Black Ivory – The 2nd most expensive coffee – (6/9)

Well, it’s from poop again! What’s with man and his association with animal poop? This coffee is from Thailand, and is among the most expensive coffees in the world, at $1,100 per kilogram. Coffee sold in some luxury hotels in South East Asian countries like Thailand, the Maldives, etc for USD50 a cup!! Not too bad, would love to try it!

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Canadian born Mr.Blake Dinkin is the one who came up with the brilliantly ingenious idea of elephant coffee or Black Ivory Coffee I guess imaginations can run wild but can pay rich dividends eh? According to him, Blake thinks of the elephant as the animal kingdom’s equivalent of a slow cooker : It takes between 15-70 hours to digest the beans, which stew together with the bananas, sugar cane and other ingredients in the elephant’s vegetarian diet. This infuses a unique earthy and fruity flavor to the coffee (or the poop). He said “When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness. You end up with a cup that’s very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee.” The result is similar to civet coffee, but the elephants’ massive stomach provides the bonus of smoothness and flavour. Dinkin said an elephant takes 72 pounds of raw coffee cherries to produce 2 pounds of Black Ivory coffee. The majority of beans get chewed up, broken or lost after being excreted. He uses pure Arabica beans hand-picked by hill-tribe women from a small mountain estate. Once the elephants do their business, the wives of elephant riders collect the dung, break it open and pick out the coffee. After a thorough washing, the coffee cherries are processed to extract the beans, which are then brought to a gourmet roaster in Bangkok. Mr. Dinkin is supposed to have spent $400,000 developing the idea!

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My business idea, angels (investors) welcome!

Civet is small – elephant is large – what is in the middle a cow or a human? When I said human, my wonderful husband says “Yuck!!, that’s awful.” My argument was what’s wrong? There are many vegetarians, won’t their poop be same as an animal? But then humans are not as organic as animals so I will settle for the cow. When I retire I am looking forward to try my hand on cow coffee and also search for elephant dung in and around Nagarahole National park! Perhaps I can sell the dung as organic manure too. However there is a catch, elephants does not digest properly and the dung is raw (that’s why elephant is one of the main seed dispersers in African plains) which may be the one of the main reasons coffee bean stays whole. So how am I going to achieve the same rawness with cows (or even humans?) Any suggestion/advice/solution from you readers? It’s high time I change my perception of pooooooo!! (Part 6 of 9) (Edits made after corrections/inputs received from Mr Blake!)

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One thought on “Black Ivory – The 2nd most expensive coffee – (6/9)

  1. Hi. This is Blake and thank you for writing about my coffee. I should let you know now and save you time by saying that this will not work with cows. Cows chew their cud and as a result the beans will be destroyed. Before choosing elephants I considered, cows, horses, rhinos, giraffes, monkeys even goats. Based on certain criteria such as dental structure, digestion, accesibility, safety and propensity to eat coffee the only choice was elephants. BTW elephants eat coffee in the wild but I am not sure that would be the case for cows. 🙂

    A few other points, we don’t sell in Abu Dhabi and the digestion period is 15-70 hours.

    I have spent $400,000 to develop Black Ivory Coffee and you don’t have to take my word for it. If someone who does not know how to make my coffee just takes coffee and gives it to an elephant he/she will see that it will taste like you would expect!

    Finally, I should add that civet coffee has been condemned by animal welfare groups, Speciality Coffee Association of America and others because the civets are taken from the wild and fed an unhealthy diet that consists of mainly coffee. In contrast the elephants that I work with are at a registered Thai charity that is also an elephant camp that has a full time elephant veterinarian. I also donate 8% of my sales to help cover the cost of the elephant vets salary, medicine to treat sick elephants and to build a laboratory. I operate transparently (tourists can see the process) and ethically.

    Feel free to write me via my website at http://www.blackivorycoffee.com if you have any other questions.

    Best Regards,
    Blake

    Reply

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