If you’re a coffee lover, you’ve probably heard of elephant poop coffee. If not, well, elephant poop coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. And yes, it is made from, as its name suggests, elephant poop.
Each kilogram of this elephant poop coffee requires 33 kilos of coffee cherries and ten years to produce from start to finish. This is the story of one of rarest and most expensive coffees on earth.
What Is Elephant Poop Coffee?
Elephant poop coffee, also known as Black Ivory Coffee, is a rare and expensive type of coffee that is made from Thai Arabica coffee beans that have been consumed and excreted by elephants.
The elephants are fed a specially designed diet of fruits, flowers, and coffee cherries, and their digestive enzymes break down the proteins in the beans, resulting in a unique flavor profile. The beans are then collected from their dung, washed thoroughly, roasted, and brewed into a luxurious and flavorful coffee.
Black Ivory Coffee is known for its smooth, rich, and chocolatey taste with hints of malt, and is considered one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive coffees.
The name Black Ivory comes from the Thailand-based company which produces and markets the coffee.
A Brief History of Black Ivory Coffee
Black Ivory Coffee was created in 2012 by a Canadian businessman named Blake Dinkin, who was inspired by the traditional method of producing kopi luwak coffee in Indonesia, which also involves using the excrement of a small animal, the Asian palm civet.
However, instead of using the palm civet, Dinkin decided to experiment with elephants, which are larger and have a different digestive system. He worked with a team of elephant experts and veterinarians in northern Thailand to develop a process for producing coffee from elephant dung.
The process involves feeding Thai Arabica coffee cherries to elephants, and then collecting the beans from their dung once they have passed through their digestive system. The beans are washed and sorted by hand, before being roasted to produce Black Ivory Coffee.
Black Ivory Coffee quickly gained attention for its unique production process and high price tag. It has since become a luxury item, with a cup of Black Ivory Coffee costing around $50 or more. Today, the coffee is produced in small batches and sold online to customers around the world.
So How Rare is Black Ivory Coffee?
The annual production of Black Ivory Coffee is very limited due to the small number of elephants involved in the production process and the high level of labor required to harvest and process the beans. According to the Black Ivory Coffee website, the annual production is around 150 to 200 kilograms of coffee, which is equivalent to about 330 to 440 pounds.
In 2022, all of 215 Kgs of Black Ivory coffee was produced, and this was a record haul by a long way.
To put this in perspective, a single elephant can produce only a small amount of coffee beans each day, and the beans need to be collected, washed, and sorted by hand before they can be roasted and brewed into coffee. Additionally, the production process is only carried out during the dry season in northern Thailand, which further limits the amount of coffee that can be produced each year.
The limited annual production of Black Ivory Coffee contributes to its exclusivity and high cost, making it a rare and coveted coffee among enthusiasts and collectors.
Due to its rarity and the unique production process, Black Ivory Coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. A pound of Black Ivory Coffee can cost several hundred dollars, and a single cup can cost upwards of $50 or more in some specialty coffee shops.
The limited availability and high cost of Black Ivory Coffee have contributed to its reputation as a luxury item, and it is primarily consumed by coffee connoisseurs and collectors who are willing to pay a premium for a unique and exclusive coffee experience.
Allright, So Where Can I Buy Some of This Good Stuff?
Your best bet is the Black Ivory Coffee website itself. By their own admission, they sell most of their stock to a select few Five Star hotels across the world, reserving only a small stock for selling on their website. They have a bunch of different varieties such as the Mahout’s Blend and rum barrel aged coffee that combines the flavors of rum with the world’s most exotic coffee.
In addition to the famous elephant poop coffee, Black Ivory also sells a number of other products, such as elephant poop soap.
Yep, you read that right.
This is soap made from the bean collected from elephant soap which is not of a quality high enough to be used for coffee. In addition to the coffee, the soap also has wild Thai forest honey and coconut oil.
Is Black Ivory Coffee Ethical?
Black Ivory coffee is produced from the dung of rescued elephants in elephant care foundations.
According to the Black Ivory Coffee website, the elephants are treated with care and respect and are not subjected to any harm or cruelty. They are fed a diet of fruits, vegetables, and coffee cherries that is designed to meet their nutritional needs, and they are not forced to consume more coffee cherries than they would naturally eat.
However, some animal welfare organizations have raised concerns about the use of animals in the production of luxury food items like Black Ivory Coffee. They argue that the process can be stressful or harmful to the animals and that it may contribute to the illegal trafficking and mistreatment of animals in some cases.
Ultimately, the ethics of Black Ivory Coffee are a matter of personal opinion, and consumers should make their own decisions about whether they feel comfortable supporting the production of coffee that involves animal consumption and excretion. It is important to consider the welfare of the animals involved as well as the impact of the production process on the environment and local communities.