WTF Fun Fact 13525 – Elephant Dung Coffee

Who’s in the mood for some elephant dung coffee?

When you think about coffee, elephants probably don’t come to mind. But in the case of Black Ivory Coffee, these gentle giants play a crucial role. Produced mainly in Thailand, this luxurious brew costs a fortune but offers a unique taste experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Elephant Dung Coffee Really Exists

Farmers feed carefully selected Arabica coffee cherries to elephants. The animals savor the cherries, and their digestive systems get to work. As the cherries pass through, a natural fermentation occurs. Later, farmers collect the beans from the elephants’ waste.

Why involve elephants? The answer lies in chemistry. The digestive enzymes of the elephant break down coffee’s bitter proteins. The process also adds new flavors to the beans, resulting in a complex profile with floral notes and less bitterness.

Cleanup and Roasting

After collection, workers thoroughly clean the beans. They then proceed to dry and roast them. The roasting heightens the unique flavors imparted during the elephant’s digestive process. After roasting, the beans are ready for brewing, and coffee connoisseurs can finally taste this exotic brew.

The unusual production method raises questions. Is it ethical to use elephants in this way? Producers argue that they treat the elephants with care and respect, ensuring a humane process. Some even allocate a portion of their earnings to elephant conservation efforts. Still, the debate continues.

Because an elephant processes a limited number of cherries and many beans get lost or damaged during digestion, the output remains low. This scarcity, coupled with labor-intensive collection and cleaning, explains the high cost, which often exceeds $500 per pound.

The Niche Market

Given its steep price, Black Ivory Coffee targets a specific audience. Luxury hotels and high-end restaurants primarily serve this unique beverage. These establishments cater to clientele who seek a rare and exclusive coffee experience.

For those who can afford it, brewing methods matter. Most prefer using a French press to fully capture the complexity of flavors. The result? A cup of coffee that not only delights the taste buds but also tells a story from bean to brew.

Conservation Questions about Elephant Dung Coffee

Some Black Ivory Coffee producers claim that their business aids elephant conservation. However, the extent to which these efforts actually benefit conservation initiatives remains unclear.

Black Ivory Coffee defies conventional coffee production and offers a taste experience that’s in a league of its own. Though it courts controversy and caters to a niche market, it also challenges our perceptions of what coffee can be.

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Source: “No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant’s No. 2” — NPR

WTF Fun Fact 13299 – Caffeine and Adenosine

Caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy. That buzzed feeling you get when you drink coffee or soda is actually due to an interesting relationship between caffeine and adenosine in your brain that simply tricks you into thinking you’re not tired.

How do caffeine and adenosine work?

Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed stimulants in the world. Many people rely on caffeine to stay awake and alert. But have you ever wondered how caffeine actually works to keep you awake?

Contrary to popular belief, caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy. It actually works by blocking the action of a chemical called adenosine in the brain.

Adenosine is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. It builds up throughout the day as the brain uses energy. As your adenosine levels rise, these chemicals bind to adenosine receptors in the brain. This, in turn, triggers a response that makes you feel tired and drowsy.

Caffeine works by blocking the adenosine receptors in the brain. This prevents adenosine from binding to those receptors and triggering tiredness.

So, by blocking adenosine, caffeine essentially tricks the brain into thinking that it’s not tired, even though it doesn’t actually provide any extra energy.

Most of us use caffeine to help us feel more awake and alert. But it’s important to know that it doesn’t actually provide any extra energy. In fact, caffeine doesn’t provide any calories or nutrients at all! It’s simply a chemical that alters the way the brain and body function. Interesting, right?

How can we get more energy?

So, caffeine can’t actually boost your body’s real energy reserves. But you can get more energy through the consumption of calories in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. When we eat food, our bodies break these down into glucose.

Glucose molecules are transported into our cells and then broken down through chemical reactions that release energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This true energy is then used by our cells to power a wide range of biological processes. THAT’S how you really get more energy.

In addition to consuming calories, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and engaging in physical activity can all help improve energy levels. These are the ways you can truly feel more alert and focused throughout the day.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Tired or Wired” — NIH News in Health

WTF Fun Fact 13238 – Coffee Not the Second Most Traded Commodity

Sometimes the “fun fact” is that an often-repeated piece of information is just not true. For example, you’ll see plenty of otherwise reputable sources state that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world behind oil. But it’s not. Not even close.

Why do we think coffee is the second most traded commodity?

Well, in short, we think coffee is the second most traded commodity (after oil) because it’s been published as fact so many times. Representatives from Starbucks even reported it to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Coffee is incredibly important, however.

The website Perfect Grind Daily looked into the truth behind trade and found that “coffee is neither the world’s second-most traded product nor the world’s second-most traded commodity.”

“According to MIT’s Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC)coffee is the world’s 98th most-traded product. Green coffee comes in at 114, while roasted coffee ranks 301st. (All data appears to be from 2015.) Sure, we’re talking about products here. But there are plenty of commodities above coffee in this list: oils, metals, crops…”

They even found that “coffee isn’t even the world’s second-most traded agricultural product. That would be wheat, at position 70, after soybeans at number 54.”

The data isn’t there

Plenty of people have tried to explain and justify the claim, but the evidence just isn’t there, even if you look at future contracts.

However, it may be the case that coffee was once the second most traded product or commodity from a specific country or region (likely Latin America) at some point in the past, but it’s unclear which one and if the math works out by volume or by value.

If it is indeed true for Latin America, the data would be old anyway. You’d have to go back to the 1970s for coffee to potentially come in second place.

According to Politifact, some people have tried to set the record straight.

“Science writer Mark Pendergrast included the errant claim in his 1999 book Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. Ten years later, he wrote a correction (and fixed the error in the second edition).”

Pendergrast isn’t the only person to admit he was wrong or try to later debunk the myth. However, it’s a fun fact to throw out there. And once you say something catchy, it has a way of taking on a life of its own.

No matter how much people try to correct themselves, the myth lives on. But now you know the truth.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Coffee Isn’t World’s 2nd-Most Traded Commodity (But It’s Important)” — Perfect Daily Grind