TOKYO – Japanese brewery Sankt Gallen introduced a new brew that incorporates coffee beans that have been digested by an elephant in the newest addition to a growing fad.
Sankt Gallen created the brew, “Un, Kono Kuro,” and according to reports , Sankt Gallen sold out of the brew on the first day of its sale on April Fools’ Day. The beer does not actually use dung in the brew, but the coffee beans are digested by the elephants to unlock new earthly flavors of the bean.
This is part of a new trend geared towards the well-to-do and coffee connoisseurs and uses an elephant’s digestive system to break down components in the coffee bean, giving the brew a truly unique and natural flavor.
One of the more popular brews, 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.
“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. “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.
Elephant caretakers 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.”