The world obviously hasn’t gotten over drinking things that come out of an animal’s rear-end. The civet cat has had its share of the limelight; so move over for coffee from the lumbering elephant. Presenting Black Ivory Coffee!
While Kopi Luwak is the generic term for coffee beans that has been passed through the digestive system of the civet cat, Black Ivory Coffee is actually a brand of coffee from the Black Ivory Coffee Company. This Northern Thailand-based company works with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, a refuge for rescued elephants. Twenty elephants at the foundation are fed the coffee cherries, like the civet cats before them, and the excreted beans are then harvested by hand.
The taste of the coffee is affected by the enzymes in the elephant’s digestive tract. They break down the proteins in the coffee, resulting in a less bitter taste. Apart from that, whatever the elephant has been eating also impart different and unique flavours to the resulting beans.
The company commits to support the locals through processing the coffee, and in return improving their income. The other major effort goes to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, where the elephants will be well treated and care for, thus none of the shady problems surrounding Kopi Luwak. The company also promises 8% of its sales to be donated to the foundation, where this will be used to fund their health care.
The wellbeing of these elephants are not affected by caffeine even though they are fed with coffee fruit. According to the company, the green coffee bean’s design actually help acts as a protective barrier to the coffee oils inside, where the caffeine is found. The first layer is the shell, then its pulp and lastly skin layer around the bean itself. On top of that, in order to extract the caffeine, heat is necessary, thus why the coffee is roasted at roughly 200°C and brewed at 93°C. The company explained that the blood work has been completed by independent veterinarians to confirm that there has been no harm to the elephants. An elephant veterinarian is also on-site at the the production site full-time. Even though these elephants seems to be well taken care of, it leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling.
That warm and fuzzy feeling might not last past the moment you hear about the price of the coffee. Costing from $1,100 per kilogram, this exorbitant price is due to it’s rarity in availability, affected by factors such as the availability of the coffee cherries, the number of beans destroyed by the chewing process during ingestion, and the ability of the workers to find the excreted beans in the bush. Maybe the elephants don’t like to poop in front of humans; they are bashful that way. With the it’s process, remote locality and the amount of coffee produced per year, no wonder it is consider the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee.
For those of you who are interested in trying out this rare and unique coffee, we just got word from Black Ivory Coffee Company that Marina Bays Sands Club Lounge has begun serving Black Ivory Coffee this week.