In a Maldives exclusive, Anantara Resorts introduced Black Ivory Coffee at its four resorts in the South Male and Baa Atolls, joining the group’s Anantara Golden Triangle resort in Thailand as the first hotels in the world to offer one of the most unique coffee experiences on the planet.
At a retail price of approximately US$1,100 per kilogramme, this coffee is also one of the most expensive and exclusive in the world. Currently 50 kilogrames are available for sale.
Black Ivory Coffee is created from a process whereby coffee beans are naturally refined by Thai elephants. 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.
The process begins with selecting the best Thai Arabica beans that have been picked from an altitude of 1,500 metres. Once deposited by the elephant, the individual beans are 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 kilogrammes of coffee cherries are required to produce one kilogramme of Black Ivory Coffee.
Refinement of the coffee takes place at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) in Thailand, the brainchild of William (Bill) E. Heinecke, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Minor International, Anantara Resorts’ parent company. Black Ivory Coffee joined Minor International’s elephant conservation and welfare programme by donating eight percent of coffee sales to GTAEF to help fund a specialist elephant veterinarian to provide free care to the elephants of Thailand. 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 recognised 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 four minute brewing process is visually enticing and leaves a lasting impression.
Spring Harvest 2012 Tasting Guide:
> Beans: 100 percent Thai Arabica handpicked beans. Sundried to allow the juice of the cherry to be absorbed into the bean then semi-washed, resulting in extra sweetness and flavour.
> Current production: 50 kilogrammes.
> Roast: Full City.
> Brightness: Smooth mellow. To maximise the experience, roll the coffee to both sides of the tongue.
> Fragrance: Floral and chocolate.
> Body: Full bodied, syrupy.
> Flavour: Milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries.
> Finish: Clean, pleasant aftertaste, chocolate notes lingering.
Commenting on the exclusive offering, Jeffrey F. Seward, Cluster General Manager Anantara Resorts Maldives, said that his team of culinary gurus continuously introduce guest experiences that celebrate Anantara’s brand values of indigenous, expertise and discovery. “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.”