Top 10 Most Expensive Coffee In The World: Luwak Coffee Is Not The No. 1
Did you know that caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world? It is found in food, drinks, and even in pills. The world revolves around this drug, which is so necessary in the lives of millions that it is often overlooked as a drug. You may not even realize how your cup of coffee drives a billion-dollar economy. Many of us find our caffeine fix every day in our morning cup of coffee. For this reason, coffee has long been a global economic staple.
As a crop, coffee is cultivated worldwide in over 70 countries, and consumed in hundreds. The whole economics of coffee is a gigantic undertaking. Throughout history, coffee has had many purposes ranging from religious ceremonies to brewing up a cup before work or after dinner (which many consider to be their own religious experience). Coffee acts as a stimulant as well as a digestive aid. There are many varieties, from the species of the plant, to the way the bean is processed. Different production methods and regions of growing give coffee different profiles. I’m sure there are at least some coffee secrets, myths and controversies you haven’t heard about.
None of this is news to the coffee connoisseur, of course. As processing and brewing technology develop, the distance between a standard cup and a quality cup of joe widens. Naturally, so does the price gap. Here are the top ten most expensive cups of coffee available on the global market today.
10. Coffee Yauco Selecto AA (Puerto Rico) – $24/lb.
Coffee has long been a commercial crop in Puerto Rico, and this bean serves as an economic staple in both domestic and foreign markets. What makes coffee from the Yauco region of Puerto Rico so rich in flavor is a combination of natural elements and farming techniques. The amount of rainfall in the Puerto Rico is high, especially at high elevations in the mountain region where this bean hails from. Additionally, the nutrient rich clay soil gives this coffee its own specific flavor. The limited availability of Coffee Yauco Selecto AA lends to the high price tag. What can a coffee connoisseur expect from a freshly brewed cup of Puerto Rico’s finest coffee? This bean has a full-bodied, buttery flavor with mild chocolate undertones.
9. Starbucks Rwanda Blue Bourbon (Rwanda) – $24/lb.
Bourbon coffee is an heirloom variety of Coffee Arabica, which Rwanda is known for because of the climate. Starbucks Rwanda Blue Bourbon coffee offers a highly acidic, black cherry and butter melt blend with notes of spiced nut, and certainly the flavor of this bean isn’t the only thing worth raving about. Starbucks aided in establishing more coffee farms in Rwanda as a social mission to rebuild the country whose economy was shaken by internal violence. The fair-trade coffee movement and attempt to restructure the economy of the country has led to its high popularity of Rwandan beans on the global coffee market. The coffee cooperatives of Rwanda rely on this Black Apron Exclusive bean as one of their primary crops.
8. Mi Esperanza Coffee (Honduras) – $35/lb.
Honduras is getting to be a leader in the coffee-producing region of Central America. In an online auction in June of this year, international buyers bought 1,320 pounds of coffee from the Mi Esperanza farm at a record-breaking price of $35.10 per pound.
Honduran coffee is sought after for its natural qualities which combines the flavors of fruits, nuts, chocolates and spice. It is well-liked by connoisseurs because it is intensely aromatic & does not leave a bitter after-taste
7. Los Planes (El Salvador) – $40/lb.
Finca Los Planes coffee is cultivated deep in the mountainous region of Chalatenango, El Salvador on a farm operated by Sergio Ticas Yeyes, who inherited the farm from his father. This award winning cup of coffee placed 2nd at the 2006 Cup of Excellence, and 6th in 2011. Notable flavors include tangerine with caramel and brown sugar threads. While paying $40 per pound might seem steep to the average consumer, for the coffee lovers out there it is a fair price to pay for a cup of Los Planes family grown coffee.
6. Blue Mountain (Jamaica) – $49/lb.
Blue Mountain coffee has a worldwide reputation for excellence, and consumers from one corner of the world to the next can’t seem to get enough of it, even at $49 per pound. Approximately 80 percent of the coffee produced at Blue Mountain is exported annually to Japan. The coffee itself is grown at 5,000 ft. above sea-level in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, where heavy rainfall influences growth and the beans are processed. Due to the abundance of water, the coffee beans are pulped from their coffee cherries soon after being picked, which gives Blue Mountain coffee it’s signature well-balanced, mild flavor.
5. Fazenda Santa Ines (Brazil) – $50/lb.
At Fazenda Santa Ines farm, tradition is everything. From the position of the farm as a family operated business, to the traditional methods of cultivating and processing their coffee, Fazenda Santa Ines farm consistently produces a quality cup of coffee every time. Quality is what one might expect by paying $50 per pound. This ethically sourced crop is fed by natural mineral water springs and planted in fertile soil. It is naturally processed, which gives it a sweet berry and smooth caramel taste all the way until the last drop.
4. Molokai Coffee (Hawaii) – $51/lb.
Hawaii is said to be the only state in the US with a climate and soil conditions ideal for growing coffee. It comes as no surprise that they have a variety of world-renowned coffees. One of them is the Moloka‘i coffee produced by Coffees of Hawaii on a 500 acre plantation located in Kualapu’u, Maui County.
Molokai is an organic coffee that boasts of a floral aroma, berry and caramel taste with a hint of herbs. It is also full-bodied, mildly acidic and has a long-lasting chocolatey finish. The unique combination makes the Molokai coffee quite expensive and hard to find, though online ordering is available on the company website. The Muleskinner and Hawaiian Espresso varieties of Molokai sell for $102 for 2 lbs. or $51 per pound.
3. St. Helena Coffee (St. Helena) – $79/lb.
The origin of St. Helena Coffee Company’s Island can be traced back to Napoleon Bonaparte, who was enamored with the taste of this coffee and even began tending to crops on the island himself. Since the time of Napoleon, coffee on St. Helena Island has continued to flourish. The island itself is located approximately 1,200 miles from the west coast of Africa, and on a map appears to be close to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Surely the isolation and need to transport the coffee great distances contributes to the high price tag of the bean, but it isn’t really what people are paying for when they buy a pound at $79. The high-quality and unmatched floral flavor with hints of citrus is truly one of a kind and worth the cost.
2. Luwak Coffee (Indonesia) – $160/lb.
What makes Luwak Coffee from Indonesia so valuable are the processes of selection and digestion. Yes, you heard me correctly, digestion. Kopi Luwak coffee, often referred to as civet coffee, undergoes fermentation inside of an animal. The civet, to be specific. The civet consumes the coffee cherries, leaving the coffee beans to be collected later from the animal’s feces. The civet emits enzymes during the digestion process that alter the taste of the product, as one might expect. This taste, however, is coveted worldwide, to the point where consumers are willing to pay $160 per pound of Luwak Coffee.
1. Hacienda La Esmeralda (Panama) – $350.25/lb.
The trophy shelf for Hacienda La Esmeralda coffee looks fairly crowded, with this bean having been awarded first place at various worldwide cuppings thirteen times since 2004. The most recent record that this coffee set? A whopping $350.25 per pound at the 2013 Best of Panama Auction – Naturals Category. Grown in the shade of guava trees on the slopes of Mount Barú in Panama, this bean is highly sought after and only cultivated in small quantities. It is a rarity and delicacy in the coffee world, and a once in a lifetime must for any coffee connoisseur.
Some other insteresting stories:
- How You Make Coffee A Billion Dollar Business
- Coffee Secrets, Lies and Controversies
- The Economics of Coffee: From Cherry To Cup