Anantara Hotels has introduced one of the most expensive and exclusive coffees in the world to its Maldives and Thailand hotels.
Not a spectacularly interesting piece of news until you find out the journey the coffee beans go through before reaching your cup.
Black Ivory Coffee is created from a process whereby coffee beans are digested and naturally refined by Thai elephants.
The process begins with selecting the best Thai Arabica beans that have been picked from an altitude of 1,500 metres.
The beans are digested and then deposited by the elephants and the individual beans are handpicked by mahouts (elephant trainer and carer) and their wives and sundried.
Research indicates that during digestion, the enzymes of the elephant break down coffee protein. Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness in coffee, less protein means almost no bitterness.
It retails at approximately US$1,100 per kilogram and there are just 50kgs available for sale at the moment.
Chief executive of parent company Minor Hotel Group Dillip Rajakier said: “We are delighted to be amongst the first hotels in the world to offer this one-of-a-kind coffee experience that also has a positive impact in the lives of Thai elephants.
"It perfectly and flavourfully fits the philosophy of Anantara Resorts to afford our story collecting travellers unique experiences in a destination that appeases more than just aesthetic senses."
Refinement of the coffee takes place at Anantara's own foundation the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) in Thailand.
The foundation, set in the grounds of Anantara Golden Triangle has, to date, rescued 30 street elephants along with their mahouts and families.
Eight per cent of all coffee sales will be donated to GTAEF to help fund a specialist elephant veterinarian to provide free care to the elephants and additional funds will also be used to purchase medicine as well as to build a new laboratory.
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