Nathan Colquhoun

We are used to all kinds of displays of gourmet-ness now. Every other day, some crazy person posts on Facebook that they want to borrow a blow-torch to make their own crème brûlée. Molecular gastronomists make entire meals out of foam that tastes like other foam. And now, elephants are shitting out coffee.

If you are saying to yourself right now, “No way elephants are really shitting out coffee, that’s just something you said to get me to read this,” well, sorry. I do want you to read this, but I only want you to read it so that you can understand that elephants are LITERALLY shitting out coffee. Coffee is what they are literally shitting out.

This is how it works, and why it’s done: Coffee beans are actually the seeds of a fruit called coffee cherries, in this case Thai Arabica cherries. The elephant eats those. Then it takes a big dump. Then the beans are collected, dried, processed, and eventually made into coffee which supposedly tastes extra great because the elephant digestive process removes the bitterness from the bean.

It’s the “collected” part of this that one really can’t gloss over. Because the elephants are not shitting out perfect little piles of coffee beans — nature would never be so kind. So by “collected” we can only assume they mean that someone has to pick through the elephant dung by hand to get the beans. We are just going to go out on a limb and assume these people are not making a lot of money for this honor.

This coffee is currently only sold at Anantara hotels in Thailand and the Maldives, and is reportedly $50 a cup. So, if you’re grossed out by this, take comfort in knowing that you’ll probably never drink it anyway.