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Southeast Asia, explained

Asia's newest elite drink? Elephant dung coffee

$1,100 a kilo for coffee beans picked from piles of feces
Elephant dung coffee 2012 10 25Enlarge
A Thai mahout sits atop an elephant in between polo matches at the King's Cup Elephant polo tournament at Hua Hin, Thailand, in 2011. (Paula Bronstein/AFP/Getty Images)

Perhaps feeling pressured by Singapore's new $32,000 cocktail, one of Thailand's more elite resort chains is releasing "one of the most expensive and exclusive" varities of coffee in the world.

The coffee is ground by hand and brewed at 93 degrees Celsius in a syphon machine "using technology developed in 1840 in Austria." According to the resort's press release, the result is a "very clean and flavourful taste," which is a curious way to describe coffee brewed through beans picked from elephant feces.

At $1,100 per kilo -- roughly $27 a cup, by my math -- it really ought to be the cleanest, most flavorful taste on the planet.

As the java warms your lips, you can imagine the elephant caretakers sinking their hand into mounds of waste to retrieve coffee beans digested by graceful pachyderms. Because that's how the beans are collected. (This is assuming you've already taken all of the Instagram photos needed to exhibit your rarified tastes.)

Does anyone actually buy this stuff?

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/elephant-dung-coffee