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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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 the production site full-time.

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).

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.

Are there any other coffees in the world produced in a similar style?

 

There is a coffee produced by civet cats. However, there are many examples of civets being placed in cages and farmed in Asia and Africa. This raises questions about the ethical treatment of civets. Civets are also believed to have transmitted SARS from animal to humans. In 2004, all civets (approximately 10,000) in Guangdong, China were exterminated by Chinese authorities. ​Based on analysis of civet coffee, Dr. Marcone estimates that 50% of civet coffee is counterfeit.

Where does production take place? 

Production takes place at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant FoundationBlake 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.