants.
Old Austrian technology for your enjoyment
Antantara Hotels, Resorts, and Spas provide guests wishing to try this unique brew with a special ceremony. Beans are ground fresh at the table, and brewed using the world’s finest (and most beautiful) coffee making technology. Developed in Austria in 1840, the balancing syphon used ensures beans are brewed at a consistent 93° Celsius during the four-minute process. Fifty one kilogram bags of Black Ivory Coffee will also be available for sale at 1,100 dollars (850 euro) each. Tangy.
For the curious, adventurous, or philanthropic, more information can be found on the Antantara Hotels, Resorts, and Spas homepage.