Whether you’re a fan of whole bean, drip grind, espresso or French press coffee, this popular drink is consumed by over 1 billion people per day. From the iconic Jamaican Blue Mountain to lesser-known brews such as Hacienda La Esmeralda, these are the most expensive coffees in the world.
What makes coffee expensive? It’s partly down to rarity, and also to the length of the production process.
While cheap coffee can have quite a bitter taste, good-quality coffee made from expensive coffee beans will have far more depth of flavor.
Single estate coffees, also known as single-origin coffee, generally cost more than coffee blends. The definition of single estate coffee varies.
This can mean from a single farm or region within a country. Single-origin coffees normally have a distinctive taste and unique personality.
1. Black Ivory Coffee
One of the rarest coffees in the world, Black Ivory is also known as elephant dung coffee. Originating from Northern Thailand, it is digested and refined by elephants.
This coffee has a high price due to the unique coffee production method. It yields naturally fermented and sweet coffee beans. The elephants are considered to be family members and are lavished with love and daily baths by their caregivers.
Black Ivory coffee has hints of chocolate, tamarind, and spice, with an ultra-smooth finish.
2. Hacienda La Esmeralda
This gourmet coffee from Panama comes from the region of Chiriqui in South-West Panama. This mountainous area has several microclimates, which give this Panama coffee a unique flavor. Cool mists slow the coffee cherry ripening, giving a richer taste.
3. Kopi Luwak
Considered to be one of the most expensive coffees in the world, Kopi Luwak could well be the most unique! The word kopi means coffee in Indonesian and Luwak means civet.
Kopi Luwak comes from Sumatra and Java in Indonesia and is often nicknamed cat poo coffee. That’s because the coffee is processed by the Asian Palm Civet cat, which eats only the ripest coffee cherries.
The beans ferment in the cat’s stomach and the partially digested beans are then excreted into the cat feces. Plantation workers retrieve the beans and roast them immediately to make civet coffee.
4. Ospina Dynasty
The oldest family-owned coffee company in the world, Ospina Coffee was established in 1835. The founder, Don Mariano Ospina Rodríguez was a pioneer of coffee growing in Colombia who became the President of Colombia in 1857.
Grown on the volcanic slopes of the Andes mountains, Ospina coffee is made from rare Arabica Typica beans. These are hand-picked when ripe, before being washed, fermented, sun-dried, milled and roasted.
5. El Salvador Santa Ana
This unique coffee from El Salvador is made using the Pulped Natural process. Also known as the honey processed method, this gives a sweet, fruity taste of cherry and chocolate to your coffee. The coffee beans are shade-grown under a canopy of trees, which is better for the environment and allows the crop to mature gradually. The labor-intensive production process, coupled with the volcanic soil results in a rich yet smooth cup of coffee.