Crapp-uccinos all round in Abu Dhabi as dung-coffee hits the shelves
Coffee made from beans that have been excreted by elephants has gone on sale in Abu Dhabi - with a jumbo price tag of Dhs295 per serving.
The coffee is produced by feeding coffee beans to elephants, waiting a day and then collecting the beans when they are excreted in the elephant’s dung. Abu Dhabi is one of the first places in the world to sell what its manufacturer jokingly calls a “crappuccino”. The ‘Black Ivory’ brand coffee is on sale at Eastern Mangroves Hotel, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort and Desert Islands, which are all owned by the Thai chain Anantara.
The coffee comes from the waste of elephants on a Thai animal sanctuary.
7DAYS was at Eastern Mangroves yesterday to have the first-ever cup served in the Middle East, while the manager of the hotel’s Ingredients restaurant, Frederique Lehr, explained that the elephants are not fed the coffee beans if they are pregnant or don’t like the taste. “They are very careful about how the elephants are treated and it will help raise money for them,” she said.
Each Dhs295 serving is enough for four small cups. It is brewed in front of the customer in a 19th-Century, Austrian coffee brewer, in which paraffin heats up steam that brews the coffee before it passes through a cotton filter.
There are only 70kg of the coffee in the world, with each of the Abu Dhabi hotels getting just 1kg each.
Black Ivory’s owner and founder, Blake Dinkin, says that the coffee beans take on their own unique fruity flavour as they sit in the elephant’s stomach, surrounded by bananas and sugar cane.
It also creates work for the elephant handlers and their wives, who search the sanctuary each morning for fresh dung, break it open with a stick and collect the undigested coffee beans with their hands.
Dinkin says that the elephant’s stomach acids break down an outer protein layer on the coffee bean, which gives it smoothness and none of the bitterness of regular coffee. Eastern Mangrove’s coffee expert, Jeffrey Galang, says that people should not expect a strong espresso flavour.
“It comes out of the elephant with a much lighter flavour than that, it is a unique taste,” he said.
Do you think the elephant dung coffee is a good idea or will you be sticking to a more traditional brew? Share your comments with us below!