Ivory black coffee is one of the rarest and best coffees in the world. It has many peculiarities, but the most amazing is that it is processed in an elephant’s stomach. It comes from Northern Thailand, and apart from being a coffee, it is also a trademark; Black Ivory Coffee Company Ltd.
It is like Kopi Luwak coffee, but instead of using a civet, an elephant is used to digest the pulp of the coffee bean. It is made from elephant dung, which like civet, the elephant’s stomach acids dissolve the pulp.
The disadvantage for the producer is that, unlike the civet, the elephant destroys most of the beans because they grind them with their teeth, leaving the beans broken at a ratio of 33kilos to produce 1Kilo, and that translates into costs.
Who discovered Black Ivory Coffee?
Canadian entrepreneur Blake Dinkin, based on research, reinvented coffee from animal faeces. Blake had worked with civets but was not convinced by how the animal was forced to eat the berries, so he began to look for alternatives to civets.
His research lasted more than ten years until he came up with the perfect product from elephant faeces. He had tried giraffes, rhinos and hippopotamuses before, but none of these animals seemed suitable.
He then heard about the problems farmers in Thailand were having when elephants destroyed their coffee plantations in times of drought. Blake Dinkin decided to take advantage of this negative situation and turn it into an opportunity: why not use elephants to process the coffee berries?
Today they work with experts in elephant breeding and training. They are fed the arabica bean type, resulting in a coffee with mild and sweet characteristics.
Where does Black Ivory coffee come from?
Blake Dinkin is not the owner of the pachyderms, as they are part of The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, an association that protects abused animals (8% of the sale of this coffee is donated to the foundation).
Today it works hand in hand with the Kuy people (experts for over 3,000 years in the capture, training and breeding of elephants) and the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to ensure that Black Ivory Coffee is ethically produced and has a social impact on the community.
The elephants are treated as family members, where they are fed a balanced diet, and their health is looked after. The Arabica coffee beans are hand-picked by women in a small community 1500 metres up in the mountains of Thailand on the border of Laos and Myanmar.
Middle and high school students are trained to carry out the sorting and drying of the processed beans, providing them with a source of income to support their families and eventually continue their studies outside the country.
Why is Black Ivory coffee so expensive?
Dinkin’s formula combines the natural diet of pachyderms, the cleaning of the beans and the selection of herbs to flavour the coffee. If caring for our pets is expensive, imagine what it would be like to care for an elephant.
Remember that it takes 33 kilograms of cherries to produce 1 kilogram of Black Ivory. Moreover, coffee production depends on when and where the animals choose to defecate. The coffee is lost if they do so in a river or an inaccessible place. On the other hand, all the beans that the elephant grinds with its teeth are lost.
How much does Black Ivory coffee cost?
With all of the above, it is not surprising that barely 120-150 kilos of coffee are produced per year, which directly impacts the price of the coffee itself.
On Black Ivory’s official website, from where they ship worldwide, a 35-gram packet of their roasted coffee costs $85, enough to make five espressos. Yes, the espresso costs $17.
What is the aroma and taste of Black Ivory coffee like?
Black Ivory has none of the bitterness characteristics of coffee and exalts the palate with notes of chocolate, spices and herbs. In addition, some say that its aroma is reminiscent of nuts and floral notes.
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Where can you buy Black Ivory?
Not in many places, so the best option is to go to Amazon or the official Black Ivory store. Another way is to travel and stay in hotels associated with Black Ivory, some in Thailand.