THAT’S RIGHT – $1,100 A KILO. It’s called Black Ivory Coffee – the latest offering from Anantara Golden Triangle resort in northern Thailand, where it’s become quite a sensation. Anantara is now introducing it to its four resorts in the Maldives.
Before you reach for your wallet, perhaps it might be the time to tell you what makes it so expensive.
For starters, there are only 50 kilos available for sale. That’s largely because of the process the coffee beans go through before they reach your table.
It begins with selecting the best Thai Arabica beans that have been picked from an altitude of 1,500 metres. The beans are fed to elephants, who digest and later deposit them. The individual beans are then handpicked by mahouts (elephant trainer and carer) and their wives and sundried.
Approximately 10,000 beans are picked to produce one kilogramme of roasted coffee; 33 kilos of coffee cherries are required to produce one kilo of Black Ivory Coffee.
Research indicates that during digestion, the elephant’s enzymes break down coffee protein. Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness in coffee, and less protein means almost no bitterness.
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 rescued 30 street elephants along with their mahouts and families to date. 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.
In order to demonstrate freshness and to enhance diners’ senses, the coffee is ground by hand at the table and brewed using technology developed in 1840 in Austria. This balancing syphon is not only a beautiful machine but also widely recognized as the best way to brew coffee. The consistent 93° Celsius temperature and contact time between water and bean result in a very clean and flavourful taste. The brewing process takes about four minutes.
“We are delighted to be among 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,” said Dillip Rajakarier, CEO Minor Hotel Group with includes Anantara. “It perfectly and flavorfully fits the philosophy of Anantara Resorts to afford our story collecting travellers unique experiences in a destination that appeases more than just aesthetic senses.”
Anantara is part of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) – the world’s largest independent hotel brands. Other members include: Doyle Collection, First, Kempinski, Leela, Lungarno Collection, Marco Polo, Mirvac, Mokara, Omni, Pan Pacific, PARKROYAL, Shaza and Tivoli.