Some Things are Just Ridiculous

Via the Detroit Free PressElephant dung coffee goes for $50 a pop

Stomach turning or oddly alluring, this is not just one of the world’s most unusual specialty coffees. At $1,100 per kilogram ($500 per pound), it’s also among the world’s priciest.

Forget the poop part for the moment:  what could possibly make coffee worth that much?  Not to sound like a curmudgeon, but if you are paying that much for coffee, you may have too much money (or, at least, a bizarre set of priorities).

(However, the photo accompanying the story is amusing).

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Mikey says:

    I’d try it, but it’s a bit too pricey for regular consumption.

    Then again, I do have a $1000 coffee maker…

  2. Barfour says:

    I don’t drink coffee at all so I obviously wouldn’t pay for this. But this story is very vague. Is some elephant poop dropped into your coffee or is your coffee in a cup made from elephant poop?

  3. rodney dill says:

    @Barfour: What is vague about this?

    “When an elephant eats coffee, its stomach acid breaks down the protein found in coffee, which is a key factor in bitterness,” said Blake Dinkin, who has spent $300,000 developing the coffee. “You end up with a cup that’s very smooth without the bitterness of regular coffee.”

    The result is similar in civet coffee, or Kopi Luwak, another exorbitantly expensive variety extracted from the excrement of the weasel-like civet. But the elephants’ massive stomach provides a bonus.

    Think of the elephant as the animal kingdom’s equivalent of a slow cooker. It takes between 15-30 hours to digest the beans, which stew together with bananas, sugar cane and other ingredients in the elephant’s vegetarian diet to infuse unique earthy and fruity flavors, said the 42-year-old Canadian, who has a background in civet coffee.

    “My theory is that a natural fermentation process takes place in the elephant’s gut,” said Dinkin. “That fermentation imparts flavors you wouldn’t get from other coffees.”

  4. mattb says:

    If it’s what I think it is, then it’s coffee made from beans that were… umm… first “processed” by an elephant (and then collected, cleaned, roasted, and ground).

  5. rodney dill says:

    Elephant dung coffee goes for $50 a pop

    A pop or a poop?

  6. john personna says:

    @rodney dill:

    I think the headline writer was self-aware on that one.

  7. john personna says:

    Forget the poop part for the moment: what could possibly make coffee worth that much?

    Ah, you are starting on the wrong end of the problem.

    Instead, given a globalized world with billionaires everywhere … you can sell ANYTHING for more. Just write a plausible story line about why it is better … or failing that … unique.

    (My Rhino poop coffee is much better and only slightly more expensive … contact for details.)

  8. JKB says:

    @rodney dill:

    Well, my experience with elephant dung is limited but there would be a lot of pops in one poop.

  9. Mikey says:

    @john personna:

    Ah, you are starting on the wrong end of the problem.

    I see what you did there.

  10. Franklin says:

    Regardless, your coffee breath will still smell shi**y.

  11. rodney dill says:

    “Ned passed out after he drank coffee that came from an elephant’s a$$.”
    “Let’s use proper English, you mean rectum.”
    Wrecked ‘im! D@mn near killed him.

  12. CSK says:

    What’s the slogan for this stuff?: “Good to the last dropping.”

  13. mantis says:

    I had a cup of civet coffee once. It was quite good. Not at all worth the money (it’s just coffee), but good nonetheless.

  14. Franklin says:

    @CSK: Nice. Very nice.

  15. wr says:

    If you’ve managed to participate in the rigged game that is the global economic market to the extent that you’re worth a billion dollars or more, why shouldn’t you be spending a grand for your coffee? It’s probably a smaller chunk of your net worth than the price of a grande latte is for a middle class person.

    The answer is not to whine about the expensive coffee, but to fix the gulf between the super-rich and everybody else. I vote for multiple extra tax brackets, with a top marginal rate of 90% on anything over ten million.

  16. Davebo says:


    Me too! Jura or Capresso? Like there’s any difference.

  17. Mikey says:

    @Davebo: It’s a Capresso. Got it as a factory refurb, still has a 1-year warranty but cost half as much as new.

    We were in Germany in August and my wife’s relatives all had one. We got back to the States and couldn’t handle drip coffee any more.