Considered the “world’s most expensive coffee,” Black Ivory Coffee is no ordinary “cup of joe,” but a very expensive delicacy.
The beans used in Black Ivory Coffee are no ordinary beans, but ones that have been eaten, digested, then excreted as dung from elephants in the beautiful hills of northern Thailand.
Blake Dinkin is a 42-year-old Canadian with a background in civet coffee and has spent $300,000 developing the coffee. He states, “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.
Black Ivory Coffee is currently selling for about a whopping US $1200/kg! It takes between 15-70 hours as the digestive process removes the bitterness and infuses fruit into the bean. It takes 33 kg of coffee cherries to make 1 kg of Black Ivory Coffee.
Currently Blake Dinkin only sells his very unique but expensive coffee to five star hotels such as the Anantara (Kihavah in the Maldives and Golden Triangle in Thailand), Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, The Siam Hotel and The Peninsula.
A cup of coffee at one these luxury resorts is not cheap, selling for about $50 per cup. But who simply wants a cup of expensive coffee brought out to their table without some fanfare? Dinkin also wanted to create a unique experience for customers of his Black Ivory Coffee. Hotels will hand grind and serve the coffee at the table of the guest using a brewing machine whose design goes back to 1840.
So why the high cost of dung coffee? The main reason is that raising the street rescued, Thai elephants in a natural reserve is not cheap. Plus Blake pays the wives of the mahouts (elephant owners) to collect the beans by hand. For the wives, this becomes a valuable form of income generation.
Blake Dinkin is also trying to “give back” and make make a positive social impact by donating 8% of their proceeds to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. This particular foundation is where the Thai elephants are located – http://www.helpingelephants.org
If you are interested in supporting this cause, for the next month you can purchase Black Ivory Coffee as part of their Indiegogo campaign. The company is attempting to raise $15000 to cover legal costs so they can try and protect their brand through intellectual property protection. If interested, please visit: IndieGogo