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Black Ivory Coffee

Black Ivory Coffee at The Elephant Story

The most exotic and expensive coffee in the world is available at the only Elephant Polo store in the world.  Exclusive to five star hotels in Thailand and the Maldives, The Elephant Story is the only location in the western hemisphere serving Black Ivory Coffee.


The In-Store Service Experience

The In-Store Service Experience is $50.00 for 400ml (approximately 14 oz.) which will serve 4 demitasse cups of Black Ivory Coffee.  

For Purchase (In Store & Phone Orders Only)

One packet of coffee beans is $40.00 (will make 400ml of coffee) and is only sold in the store or by phone order (not available online).

Please Call: (830) 995-3133


  • Please call ahead before making the trip to The Elephant Story for your Black Ivory Coffee purchase or In-Store Experience.  Recent articles have made the demand increase and we want to ensure that we have coffee in stock.

The Story of Black Ivory Coffee

Photo by Carol Stevenson

Ten years in the making, Black Ivory Coffee is created through a process whereby coffee beans are naturally refined by Thai elephants at the Golden Elephant Triangle Foundation in Chiang Saen, northern Thailand.  It begins with selecting the best Thai Arabica beans that have been picked from an altitude as high as 1500 meters. Once deposited by the elephants, the individual beans are hand-picked by the Mahouts and their wives and then sun-dried and roasted.  Approximately 10,000 beans are picked for each kilogram of roasted coffee; thus, 33 kilograms of coffee cherries are required to produce just one kilogram of Black Ivory Coffee.

Black Ivory Coffee contributes 8% of their sales to help fund a specialist elephant veterinarian to provide free care to all the elephants of Thailand through the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. Additional funds are also used to purchase medicine as well as to build a new laboratory. ​

Production of Black Ivory Coffee also provides valuable income generation for the wives of the mahouts to help cover health expenses, school fees, food, and clothing. ​

Why does this process improve the taste of the coffee?

​​Research by Dr. Marcone at the University of Guelph 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. As well, in contrast to carnivores, herbivores such as elephants use much more fermentation for digestion. Fermentation is desirable in coffee as it helps to impart the fruit from the coffee pulp into the bean.

Do elephants eat coffee beans naturally?

​Yes. In times of drought, Asian elephants are attracted to coffee plantations as many of them are irrigated and the elephants are drawn to the various fruits (coffee and others).

Are the elephants affected by the caffeine?

​​No. Black Ivory Coffee uses 100% Thai Arabica beans. Arabica beans contain approximately 1% caffeine. In contrast, Robusta beans contain double that amount.

Green coffee beans have quite an amazing design as the shell of the bean acts as a protective barrier to the coffee oils that are inside. Further, in order to extract the caffeine, heat is necessary. This is why coffee is roasted at roughly 200C and brewed at 93C. Adding further security for the elephant is the skin and pulp of the coffee bean. Blood work has been completed by independent veterinarians to confirm that there has been no harm to the elephants. An elephant veterinarian is also on-site at the production site full-time.

Where does production take place?

Production takes place at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. Blake Dinkin, founder of Black Ivory Coffee, chose this foundation after doing research on approximately 35 elephant sanctuaries and parks in Indonesia, Laos and Thailand. GTAEF was chosen because of the conditions in which the elephants are kept, the presence of an on-site veterinarian, their approach to elephant conservation and very pragmatic, thoughtful leadership by John Roberts who is the Executive Director of the foundation.

50 kg of coffee was available for 2012 with supply increasing, but factors including the availability of high quality coffee cherries, the appetite of the elephants, the number of beans destroyed through chewing of the beans, the ability of the mahouts and their wives to pick the beans by hand (10,000 beans equal one kg of Black Ivory Coffee) all have an impact on supply.  With such limited supply, Black Ivory Coffee will only be available at The Elephant Story and select five-star hotels around the world.




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