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The Most Expensive Coffees in the World

Yes, you love coffee. But how much do you love it? How much are you willing to pay for a really good cup? In this article, we will run down some of the most expensive coffees in the world and tell you what exactly makes them so special. You might be surprised by what you read- the sources of these coffees can be very exotic. It is that rarity that often gives them a lot of value on the market. Read on to learn about the world’s most expensive coffees.

Kopi Lowak

Kopi lowak is not a kind of bean or espresso machine. It is a very particular way of processing coffee berries. The coffee that results from berries that have been processed according to kopi lowak is quite expensive- up to $700 a kilogram. What is this process that can add hundreds of dollars to the price of the final product? It’s pooping. The producer collects coffee berries and feeds them to a civet, which is a kind of jungle cat. The civet eats the berries, digests them, and then defecates. The producer retrieves the coffee seeds from the feces. Would you drink a cup of coffee made from this process? Judging by the price, there are many who would.

Black Ivory

Black ivory is an even more expensive brew than kopi lowak. It commands a price of over a thousand dollars per kilogram, and that typically translates into a price of about 50 dollars a cup at the few elite hotels with the access to obtain this exclusive coffee. This is one of the most expensive and rarest coffees in the entire world. It is said to have a peerless smoothness. There are only a couple of hundred kilograms of this coffee produced each year, at most. The secret of this exclusive coffee: it’s poop again. There is one group of elephants that live on a reserve in Thailand that produce Black Ivory. These elephants create Black Ivory the same way the civets produce kopi lowak. The “crop” varies every year, because the collection process depends on how many seeds make it through the elephant. The taste is said to be incomparable.

Hacienda La Esmeralda

Hacienda La Esmeralda is a coffee from Panama, and there is no defecation involved in any point of its production. It only grows in one place- the mountain of Baru, near guava trees. It is difficult to say what exactly is unique about this coffee’s production process. Its quality, however, is indisputable. It has won worldwide tasting and cupping contests for many years, proving its absolute top grade to the world. Like Black Ivory, this coffee is only available for limited yields each year. Unlike Black Ivory, this coffee does not come from an animal’s poop. Hacienda La Esmeralda is a rare treat, and it costs more than twice as much as kopi lowak.

Jamaican Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain doesn’t cost as much as these other coffees, but it deserves a spot on the list due to its ubiquity and quality. It has a worldwide reputation as a top tier coffee. Only coffee experts will know about the first three entries on this list, but many people have heard of Jamaican Blue Mountain. The area in Jamaica where this coffee is grown gets a lot of rainfall. This is the primary standout feature of the location, and it gives the final cup a mild taste that still has some complexity to it. Jamaican Blue Mountain is about 50 dollars for a pound.

Expensive coffee is usually expensive for a reason. Or, more accurately, two reasons: flavor and rarity. A rare coffee that nobody likes to drink is not going to light up the market. Likewise, a very good coffee that is easy to grow won’t set any records for price. It takes both factors to really make an expensive cup of coffee. That’s why the two animal-processed coffees are on here- in addition to the quality of the brew, the coffee is hard to make. The Blue Mountain and the Hacienda La Esmeralda grow in limited areas- very particular locations that can only support so much coffee per year. The result is that demand is high for these coffees due to their taste, and supply is low because of the production process. Often, the celebrity of the coffee sparks even more demand. Expensive coffees are a self-perpetuating system.