Anantara offers coffee ‘refined’ by elephant digestion

Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas’ four Maldives resorts have joined the group’s Anantara Golden Triangle resort in Thailand in offering Black Ivory Coffee, coffee that is extracted from — wait for it — elephant excrement.

Black Ivory Coffee is created from a process whereby select Thai Arabica coffee beans are digested and “naturally refined” by Thai elephants. During digestion, elephant enzymes break down coffee protein, resulting in a less bitter brew. After elephants “deposit” the beans, they are handpicked by mahouts (elephant trainers) and dried in the sun. The “refinement” takes place at Anantara’s Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Thailand, which has rescued 30 street elephants along with their mahouts and families to date.

The coffee, which boasts a retail price of approximately US$1,100 per kg, is ground by hand at the table and brewed using technology dating back to 1840.