Coffee made from Thai elephant dung sells for USD 50 per cup
Coffee connoisseurs are rushing to Thailand to get a sip of a new brand of gourmet coffee made from beans hand-picked from Thai elephant dung, which cost 5 dollars a cup.
To fill their thirst, wives of mahouts in northern Thailand are eagerly waiting to pick fresh elephant dung.
For the first time in the world, coffee made from pure arabica beans are being slow cooked in the stomachs of a herd of 30 elephants, plucked 30 hours later from their dung, then washed and roasted.
People who have tried Black Ivory Coffee say it tastes of "milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries".
Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas, a luxury hotel group, is selling the coffee at its hotels in northern Thailand, the Maldives and Abu Dhabi, with a price tag of US1100 dollars a kilogram.
"When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Blake Dinkin, a Canadian who has spent 300,00 US dollars developing the brand as telling a news agency.
"You end up with a cup that's very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee," Dinkin added.
The coffee beans, hand-picked by villagers on hillsides, stew together with bananas, sugar cane and other ingredients in the elephants' vegetarian diet.
The first batch of 70 kilograms has already sold out and Dinkin hopes to produce six times that amount next year.