The World’s Most Expensive Coffee Goes Through An Elephant Before It Gets To The Cup

We are all mature adults, so I’m sure you can handle the news that the No. 1 most expensive coffee in the world first passes through an elephant as a No. 2. That, and we’ve all heard of those civet cat coffee beans, so now we can just move on and talk about expensive caffeine. And poop. Poop.

The stuff’s called Black Ivory, and it’s made by a Canadian businessman in Thailand’s Golden Triangle region, reports Michael Sullivan on All Things Considered.

The Arabica beans come from hill tribes in the north of Thailand, and involve a long drying process and “precise” roasting process. They’re then mashed up with some fruit and fed to elephants from the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (at no harm to the elephants).

Then you’ve gotta wait a few days — Poor elephant! Days?!? — and play the “find the beans in this dung” game. The beans are then scrubbed and washed before they’re made into coffee.

So why elephants instead of cats?

“They eat a lot of grass and a lot of green, leafy matter. A herbivore, to break that down, utilizes fermentation to break down that cellulose,” the entrepreneur says. “Fermentation is great for things like wine or beer or coffee, because it brings out the sugar in the bean, and it helps impart the fruit from the coffee pulp into the bean.”

He says that process gets rid of the bean’s bitterness, making his coffee different from the rest.

When Sullivan tried a $70 serving of the stuff at a hotel and shared it with others, everyone seemed to enjoy the No. 2 brew. And that bitterness? Not there, Sullivan says.

One woman who doesn’t even drink coffee seemed to enjoy it as well.

“It’s sort of fruity,” she said. “Well, OK, it’s raisin-y to me. I normally describe drinking coffee as a bit like drinking puddle water. But it hasn’t got that horrible muddy water flavor afterwards, which is really nice. I really like it.”

No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant’s No. 2 [All Things Considered]