Last Updated on October 8, 2021 by John Moretti
I have a warm, freshly roasted treat of a topic to share with those who love exquisite hot beverages. This article is going to give you an insight into the most expensive quality coffee in the world. You can’t buy gold using nickel, and the same case applies here. Spend that extra buck and get luxury in a cup!
- Black Ivory Coffee at over $1,000/pound
- Finca EL Injerto at over $500/pound
- Hacienda La Esmeralda at over $500/pound
- Kopi Luwak at over $150/pound
- St Helena Coffee at over $70/pound
- Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee at over $50/pound
- Molokai Coffee at over $50/pound
- Fazenda Santa Ines at over $50/pound
- Los Planes at over $40/pound
- Hawaiian Kona Coffee at over $30/pound
Black Ivory Coffee
Black Ivory Coffee beans are the most expensive beans globally, ranging at $1,100 per pound. These luxurious beans pass through the elephant’s digestive system, where enzymes break down the protein. This results in coffee beans that make smooth and flavorful coffee.
One downside is that elephants break down most of the beans, and the remaining beans are not a lot. As a result, this makes the beans rare and pricey.
Black Ivory Coffee beans are 100% Arabica beans made in Thailand at an altitude of 500ft. These beans set me back $50 a cup, but it was worth it. It gave me an intense and dreamy experience that I have never gotten from another cup of coffee.
- Ethical and sustainable
- 100% Arabica
- It gives you an out of this world experience
- Smooth and flavorful
- Rare commodity
Finca El Injerto
Finca El Injerto is the second most expensive coffee in the world. It costs $500 per pound. It is made of small, rich, and rare beans, creating a flavorful, sweet, and rich cup of coffee.
I bought a cup of Finca El Injerto, and I have to say, wow! It is not anything like Black Ivory, but its unique flavors are something you should try. It has a smooth and sweet flavor with bold, silk-smooth fruitiness. You will experience a chocolate finish, then a sweet tamarind and coconut note.
These beans are expensive because of the rare small beans grown in mineral non-volcanic soil with a temperature of 22oC and rainfall of 1600mm. This is considered the best climate for planting coffee.
- Made from small, rich, and rare beans
- Grown in rich volcanic soils
- Sweet and dense flavors
- Very pricey
Hacienda La Esmeralda
Hacienda La Esmeralda is a Panamanian coffee that costs $500 per pound. If you are not willing to spend that amount, you can buy a cup for $50. I bought a cup, and the price was worth it. It has a citrus flavor, notes of flowers (lily and lavender), honey, tangerine, cinnamon, and crisp acidity.
This coffee has won all international accolades in the coffee bean industry. It is grown in the Boquete Area at 1500 meters above sea level from Geisha trees (the most valuable coffee plant).
Additionally, the Geisha trees are grown next to Guava trees which provide shade and perfect PH levels in the soil. This results in low production, which also factors in the high price.
- Money-back guarantee
- Won all international accolades
- Diverse, rich flavors and notes
- Grown under shade
- Uses Geisha trees
- Extremely expensive
Kopi Luwak is another luxurious coffee brand that is made almost the same as Black Ivory Coffee. In this case, wild Asian Palm Civets from Indonesia eat the ripest and freshest coffee cherries, which go through their digestive system.
I like exploring my options, and I decided to try out this ‘poop’ coffee which costs $160/pound. For something that comes out of an animal’s digestive tract, it offers a unique and delicious experience. It has no acidity or bitterness and offers notes of chocolate, cherries, and caramel. Its super silky body makes every penny worth it.
Sadly, some people in Indonesia capture Civets and force them to eat any type of coffee beans. It is a cruel Act towards these animals; hence you need to know if the company you buy from is certified.
- A unique and delicious experience
- No aftertaste
- No bitterness and acidity
- Super silky body
- Illegal, cruel acts towards civets in some companies
Another luxurious coffee bean I had to taste was St. Helena Coffee. I call it ‘Napoleon’s coffee’ because he planted it while in exile on the small Island. The Island is located in the middle of the Atlantic, 1200 miles from the west coast of Africa.
This coffee is expensive due to its high shipping costs, aromatic flavor’s sheer quality, and rich history.
I decided to save up and buy a pound of Saint Helena, which cost $79. It is a brand that I do not regret investing in. It’s balanced, gives hibiscus notes and an aftertaste of wine extracts and citrus coupled with soft flowers.
- Rich History
- Quality aromatic flavors
- High shipping costs that lead to increased prices
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee costs $55 per pound. As the name suggests, it is grown at 5000feet in the Jamaican Blue Mountains. This mountain receives the highest rainfall all year round hence the name blue mountain—rain all-year-round results in rich fertile soils which allow coffee beans to thrive.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee did not give me any unique experience since it is mild tasting. The only thing I found somewhat positive is the lack of aftertaste or immediate bitterness. However, the Japanese, who are the biggest importers of the brand, may disagree with me.
- Lacks bitterness
- It does not have an aftertaste
- Grown in rich fertilized soils
- Mild tasting
- No unique experience
- Not worth the price
One of the best Hawaiian-grown coffee famous in the United States is Molokai coffee. It is produced in Maui County, which has favorable conditions for growing coffee. With years of experience, skill, and refining, Molokai Coffee costs a pretty penny of $51 per pound.
The rich volcanic soils and great climate of Hawaii make Molokai coffee an excellent choice. I was privileged to taste their medium roast coffee, which has a dense body, chocolate undertones, and slight acidity. It also has herbal notes in its diverse aroma, which calmed every nerve in my body.
- Full-bodied flavors
- Dynamic aromas
- Slight acidity
Fazenda Santa Inês
The following luxury cup of coffee on the list is Fazenda Santa Ines which goes for $50 per pound. This Brazilian coffee is one of the oldest coffee brands on this list, with over 100 years of experience. Fazenda Santa Ines uses ancient methods of cultivation in Mt. Mantiquera in Brazil.
Critics say it is a distinctive brand that made it an eighth place in the 2009 Cup of Excellence competition. I had to try a cup of coffee made from Fazenda Santa Ines. It has a sweet flavor with a light and fruity aroma. It was worth it because its fruit density flavors are better than other coffee brands.
Most people drink this delicious coffee, which is mainly used in espressos.
- Years of experience
- Worth the price
- Dense fruity flavors
- Approved by many critics
Los planes is a coffee plantation from a family in El Salvador. It is popular among coffee lovers who love flavor variety and refreshing taste.
If you have never had a cup of Los planes coffee, I would recommend you try it. It has typical velvet flavors but most people are willing to pay the price to drink it. With notes of chocolate, apple, peach, butterscotch, it increased its loyal base of customers every day.
With $40, you can get a pound of this award-winning coffee. Los planes won two awards in the Cup of Excellence, as second place in 2006 and sixth place in 2011. Winning such awards proves how much of sheer quality you will get with Los Planes.
- Won two awards in the Cup of Excellence competition
- Flavor variety and refreshing taste
- No bitter aftertaste
- You can get almost the same experience with cheaper brands
Hawaiian Kona Coffee
In the last place, I have the Hawaiian Kona Coffee, which costs $34 per pound. It has a fantastic flavor and unique taste and makes it on this list because it is made of rare beans.
Due to its low production and high demand, some sellers mix the 10% Kona Coffee with 90% of other cheap coffee beans. Make sure you buy 100% Kona beans for the best experience.
Hawaiian Kona Coffee beans gave me a medium body structure with notes of honey, milk chocolate, brown sugar, light fruit flavors, and light acidity. Its tempting aroma and full-bodied taste make me come back for more every time.
- Rich bodied taste
- 100% Kona Beans
- Offer a variety of taste notes
- Sometimes sellers fool consumers by mixing 10% Kona beans and 90% cheaper coffee varieties.
Why Buy Expensive Coffee?
As a coffee lover, I like investing in quality coffee. However, I won’t lie—some coffee beans seem to be over the top expensive. $50 for a cup of coffee is not remotely close to cheap. But, I couldn’t resist the urge to try different brands. What in the name of coffee beans makes them so luxurious! Here’s why?
Cheaper coffee comes from substandard beans cultivated before the right time. Manufacturers over-roast these beans to mask the quality resulting in a burnt and bitter aftertaste. You will almost always need sugar or cream in a cheap cup of coffee.
On the other hand, the taste is subjective. By no means do not change your mind if you like a cup of Folgers on my account. But ensure you have tasted a lot of different brands to get your result.
Most lower-quality beans are grown with a lot of unfriendly and unsustainable practices. Coffee flourishes in full sunlight. When planting coffee beans in large-scale farms, deforestation occurs at a higher rate. This leads to the destruction of natural habitats for animals. It is better to buy shade-grown coffee that takes Its time to absorb nutrients and preserve the environment.
Supporting People Involved In Every Process Of Coffee Growth
Most people who work in coffee plantations do not make a lot of money. Their living wages are not enough to sustain their families. Most expensive brands ensure that their workers are paid enough to ensure social sustainability.
What To Look For When Choosing Coffee Beans
Coffee Roast Levels
Coffee geeks have different preferences. Some prefer dark and more bold flavors, while others like their coffee light and sweet. Here are some of the roast you should look at when buying your beans;
- Light Roast Coffee – These are the least roasted beans that retain unique flavors of their origin. You won’t see any surface oil with light roast beans.
- Medium Roast Coffee – Medium roast coffee is a little darker with a light brown color. They are my favorite because they provide a greater sense of balance for my taste buds.
- Dark Roast – Though not the darkest, these beans have a shiny layer of oil and offer a bolder experience on every level.
- Super dark roasts – These are the darkest in the coffee industry. I do not like them because I can barely enjoy any flavors because of excessive roasting.
Arabica vs. Robusta
Most expensive brands use 100% Arabica coffee beans. This variety has fewer branches and cherries; hence each bean receives more nutrients. Due to this reason, these beans have complex flavors, crisp acidity, less bitterness, and sweetness.
Robusta is different in that they are big and grow a lot of cherries every season. This reduces the level of nutrient absorption resulting in lesser flavors.
Single Origins and Blends
Another essential to consider is whether the beans are of single-origin or blends. A single origin is a coffee from the same region, more so, the same farm. This enhances uniqueness in flavors.
Coffee blends are a combination of coffee beans from different regions. It also creates a unique experience due to the complementary flavors. However, they do not produce as much flavor diversity as single origins.
Different parts of the world have various coffee beans. I would recommend getting a taste of coffee beans from every part of the world. It will help increase your coffee knowledge. Imagine tasting coffee and realizing that it is from a specific part of the world.
Ethics and Sustainability
There is a dark history in the coffee industry, including poverty, slavery, and oppression. Sadly, injustice still exists in the current coffee industry. Low unstainable prices, inaccessible healthcare, and low education rates among coffee farmers still exist.
Luckily, people are fighting against this and ensuring that everyone involved in coffee growing gets what they deserve.
Fair Trade Coffee
If you see a certified fair-trade coffee, be sure that the brand follows a strict set of guidelines. They ensure fair wages for workers and handling their land carefully. It makes the price go up for coffee beans, but it is worth it for sustainability.
Direct Trade Coffee
Direct trade includes getting coffee beans directly from farmers and eliminating intermediaries. It increases the prices paid to the farmers and also helps roasters find the best quality specialty grade coffee for a lower price.
Certified organic coffee is the one that has used a limited amount of pesticides and fertilizers. Most coffee farms do grow their coffee organically, but they can’t afford a certificate.
There you have it! These are the most expensive coffee beans in the world. If you’re yet to try any of them, it’s time to do it and enjoy that luxurious taste plus other benefits that come with them.