The Most Expensive Coffee In The World

When it comes to coffee, there are so many different varieties and flavors that can be found in nearly every corner of the world. 

Coffee lovers never go far without grabbing a cup – usually priced at less than $5. But what about the really expensive stuff? The kind that costs hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars per pound? 

Yes, believe it or not, there is actually a type of coffee out there that can cost upwards of $50 or $60 per cup. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most expensive coffees in the world and explore why they are so costly. 

The most expensive coffee in the world is Kopi Luwak, also known as civet coffee. It is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet, a small mammal native to Southeast Asia. The civet eats the coffee cherries, but only digests the fleshy outer layer, leaving the coffee beans intact. The beans are then collected from the civet’s feces, cleaned, roasted, and brewed into coffee.

Kopi Luwak is expensive due to its rarity and the labor-intensive process of collecting the beans. It is also highly sought after for its unique flavor, which is said to be smooth, rich, and slightly sweet, with a hint of chocolate. A pound of Kopi Luwak can cost anywhere from $100 to $600, making it one of the most expensive coffees in the world. However, there are concerns about the ethical treatment of civets in the production of Kopi Luwak, as many animals are kept in captivity and force-fed coffee cherries, leading to animal welfare issues.

So strap in, grab your mug, and let’s get started!

What Is the Most Expensive Coffee in the World?

coffee luwak

The most expensive coffee in the world is commonly cited as Kopi Luwak, which generally comes from Indonesia. A pound of Kopi Luwak coffee beans can cost upwards of $600. The high price tag is due to the unique way in which the coffee beans are harvested. 

Once you hear about it, you might be a little confused!

Kopi Luwak coffee beans are harvested from the droppings (poop!) of wild Asian palm civets, a nocturnal mammal that roams through coffee plantations eating the ripest and juiciest coffee cherries. As the civet cat digests the coffee, their enzymes break down the bean’s protein structure, resulting in a smoother, less acidic cup of coffee.

While some may be put off by the thought of consuming coffee that has been through an animal’s digestive system, many other coffee aficionados find this civet coffee to be deliciously smooth and rich, with chocolate and spice notes. 

If you’re feeling adventurous (and have deep pockets), Kopi Luwak just might be worth a try!

Where Does Kopi Luwak Coffee Come From?

Dutch colonists were responsible for setting up a number of major coffee plantations in Indonesia in the 19th century. It is on these plantations that local farmers started the practice of picking, washing, and processing the Coffee cherries excreted by local Asian palm civets.

What Is So Special about Kopi Luwak?

stages of production of coffee beans kopi luwak

The magic of the great taste of Kopi Luwak lies in the digestion process that takes place in the digestive system of the Asian Palm Civet.

After the Civets expertly select the best fallen coffee cherries to be eaten (they’re actually really good at choosing) – digestive enzymes break them down and change the composition of the amino acids in the coffee. The resulting taste of the coffee at the end of the process has reduced bitterness and a very smooth texture.

Only around 127 kg of Kopi Luwak style coffee is made each year, from plantations mainly located in East Timor, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. This short supply is another reason why it can reach prices of up to $1,300 per kg!

Who Buys This Coffee?

Coffee connoisseurs and those who appreciate the finer things in life are the primary customers for this coffee. They are willing to pay a high price for a cup of coffee that is unlike any other. The coffee beans used to make this coffee are the most expensive in the world, and the process used to create it is unique, so why not!

Reported Issues with Kopi Luwak

Kopi Luwak coffee is produced in small quantities due to the limited number of civets and the time-consuming process of collecting the beans. It can take up to five years for a civet to produce enough coffee beans for one pound of Kopi Luwak coffee.

The high price tag and exotic origin of Kopi Luwak make it a popular choice for gifts and special occasions. However, there are concerns about the ethical treatment of civets used for Kopi Luwak production. Some civets are kept in small cages and force-fed coffee berries, which has caused animal rights groups to have great concerns about some parts of the industry.

Honorable Mentions

Kopi Luwak holds the mantle of the most expensive coffee in the world. But there are some other coffees that don’t fall far behind when it comes to the price coffee connoisseurs are willing to pay. 

That said, let’s look at some of the honorable mentions. 

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

jamaican coffee plantation

Blue Mountain coffee is grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. The coffee beans are hand-picked and then sun-dried before being roasted. This coffee is said to have a smooth, well-balanced flavor with no bitterness.

Blue Mountain coffee is another one of the most expensive coffees in the world, while nowhere near the price of Kopi Luwak, it’s still around $50 per pound!

Kona Coffee

Hawaii Kona Coffee Beans

Kona Coffee is made from specialist arabica coffee beans grown in Hawaii. The quality of these beans is tightly controlled by a specially formed local Coffee Council (KKC) that ensures it is always superior quality.

The quality standards this group put in place ensure that the finished product is an extremely high-quality finished product. No machines are used in picking here, only hands, and as a result, you can expect to pay $45-$60 per pound for the finished product making it another of the most expensive coffees on the market.

Finca La Pradera

Finca La Pradera is a world-renowned coffee plantation located in the heart of Costa Rica. The plantation spans over 1,000 acres and produces some of the finest coffee beans in the world.

The coffee plants at Finca La Pradera are grown in rich, volcanic soil and carefully nurtured by experienced farmers. The perfect climate and conditions at the plantation result in coffee beans that are deliciously flavorful and exceptionally rare.

Only a small amount of coffee is produced at Finca La Pradera each year, making it one of the most exclusive coffees in the world. A cup of this luxurious coffee will also cost you around $50 – making it one of the most expensive in the world.

Hacienda La Esmeralda

coffee beans in coffee shop

Hacienda La Esmeralda is a coffee plantation in Panama that produces Geisha coffee, one of the most expensive out there. The coffee beans grown here are a wild-sourced variety that has a cult following all over the world.

The Hacienda La Esmeralda coffee plantation has won numerous awards and is considered to be one of the best coffee plantations in the world.

Conclusion

We hope this article showed you that the most expensive coffee in the world has some very good justifications behind that price tag, but also offers an unforgettable experience. From its unique flavor to its rarity and exclusivity, these coffees are truly something special.

Many may not have access to or be able to afford rare brews like Kopi Luwak or those from the Jamaican Blue Mountains, but for those who do, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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