A new coffee brew geared towards the well-to-do and coffee connoisseurs uses an elephant's digestive system to break down components in the coffee bean, giving the brew a truly unique and natural flavor.
The new brew, known as Black Ivory, was recently introduced at Thailand's luxury Anantara hotels. The exclusive drink is manufactured with the elephant-processed beans at the Golden Triangle resort in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, according to the Associated Press.
"Research indicates that during digestion, the enzymes of the elephant break down coffee protein," Anantara explained in a press release. "Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness in coffee, less protein means almost no bitterness."
The coffee is not likely to be available at local supermarkets or coffee houses anytime soon, as it is one of the most expensive brews in the world. Black Ivory goes for around $550 per pound or about $50 per cup and offers a truly unique coffee experience.
"When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness," Blake Dinkin, who developed the coffee, told AP. "You end up with a cup that's very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee."
As of now, the exotic animal-processed brew can only be ordered at one of Anantara's four resorts in the Maldives, the Golden Triangle resort in northern Thailand, and just recently in Abu Dhabi, CNN reported.
Elephant care takers at first were worried that having elephants consume large quantities of Thai Arabica cherries (the beans are found inside the cherries) would introduce high levels of caffeine into the elephants system, but they found that it had no ill effects on the animals.
"My initial thought was about caffeine- won't the elephants get wired on it or addicted to coffee?" John Roberts, Anantara's director of elephants at the Golden Triangle explained. "As far as we can tell there is definitely no harm to the elephants."