30 May Black Ivory Coffee: The Rarest Coffee In The World Is Sold Exclusively At The Most Unexpected Place
Upon our discovery of The Elephant Story, one of the most unique venues in Texas, we were drawn to the rarest and most exclusive coffee in the world, Black Ivory Coffee. Here’s what we learne from this very rare delicacy.Ten years in the making, Black Ivory Coffee is created through a process in which coffee beans are naturally refined by Thai elephants at the
Ten years in the making, Black Ivory Coffee is created through a process in which coffee beans are naturally refined by Thai elephants at the Golden Elephant Triangle Foundation in Chiang Saen, northern Thailand. It begins with selecting the best Thai Arabica beans that have been picked from an altitude as high as 1500 meters. Once deposited by the elephants, the individual beans are handpicked by the Mahouts and their wives, and then sun-dried and roasted. It’s a highly unusual process, but with extensive scientific exploration behind it. In contrast to carnivores, herbivores such as elephants use much more fermentation for digestion. Fermentation is desirable in coffee as it helps to impart the fruit from the coffee pulp into the bean. Meanwhile, research by Dr. Marcone at the University of Guelph 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 result is one of the most exquisite taste experiences for coffee lovers worldwide.
Meanwhile, the amazing composition of green coffee beans makes it so that the shell of the bean acts as a protective barrier to the coffee oils that are inside. No caffeine enters the elephant’s system, since sufficient heat is necessary in order to extract the caffeine from the bean. This is why coffee is roasted at roughly 200 ̊C and brewed at 93 ̊C. As part of nature’s perfect design, the skin and pulp of the coffee bean add further security for the elephant. Independent veterinarians and researchers have completed blood tests on the animals to confirm that the process represents no harm to them and professionals are always on-site during production.
Production takes place at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation headquarters. Blake Dinkin, founder of Black Ivory Coffee, chose this foundation after doing research on approximately 35 elephant sanctuaries and parks in Indonesia, Laos and Thailand. The organization met the highest criteria regarding the conditions in which the elephants are kept, the presence of an on-site veterinarian, their approach to elephant conservation and very pragmatic, thoughtful leadership by John Roberts who is the Executive Director of the foundation. To further their mission of animal preservation, Black Ivory Coffee contributes 8% of their sales to help fund a specialist elephant veterinarian to provide free care to all the elephants of Thailand through GTAEF. Additional funds are also used to purchase medicine as well as to build a new laboratory. Production of Black Ivory Coffee also provides a valuable income generation opportunity for the wives of the Mahouts to help cover health expenses, school fees, food, and clothing.
Approximately 10,000 beans are picked for each kilogram of roasted coffee; thus, 33 kilograms of coffee cherries are required to produce just one kilogram of Black Ivory Coffee. During the entire process, elephants are completely unaffected by the caffeine. In fact, the animals consume the beans naturally. Black Ivory Coffee uses 100% Thai Arabica beans, which contain approximately 1% caffeine (in contrast, Robusta beans contain double that amount). It was reported that in 2012, 50kg of coffee were available with supply increasing, but factors including the availability of high-quality coffee cherries, the appetite of the elephants, the number of beans destroyed through chewing of the beans, the ability of the mahouts and their wives to pick the beans by hand (10,000 beans equal one kg of Black Ivory Coffee) all have an impact on supply. Due to the limited supply, Black Ivory Coffee is only available at The Elephant Story and select five-star hotels around the world.