You’ve probably heard it before: coffee is an expensive habit. A luxury. If you gave up coffee, you’d probably save enough to buy a house for you and all your friends—or something outlandish like that.
The truth of the matter is, there are expensive coffees out there, wildly more expensive than what you drink right now. Some of these types of coffee are going between $35 to $100 for a cup of coffee!
Unbelievable, isn’t it? Well, in this article, we’re going to be exploring some of these expensive coffees and expensive coffee beans. I’m going to share what they are and why they’re valued so high.
7 Most Expensive Coffees in the World
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Coffee lovers, pull out your notes – you’re likely going to want to add one or two of these to your “must have” coffee list!
Whenever there’s talk about expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak always comes out. Kopi Luwak (you may know of it by being the “cat poop coffee”) has been famous for several decades now and is widely regarded as one of the best, most delicious coffees in the world.
Civet coffee is made in Bali, a province of Indonesia. Here, the climate is relatively hot and humid, which is actually quite good for coffee plantations. But the key to Kopi Luwak isn’t the climate itself, but the wilderness of Bali.
Coffee civet farms in Bali are run by independent farmers rather than organized institutions. These farmers live in rural areas, so wild animals run into the farms constantly. This would be an issue in almost all cases—except for the Asian Palm Civet (also known as Civet Cats), an indigenous mammal similar to a lean, more agile raccoon.
The Palm Civets enters the coffee plantations and munches on the delicious ripe coffee cherries from coffee trees that carry coffee beans inside. It’s been said that the civet cat is actually very picky creatures that will only eat the ripest coffee beans. Then they will defecate in the surrounding area; the beans are then recollected from the excrement.
The fermentation process that they undergo inside the digestive tract of the civet is what gives this coffee its extraordinary flavor. Just try not to think about how exactly people discovered that Kopi Luwak was delicious. Thank the adventurous ones.
Kopi Luwak is sold at around $300 – $450 per pound, although that varies depending on where you get it from. One cup of Kopi Luwak coffee will cost you between $49-$59!
Kopi Luwak is currently produced in places other than Bali, notably in Peru where this time another animal, the coatis, is used instead of the wild civets.
Just be cautious – there’s a high demand for this cup of excellence! Ensure that your beans aren’t being produced by civet cats that are now being held captive in small cages or are actually fake Kopi Luwak whole beans!
2. Gesha Coffee
Gesha coffee (or geisha coffee) is something relatively new compared to other coffees on this list. While gesha coffee beans have been around for a long time, as they are a type of coffee bean originating in the Gesha forest of Ethiopia, they weren’t considered competition for one of the coffee’s most expensive coffees.
It was in Panama, a country where coffee had -at the time- a very small presence, that this particular gesha bean was discovered.
It would appear that gesha beans were sent to Panama to be studied and somehow they found their way to the small coffee community. They began to plant it at some point during the 1950s.
Then, in 2004, the Hacienda La Esmeralda entered their gesha beans into a competition. Judges were absolutely stunned by it’s unique taste, and gave it the highest score ever given to a coffee at the moment.
Since that moment, Panamanian gesha coffee has become a worldwide phenomenon and regarded as arguably the best coffee in the world. Gesha coffee is priced at around $600 per pound, or $18 per cup.
3. Kona Coffee
Kona is a region in Big Hawaii; one that has been famous for more than a century for its coffee. Even Mark Twain remarked at this time that Kona coffee was sweeter and more delicious than any other on the face of the earth.
Ironically, he wasn’t talking about the type of Kona coffee that we drink today. It was only relatively recently that a certain type of bean was imported to the region (Guatemalan Typica) and since then Kona has been regarded as one of the best coffees in the world.
The key is the region; the Kona region is mountainous, once a region of active volcanoes. The soil is volcanic soil, incredibly rich in all sorts of nutrients. This soil also provides the specific filtration that coffee needs. All in all, it is the ideal scenario to grow coffee.
The price tag Kona coffee is upwards of $65 to $85 dollars per pound, making it significantly more expensive than regular coffee, even more so than the same type of beans grown in other countries.
Introduced to Jamaica in 1728, this type of coffee has had a very good reputation for centuries. Jamaica, a tropical island, isn’t at first glance the most ideal sit for a coffee farm. Except for the Jamaican Blue Mountains, a region in Jamaica that boasts of some of the highest mountains in all of the Caribbean.
Here in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, some of them over 7,000ft high, many coffee farms started to take root centuries ago. Only those coffees grown at the highest altitudes can be called Blue Mountain coffee.
The climate is cool, and seasons rarely change, providing a stable environment for coffee plants to prosper. The soil is rich and the indigenous farmers have worked with coffee for more than two centuries.
Jamaican Blue Mountain is estimated to sell at an average of $40+ dollars per pound, although the price varies as there are many kinds of Blue Mountain coffee on the market.
Interestingly enough, Japan buys up about 80% of all Blue Mountain coffee, already scarce enough. Japan is known for its coffee culture, and for their exquisite taste in coffee— buying a lot of Jamaican and Peruvian coffee amongst others.
5. Fazenda Santa Ines
Brazil, number one grower and exporter of coffee in the world. They produce more coffee than any other country in history, and have been doing so since the 20th century.
Coffee in Brazil is no joke, and has been known to even influence politics. The term “big coffee politics” has been around for more than fifty years.
In one of the many estates in Brazil, we find Fazenda Santa Ines, the most widely recognized in the world and even within Brazil, where they have been competing and winning prizes for several decades.
Fazenda Santa Ines coffee sells for $80-150 dollars per pound, making it one of the most expensive coffees from Brazil.
6. Finca El Injerto
In the depths of Guatemala, right in the middle of the famous Huehuetenango region, we find the Finca El Injerto.
The Huehuetenango region is by far the most outstanding in the country, producing some of the best fine coffee of all Central America. Already most coffees coming from this region are considered top-notch because of their subtle flavor. They cultivate several types of beans, including the famous gesha.
This family-run Finca, or estate, has been around since 1900, and are known in the world as the best producer of Huehuetenango coffee in the world. Their methods, which are passed down from one generation to another, have gained them the reputation of the best Huehuetenango coffee in all of Guatemala.
The finest coffee they produce sells at about $85 dollars per pound, while some of their more accessible coffees go for an average of $38 per pound at auctions.
Molokai: a small island in Hawaii with a population of only 7,500 people. Here, you will find a single coffee plantation, from where all of the world’s Molokai is sourced.
This small island has all of the right conditions for coffee growing, and the variation of coffee grown here, the Red Catuai, was selected specifically because of its compatibility with the climate and soil of Molokai. The flavor is unlike any other in Hawaii, and is often compared to Kona as a competitor for the title of best Hawaiian coffee.
Unlike other items on this list, Molokai only began selling coffee commercially rather recently, at the beginning of the 21st century. Since then it quickly rose in the ranks and is now considered one of the best coffees you can ever hope to enjoy.
Molokai coffee sells at an average of $30 – $80 dollars per pound.
From $40 to $400 per pound, any of these coffees can be anywhere from 20 to 300 times more expensive than your average coffee.
Have you tried any of these coffees yet? If not, and you’re a coffee lover, then you must definitely add them to your bucket list.
More sensitive people might be tempted to strike Kopi Luwak from their list—but rest assured that it is thoroughly processed and cleaned before it ever goes into your cup. And, more importantly, delicious!
If you want the perfect way to brew your coffee, be sure try out an Aeropress!