Elephants digest beans for pricey coffee

Dec. 7, 2012 at 5:12 PM

BANGKOK, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A Canadian entrepreneur said his $500-per-pound coffee is made by plucking the beans from the dung of a herd of elephants in Thailand.

Blake Dinkin, 42, proprietor of Black Ivory Coffee, said the beans are fed to elephants at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation then later plucked from their dung, Sky News reported Friday.

"When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness," Dinkin said. "You end up with a cup that's very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee."

John Roberts, director of elephants at the foundation, said the coffee does not harm the animals.

"As far as we can tell there is definitely no harm to the elephants," he said.

The foundation receives 8 percent of the profits from sales of the coffee, which goes toward healthcare for the elephants.

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