Anantara, an upscale resort company in Thailand, is selling coffee harvested from the natural waste of elephants for upwards of $50 a cup.
The coffee supplants kopi luwak (palm civet) coffee as the world’s most expensive. Anantara has produced approximately 50 kilograms of the coffee, with a retail price of approximately $1,100 per kilogram, at its resort locations in South Male, Baa Atolls and Thailand. Anantara is calling the coffee, Thai-grown arabica beans hand-picked from the dung of elephants, Black Ivory. Here’s what the company said in an announcement of the product:
Research indicates that during digestion, the enzymes of the elephant break down coffee protein. Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness in coffee, less protein means almost no bitterness.
The process begins with selecting the best Thai Arabica beans that have been picked from an altitude of 1,500 metres. Once deposited by the elephant, the individual beans are handpicked by mahouts (elephant trainer and carer) and their wives and sundried.
Of course, with such a labor-intensive production process, the company says it is naturally taking the utmost care in brewing, using a syphon method. It should be noted that the beans are being roasted to a full city.
In order to demonstrate freshness and to enhance diners’ senses, the coffee is ground by hand at the table and brewed using technology developed in 1840 in Austria. This balancing syphon is not only a beautiful machine, but also widely recognised as the best way to brew coffee. The consistent 93° Celsius temperature and contact time between water and bean result in a very clean and flavourful taste. The four minute brewing process is visually enticing and leaves a lasting impression.