Black Ivory Coffee and Elephants (Elephas Maximus Indicus) at Chiang Saen in Northern Thailand

by DerdriuMarriner

Elephant coffee is a form of animal coffee. It owes aroma and taste to animal inputs. A sanctuary in northernmost Thailand produces the world’s Black Ivory elephant coffee.

Making and marketing animal-impacted coffee calls to mind reports of animal cruelty in regard to assembly lines of cage-confined, force-fed Asian common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) in Indonesia and the Philippines.
• But it also evokes images of animal rights in terms of free-ranging, self-feeding bonnet (Macaca radiata) and rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in India, Formosa rock macaques (Macaca cyclopis) in Taiwan, fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) in Costa Rica, and Jacu birds (Penelope obscura, P. superciliaris) in Brazil.

Animal well-being gets an additional boost in the case of producing and selling elephant-impacted coffee.
• Gathering bean-riddled droppings after feeding Thai elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) is not exploiting paid laborers and unpaid pachyderms, both of whom receive free health coverage.

*****

Black Ivory Coffee
website: http://www.blackivorycoffee.com

Black Ivory Coffee Company Ltd.
Two Pacific Place, 1703, Khlong Toei,
Bangkok, Thailand 10110

email: blake@blackivorycoffee.com
phone: 66 (0) 89 214 1460

*****

elephant dung riddled with undigested beans

"elephant poop"
"elephant poop"

 

Elephants in Africa (Loxodonta africana, L. cyclotis) and Asia (Elephas maximus indicus, E.m. maximus, E.m. sumatranus, E.m. borneensis) accept as suitable habitats the lands around coffee plantations. They appreciate the moisture, nutrition, and shelter which agro-industry offers through:

  • Accessible food;
  • Irrigation systems;
  • Shade trees.

They are herbivores (“plant-eaters”) whose diets favor the browsable or grazable parts of:

  • Grasses (Gramineae or Poaceae family);
  • Mallows (Malvaceae family);
  • Legumes (Fabaceae or Leguminosae family);
  • Palms (Arecaceae family);
  • Sedges (Cyperaceae family).

Minerals assume critical importance as nutrients to be accessed from soil and water. The moisture in red, ripe berry-like fruits attracts native elephants to naturalized coffee trees (Coffea spp). It augments the liquid refreshment which human-made and natural water sources provide.

 

ripe and unripe coffee fruits: ripe redness signals moisture, which satisfies elephants' water requirements.

Lahu Village, Thailand
Lahu Village, Thailand

 

Researchers acknowledge sub-Saharan Africa as the original homeland of coffee shrubs and small trees. The Horn of northeast Africa acquires special significance as the first center known anciently for cultivating, drinking, marketing, and trading coffee.  Worldwide access to the flowering, fruiting evergreen’s flesh-, parchment-, and silver skin-enshrouded 1 – 3 seeds brings to mind intriguing stories of:

  • Arabic-speaking growers and traders assuming strict control over cultivating beans and marketing brews;
  • European entrepreneurs and explorers breaking that monopoly during the Ages of Discovery and Exploration from the 15th century onward.

Narrators, poets, and singers steeped in dramatic, performance-related, traditional literature possibly conserve local back-stories regarding the woody plant’s smooth naturalization within Asian and Caribbean, Central, and South American countries.

 

summer solstice: around June 21, marks day in Northern Hemisphere in which sun is overhead at noon ~

Thailand, located in the Northern Hemisphere, lies within the bands of latitude demarcated northward by Tropic of Cancer and southward by Tropic of Capricorn.
earth's latitudes, including Tropic of Cancer to Tropic of Capricorn
earth's latitudes, including Tropic of Cancer to Tropic of Capricorn

 

The cultures of some countries located between the Tropics of Cancer at 23°North latitude and of Capricorn at 23°South latitude commemorate the agents, dates, and gateways of the first sustainable coffee crops. For example, Brazilian culture correlates coffee cultivation with plants grown by seeds introduced into Suriname and secreted from French Guiana by Sergeant Major Francisco de Melo Palheta (1670 – 1750?) in 1727. Indian culture describes Baba Budan of Baghdad, Iraq as completing a pilgrimage to Mecca, hiding 7 seeds during a stopover in Yemen, and realizing the subcontinent’s first coffee harvest -- at Chikmagalur in Karnataka -- in the 17th century. Thailand contrastingly has no uniform or widespread back-stories to the kingdom’s agro-industrialization of coffee beans and brews.

 

Oliang, traditional Coffea canephora-based Thai coffee, blends corn with coffee beans, sesame, and soybeans for brewing.

Mae Hong Son Province, northwestern Thailand
Mae Hong Son Province, northwestern Thailand

 

Robust coffees (Coffea canephora) historically appear in central - southern Thailand. They are lowland-adaptable, pest-resistant, and stress-tolerant. Their beans deliver traditional oliang (“black cold”) coffees, which get:

  • Blended with corn, sesame, and soybeans;
  • Brewed in a thung tom kafae (metal-ringed cloth bag);
  • Poured from a skinny, tall pot;
  • Sweetened with condensed milk, evaporated milk, or syrup.

Arabian (Coffea arabica) varieties dominate the north since the twentieth century. They link with Thailand’s and the United Nations’ Crop Replacement and Community Development Project of 1972 – 1979 to:

  • Battle erosion;
  • Conserve watersheds;
  • Diversify crops;
  • Exert control over Golden Triangle opium-trading with Laos and Myanmar;
  • Find hill tribes legal, sustainable money-makers;
  • Graduate coffee-growing from domestic to export markets;
  • Halt slash-and-burn agriculture.

 

Mae Ai countryside in northwestern Thailand: coffee production flourishes in opium's Golden Triangle area.

Mae Ai (แม่อาย), Chiang Mai Province, northwestern Thailand
Mae Ai (แม่อาย), Chiang Mai Province, northwestern Thailand

 

Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son Provinces account for northwest Thailand’s twentieth and twenty-first century coffee production. Black Ivory elephant coffee from neighboring Chiang Rai Province appeals to five-star hotel patrons in:

  • Abu Dhabi;
  • Macau;
  • Malay Peninsula;
  • Maldives;
  • Thailand.

 

Elephant shower at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort; guest donations + owning company, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, fully fund Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, whose elephants are responsible for Black Ivory Coffee.

Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand
Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand

 

Its production at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation near Ananatara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort in Chiang Saen attests to transparent operations and results. Locals and visitors can observe the children and wives of mahouts (elephant-trainers):

  • Feeding street-rescued elephants banana-, fruit-, rice-, sugarcane-, water-filled dietary supplements;
  • Gathering hindgut-fermented droppings 15+ hours later;
  • Hosing parchment- and silver skin-protected beans prefatory to outdoor-drying, roasting, and service.

Brewing draws upon antique machinery made in France and operational since 1840.

 

baby elephant in Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp

Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand
Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand

 

The life cycles and natural histories of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam concern amateurs and professionals since the big-toed, broad-skulled, large-trunked, small-eared pachyderm’s description in 1798 by Montbéliard-born French zoologist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier (August 23, 1769 – May 13, 1832). Conservationists debate the brevity of Asian elephants dependent upon:

  • Dry or moist deciduous, evergreen or semi-evergreen forests;
  • Grasslands.

Ever-changing urban - wildland interfaces threaten gentle grey giants whose maturity involves:

  • Daily diets of 220.46+ pounds (100+ kilograms) of food and 26.42+ gallons (100+ liters) of water;
  • Shoulder heights of 6.56 – 11.48 feet (2 – 3.5 meters);
  • Weights of 4,409.25 – 11,023.11 pounds (2,000 – 5,000 kilograms).

 

Blake Dinkin with Black Ivory coffee beans
Blake Dinkin with Black Ivory coffee beans

Conclusion

 

Light brown Black Ivory beans communicate to admirers nothing black, burnt, espresso-like, or oily. They evoke chocolate, floral, medium roasts. The granulated sugar-looking, ground powder evokes spiciness. At 75°F (23.89°C), the hot drinks hint at fresh-mown grasses. Cooled to 65 – 70°F (18.33 – 21.11°C), they imply spiced dark chocolate. They need no lactose or sweetener. They pair with:

  • Carrot, chocolate, clove, nut, and spice cakes;
  • Dried cranberries and raisins.

They serve as tributes to:

  • Compassionate administrators;
  • Conscientious mahouts;
  • Cooperative elephants.

Owner/operator Blake Dinkin and elephant director John Roberts resolutely translate profits into:

  • Animal care;
  • Employee benefits;
  • Full-time veterinary access;
  • Habitat protection.

The activities, the coffee, the elephants, the employees, and the scenery indeed will be worth the visit.

 

The Golden Triangle scenery at Chiang Saen, home to Black Ivory Coffee:

Confluence of Ruak River and Mekong River, in Thailand's Amphoe ("District") Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province; opposite shore is in Laos, and sand cape is in Burma-Myanmar.
Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand
Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

Baby Raja ~ Afterword: Baby Raja died all alone, chained to a tree, crying out for his mum.

Published on YouTube on June 20, 2013 by Elephant Family ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8iLDJwXmoI

Dedication

 

In memory of Raja the Baby Elephant on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra and with respect for Raju the Elderly Elephant in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

 

50 years a Slave : Raju the Elephant cried tears of joy after being freed from suffering

Published on YouTube on July 7, 2014 by PatrynWorldLatestNew ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhrjTFSDqTU

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comedy and trust of human-elephant camaraderie: "Trying to hide bananas from La-wan usually got my shirt covered with trunk mud."

Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province, northwestern Thailand
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

The Last Elephant: The fight to save the elephants of Thailand by Lee Craker

Documentary photographer Lee Craker traveled to northern Thailand to study the plight of the Asian elephant.
Thai elephant-themed books

Elephant Swing: black t-shirt ~ Available via AllPosters

Elephant Swing
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Stone sculpture of an elephant at the entrance to a hotel in northern Thailand: photo by Thomas Dressler

10x14 Photo Puzzle with 252 pieces. Packed in black cardboard box 5 5/8 x 7 5/8 x 1 1/5. Puzzle image 5x7 affixed to box top.
Photo Jigsaw Puzzle - Ardea Wildlife Pets

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 10/25/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 09/03/2014

Blake, Thank you for honoring my tribute to your coffee and your benevolence to elephants, mahouts, and the environment with your visit and comments.
Also I am especially appreciative that you are sharing this on the Black Ivory Coffee Facebook page.
I was disappointed not to find any Black Ivory Coffee-related dung images on the Internet that I could include (I am conscientious about the use of non-copyrighted images). I included the image to give an idea of how it looks.
I also released an article on "Sankt Gallen Beer of Japan: Black Ivory Coffee and Elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) in Thailand."
Many thanks for all that you do.

Blake on 09/03/2014

This is a very well researched story on Black Ivory Coffee and the region as well. While that photo of the dung is not Black Ivory Coffee everything else is spot on. I am going to share this on the Black Ivory Coffee Facebook page. Great job!

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