Would You Care for Some Elephant Poo with Your Cup of Joe?

October 11, 2012 By:K. Clare Johnson

 Exterior of Anantara Golden Triangle Resort and Spa

Tired of the mundane macchiatos at your local Starbucks? Got some cash burning a hole in your pocket?  
Anantara Resorts has what you need to feel caffeinated and lighter in wallet. The luxury hotel group has
introduced Black Ivory Coffee (affectionately dubbed Elephant Poo Coffee for reasons that will become clear
in a moment) to its resorts in the Maldives and in Thailand's Golden Triangle. While picking coffee beans out of
animal poop isn't new (civets, those hipsters of the animal world, have been pooping out coffee beans since
before it was cool), coffee beans via elephant dung is.

Resident elephants at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort and Spa

How is this rare and precious coffee made? The process begins with selecting choice Thai Arabica beans that
have been picked from an altitude of 1,500 meters. Said beans are fed to the rescued street elephants that live
at Anantara's Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF). Enzymes found in the elephant's digestive
system break down the protein in the coffee bean. Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness
in coffee, the resulting bean has almost no bitterness.

Beans expelled by the elephant are handpicked out of the dung by mahouts (elephant trainer and carer) and their
spouses. After some time drying in the sun, the coffee is refined at the GTAEF. The roasted beans sell for around
$1,100 a kilogram with eight percent of all sales are donated to the GTAEF to help with veterinary care for rescued
street elephants. Approximately 10,000 beans are needed to produce one kilogramme of roasted coffee.

Elephant at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort and Spa

When it is served to guests at Anantara's Golden Triangle, the coffee is hand-ground and brewed tableside using
technology developed in 1840's Austria. Now all this coffee needs is a fun nickname. #Dumbochino? #Elephalatte?
#Pachyspresso? We'll keep working on it.

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About the Author: K. Clare Johnson


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