Nothing clears holiday fog better than a good ol’ cup of joe. However, a sip of my dark roast americano proves to be too harsh and bitter for a lazy start to the new year. My next go-to would be the medium roast from the Northern Highlands of Thailand, where the Arabica trees are grown. And here are some fun facts! Do you know that Northern Thailand produces the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee beans in the world? It’s called ‘The Black Ivory’ costing a whopping $2200 per kg!!! Here’s why…
You might have guessed from the name that it is related to elephants, to be exact its poop! The process begins when the elephants indulge in the sweet and delicious raw coffee cherries. As they digest, the enzymes break it down using the fermentation process before entering the slow digestive tract. The final result is a uniquely smooth cup of coffee with notes of chocolate, malt, spice, and a hint of grass.
On top of its luxurious taste factor, there're great reasons to pay through the nose being careful not choke on the $30 espresso shot. Firstly, is knowing that the elephants eat the cherries voluntarily. Second, the coffee is manufactured in cooperation with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, one that rescues elephants abused by the tourism industry. Whereby part of the profit goes into feeding, taking care of the animals, as well as providing work for the local communities to process and clean the beans.
As to why the coffee cost an arm and leg? Well, that’s because the elephants enjoy munching on the premium cherries so much that for every 33kg fed, only 1kg of whole beans are collected. Not to mention the daily challenges of tracking down the treasure poop in the lush green sanctuary!
Words by Buranee Soh, cover photo by blackivorycoffee