Thinking about kicking your coffee addiction up a notch? When it comes to extravagance, your tastebuds won’t be the only thing to feel the punch of flavour that high-quality coffee can provide–your wallet will feel it too.
Whether its spending $20 on a bag of beans or just $2 on a bag of coffee grounds from the grocery store, every coffee nut is willing to spend something in order to fuel their caffeine addiction. But how much is too much?
Many coffee lovers believe that almost any price is reasonable if its for the most delicious cup of coffee in the world. But how high does that price get? We’re unpacking some of the most luxurious coffees for you to add to your bucket list today.
The Most Expensive Coffee on Earth
Now, let’s break it down by the dollar. There are many reasons why some coffee may have a high price. For example, harvest yields, available supply, labor/manual processing, and market demand, may make some coffees more expensive than others.
All of these coffees will provide a delicious flavour experience for you to enjoy, especially if you’re looking to switch up your average daily coffee consumption.
Los Plannes Coffee (US$20)
Coffee from the Los Planes region of El Salvador, coffee from the Los Planes region is cherished by many coffee connoisseurs around the world due to its silky, savoury taste. With notes of apple, chocolate, butterscotch, and peach, these flavour notes have made increased its demand. Los Planes coffee has won several awards, one of the most distinguished being the El Salvador Cup of Excellence.
Grown in higher elevation, Los Planes coffee beans aren’t only so well recognized due to their flavour, but also because of the close care and dedication showed to them by farmers. With an easy acidity, Los Planes coffee will wake up your senses with robust notes of flavour that will leave you craving more with each sip. It usually costs an average of about US$20 a bag.
Hawaiian Kona Coffee Peaberry Beans (US$30-US$45)
Getting its name from the Kona region of Hawaii, Kona coffee is one of the most loved in the world. Cultivated along the steep mountainous slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai, Kona comes from the biggest island of Hawaii. Coming from a climate of sunny temperatures, moderate rainfall, and rich volcanic soil, Kona beans are known to be extremely delicious in flavour. However, it is important to keep an eye out for what kind of Hawaiian coffee you decide to purchase, since some of it may not be completely first-class, even though it may claim to be.
Most Kona beans are sold in bags that are 10% pure Kona peaberry beans, while the other 90% consists of average coffee beans that aren’t as savoury as Kona beans. However, a solid bag of 100% Kona beans, usually peaberry beans, is much higher quality, and much pricier as a result. In order to better ensure the quality of your Hawaiian Kona beans, it’s best to purchase peaberry beans.
Fazenda Santa Ines (US$50/lb)
Coming from Brazil, Fazenda Santa Ines is known for its consistency in quality and flavour, and this consistency has made it a high favourite in the coffee market today. One of the most enjoyable coffees out there, Fazenda Santa Ines beans are grown using the natural mineral water located in nearby springs. Along with these springs, the mountainous area that these beans are grown in helps make more pronounced and distinguishable notes of flavour.
From rich fruity flavours to silky caramel, these beans make for a scrumptious brew of coffee to enjoy at any time of day. Usually ranking in around $50 per pound, the coffee is pricey, yet still affordable for many coffee lovers.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee (US$50 - US$65)
Originating from the Jamaican Blue Mountain range in Jamaica. These beans are grown in high altitudes with significant access to rainfall, allowing for the steady production of healthy beans. These conditions make for some of the most wanted beans in the coffee market, and they have had a high demand for a long time. Surprisingly enough, Japan is actually the largest consumer of these beans, about 80% of Jamaica’s total production being shipped specifically to the island country.
When it comes to grading coffee, Jamaican Blue Mountain can be graded into three different categories. These categories include Numbers 1, 2, and 3, Number 1 being the highest quality with the least amount of bean deformities. Overall, these beans are so highly praised due to their concentrated flavour, as well as their lack of bitterness.
Funca El Injerto Coffee (US$20-US$80)
Grown in Guatemala, Finca El Injerto Coffee is another fairly pricey brand of coffee beans that ranges from US$20 - US$80. Cultivated for generations by the Aguirre family, these beans are grown and processed on the family farm in the Huehuetenango mountains and have been for four generations. Finca El Injerto Coffee has won several awards, including second place in the 2017 Guatemala Cup of Excellence.
Grown at an average of 4,800 - 6,500 feet, these farmers pay much attention to the care of their coffee plants. Taking extreme care in the processing of their beans, the family processes coffee beans through the washed method that they call “Peak Performance Process,” an extensive process that involves manual sorting and separation of coffee beans and the wet and dry milling, fermentation, and soaking of the beans. It is this intense process that develops these full-bodied, well-balanced, creamy, sweet, and complex flavours.
Saint Helena Coffee (US$25)
Grown on the tropical volcanic island of St. Helena, Saint Helena coffee is a high-quality world-renown coffee for a majority of reasons. St. Helena is one of the most isolated areas of the world, so isolated that it was actually the place of exile for Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte until his death in 1821. According to many, the emperor actually raved about how delicious the coffee was on the island, and his enthusiasm is what primarily led it to be an exported crop.
Despite its history, Saint Helena coffee is known for much more than just its history–its also known for the kind of coffee cultivated there. These famous beans are Green Tipped Bourbon Arabica beans, a coffee variant that was first introduced to the island by the East India Trading Company. The bean has distinctive qualities because they aren’t just normal arabica beans, but they are a specific kind is difficult to find anywhere else. Due to their rarity, you can expect to be paying a reasonable yet slightly exquisite amount of $25.
Ospina Coffee (US$120/lb)
Coming from a specific farm in Colombia, Ospina Coffee comes from the Ospina family farms who have been cultivating high-quality coffee from rich volcanic soil for generations. Established by two brothers who escaped from prison in 1835, the family’s humble coffee plantation has now become one of the oldest and first big-scale commercial coffee growing franchise.
With strong flavours of caramel and nutty tones, Ospina Coffee is loved around the world for its quality flavour as well as extreme detail placed into growing methods. Grown at 7,500 feet or higher, the beans have fruits hints of apricot with a crisp and bold chocolate-almond flavour. It’s also accompanied by balanced acidity and a light finish on the flavour, making it super smooth and simple to drink–all for the low price of about $120 per pound.
Hacienda La Esmeralda (US$50 - US$150/lb.)
Hacienda La Esmerelda is a family-owned company that produces coffee in the Boquete region in Panama. Growing their beans in the southwestern mountain range, they have won many awards and recognition for their flavour, bean quality, and exotic flair. These beans are normally more citrusy in flavour, and they also have a higher acidity. It’s a very special form of coffee and is often highly prized by both roasters and coffee connoisseurs alike.
Possibly the most awarded coffee in the world, Hacienda La Esmeralda is usually grown particularly at 4,921 feet above sea level or higher. It’s higher price results from short growing seasons, exquisite and extraordinary flavour, and labor costs to cultivate the beans, usually ranging from US$50 - US$150.
Kopi Luwak (US$200 - US$600)
Though many people believe that this is the most expensive coffee in the world, it actually isn’t. As surprising as it may be, kopi luwak, (otherwise known as civet coffee, luwak coffee, or cat poop coffee) is a kind of coffee that is made from digested, processed, and cleaned Asian palm civet dung. Many coffee fanatics value civet coffee as a luxurious coffee because of its reputation of robustness. Its flavor is sweet and aromatic with earthy and herbal notes as a result of the animals’ diet.
Primarily coming out of southeast Asia, luwak coffee is usually the most well-known coffee practice across the globe. Kopi luwak coffee has evolved from a lesser-known luxury to a worldwide exotic coffee trend. Due to its spike in popularity, the demand has allowed for several lesser-quality knock-offs to make their way onto the scene, although luwak coffee is still very pricey (because let’s face it– the best stuff is always the most expensive).
The lower levels of kopi luwak usually average around US$200, while the higher quality beans can reach an average of US$600. This price fluctuation depends on a variety of factors, such as the quality of the beans, processing methods, demand, and even how well the animals are treated. Over the last few years, kopi luwak production has faced much scrutiny due to Asian palm civet abuse allegations, though the practice is still popular.
Black Ivory Coffee (US$500 - US$1,500)
The king of coffee, black ivory coffee is currently the most expensive coffee in the world. Similar to civet coffee, black ivory coffee is a dung coffee that comes from elephants. Mainly originating from Thailand, specifically from the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, this coffee is produced from approximately 20 rescued elephants. It’s robust, flavourful, exotic, and yours for the taking all for the humble price of US$500 - US$1,500 per pound, or US$50 a cup.
It’s made of 100% Arabica beans, and the flavour of the coffee is blended with the natural herbal, earthy tones of the elephant’s diet. The animals’ stomach acid breaks down the proteins and molecular compounds in the beans and adds a more robust flavour to the beans themselves. Unlike kopi luwak coffee, there’s more opportunity for the beans to soak up more from the nutrients in the elephants’ diet since the large mammals are able to consume larger amounts of food.
With so many exquisite options to choose from, there’s always a choice for you to add on your bucket list. Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, there’s a lot of high-quality coffee beans and brands from around the world to try.