Are Expensive Coffee Beans Worth It? (Explained)

Last Updated on October 18, 2021 by John Moretti

Coffee is something that unites people. Coffee brings people together, and it is something that is enjoyed by both the world’s elite and the regular people. That being said, coffee comes in such a wide variety of types and price ranges that it leads many wot wonder if the expensive coffee beans are actually worth buying, or are regular coffee beans just as good?

Expensive coffee beans are not always worth it. Some of the most expensive beans are so prices due to their preparation process, not due to their quality or flavor. It is important to buy the best beans that you can afford based on quality, not on rarity. Expensive does not always mean good.

There are some incredibly expensive coffee beans available that are known to be terrible beans to drink, and there are other beans with astronomical price tags that are proven to be supreme regarding quality, flavor, and drinking experience. Let’s discuss whether or not expensive coffee beans are really worth it.

Are Expensive Coffee Beans Good Coffee Beans?

Expensive coffee beans are not always good coffee beans.

In the world of coffee, the price of the beans is dictated by many more factors than simply quality and taste, unfortunately. 

The price of coffee beans is determined by the species of the bean, the origin of the coffee, the harvesting process, the quantity that the beans are grown in, the available crop yield where the beans are grown, the preparation process the beans undergo, the roasting processes that the beans are subjected to, the rarity of the coffee beans, and even the reputation of the coffee bean farmer.

coffee beans canvas

Only after these factors are aspects of the coffee such as taste and quality are considered in determining the retail price of the coffee beans.

This is largely due to the fact that coffee beans have become such an important international commodity. There are more than 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed internationally every single day. This means that coffee will cost a lot simply due to supply and demand.

This supply and demand also mean that if there is a small amount of one type of coffee, it is likely to be far more expensive than coffee that is in abundant supply, even if it is far inferior to the readily available coffee, simply because there is less of it.

One such example is Kopi Luwak coffee. This coffee is very rare and so costs an exorbitant amount, even though this coffee is known to be incredibly underwhelming regarding flavor and quality.

Not all expensive coffee beans are good coffee beans, so it is important to base your selection of coffee beans on more than price alone.

Does The Price Of Coffee Indicate Its Quality?

The truth is, with most commercial coffee beans, the price does indicate the quality of the coffee. If you are buying coffee from a supermarket or from a coffee shop chain, the most expensive coffee beans on the shelf are likely to be the best option.

This is true for most coffee varieties on the consumer level.

specialty coffee beans

However, when you begin to look at specialty coffee beans and very expensive exclusive coffee beans, the price tag associated with the beans is not always an indication of the quality of the coffee that the beans will produce.

Specialty coffees are often experimental and may not be held up to high standards when roasting or preparing. This means that the quality of the beans may vary wildly, even though the price tag remains the same.

Very expensive coffees are often so expensive due to the rarity of the coffee beans or something in the way the coffee is harvested or processed. These reasons for a high price tag are not necessarily an indication of high coffee quality.

For example, one of the most expensive coffee in the world is a coffee called Black Ivory. This coffee is harvested from the dung of elephants. This harvesting process makes the coffee beans very rare, but the coffee itself is not especially high-quality. These beans are, in fact, known to not be worth the high price that is charged for them.

Are Expensive Coffee Beans Worth It?

If you are a person who buys locally produced coffee beans, or coffee beans from a local coffee shop, or even from the supermarket, it is probably worthwhile to buy expensive coffee beans rather than cheap ones, as you will most likely have a better experience with the pricier beans.

However, if you are the person that is able to spend hundreds of dollars on one bag of coffee beans, things become a little more mirky.

Very expensive coffee beans are often not worth it, but there are a few select beans that are well worth a very high price.

The trick is to buy coffee based on quality, not based on other factors such as rarity. Some of the most abundantly available coffee beans in the world are truly excellent coffee beans. Some of the most expensive beans internationally produce truly terrible cups of coffee. 

Price is not always the best factor to choose coffee by. If you are going to spend a large amount on coffee beans, take the time to research the beans and buy beans that are recommended by well-trusted coffee experts, rather than just assuming that a high price equates to a good cup.

Which Expensive Beans Are Worth It, And Which Are Not?

In general, very rare beans are very expensive beans.

unclean kopi luwak coffee

The expensive beans to avoid are beans that have gone through strange or experimental processes, such as Kopi Luwak and Black Ivory coffee beans that pass through the digestive system of an animal before harvesting. These beans are exceedingly expensive, but they are definitely not worth the price.

However, coffee beans that are prepared and roasted well by reputable coffee producers are well worth the price. One of the most expensive coffee beans internationally is the Elida Geisha Natural 1029, which sold for $1029 per pound of coffee beans.

Now, this coffee comes with this astronomical price not because of its strange harvesting process but rather because this coffee won the most prestigious coffee competition in the world and was rated by the world’s foremost coffee testing experts to be the best coffee available on planet earth.

This, coupled with the fact that only 100 pounds of this coffee were ever produced, results in the huge price of these coffee beans. These beans are well worth the price.

The Final Word

At the end of it, the price of a bag of coffee beans is not always an indication of the quality of the coffee.

If you are spending a lot on coffee, it is best to buy coffee that is recommended by reputable coffee experts.

If you are deciding between buying a bottom-shelf or top-shelf coffee from your local supermarket, it is probably worth it to splurge on the more expensive beans.