The Most Expensive Coffees in the World

When it comes to indulging in an expensive cup of Joe, did you ever think it would involve $50-per-cup prices, animal waste, and Swarovski crystals? As we take a look at the most expensive coffees in the world, you’ll encounter magical brews from Indonesia, Panama, Brazil, Jamaica, and the island of St. Helena.

The Ultimate Expense for Coffee

Photo credit: Richard Dudley

When you think of expensive coffee, Starbucks has nothing on the Indonesian luxury of Kopi Luwak, where just a small amount carries a $50 price tag. This costly brew actually comes from the droppings of the Common palm civet – a weasel-like creature that eats, partially digests, and then excretes the most expensive coffee beans in the world. During the digestion process, the raw red coffee beans lose its soft outer part, causing the beans to shed its bitter taste and receive an enhanced flavor. Can you believe a pound of the coffee beans can cost up to $600?

Other pricey cups of coffee include:

Island of St. Helena Coffee Company

About 1,200 miles off the coast of Africa, you’ll find the island of St. Helena, where the demand is high for the exclusive coffee that fetches $79 per pound. The tea originates from a varietal brought to the island from Yemen in 1730 with yearly production quite low – only 12 tons. Interestingly, the island has a fascinating historical past, as it is the location where the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte spent his exile.

Hacienda La Esmeralda

On May 30, 2006, the Hacienda La Esmeralda’s Geisha unroasted coffee sold for more than  $50 dollars per pound at an online auction. Grown in the shade of old guava trees in Boquete, Panama, the flavor and aroma of the beans is distinct – commanding up to $104 per pound.

coffee beans
Photo courtesy: Zsuzsanna Kilian

Fazenda Santa Ines

Earning the highest rating in Cup of Excellence history, you can only enjoy cups of this Minas Gerais, Brazil brew at specialty shops around the world, and at Caffe Artigiano – an independently owned café in Canada that purchased 132-pound bags of a limited production of green beans. At the auction, one pound of the coffee cost $50.

Jamaica Blue Mountain

There’s plenty of imitations on the market, but beware of the coffee that claims a ‘Blue Mountain style’ or ‘Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend’ because you won’t be receiving the Wallenford Estate, Jamaica treat that sells for about $49 per pound. Delivering a mild taste and aroma, around 85% of all Blue Mountain is sold to Japanese buyers.

Expensive Coffeemakers

crystalcoffeemakerFrom espresso makers to personal grinders, ever-evolving technology allows us to prepare fresh cups of coffee within the comforts of our own homes. However, with the demand for bigger, better, faster and flashier home gadgets, it’s no wonder some coffeemakers have followed suit.

Imagine a coffeemaker retailing around $2,000. What do you get for such a price? The Prima Donna ESAM 6600 has the ability to memorize your favorite cappuccino, cafe latte and other preferences. With the press of a button, the machine also cleans itself.

If you prefer an eye-catching brewer, Nespresso’s Crystal Coffee Machine (~$4,000) features more than 3,000 Swarovski crystals. Other features include a built-in cup warmer and convenient removable grate for making latte macchiato. Nespresso also produced limited edition Essenza models in Brilliant Black and Sparkle Pink – costing around $1,000.

Bittersweet Café Introduces Its Own Micro-Batched Bittersweet Origins Coffee

Today, Bittersweet is announcing the launch of its own micro-batched, locally roasted coffees.  Just as the company has taken the hand-crafted approach to chocolate, it is now doing the same for a line of coffees.  This coffee is roasted in the Berkeley production facility by an expert coffee maker and the coffees will be sold in the three Bittersweet Cafes as well as online.

Bittersweet is creating espresso, drip (both blend and single bean) and decaf using beans from Kenya, Brazil, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Sumatra.

choc and coffee
photo courtesy of

As Penny Finnie, co-owner of Bitttersweet puts it:  “Our coffees follow the same hands-on approach we use for our Bittersweet Origins chocolate bars, This is another amazing varietal product and we are taking the same interest in the farms and cooperatives where the coffee beans are grown as we do with our cacao sourcing.”

Thought you would be interested to learn of this new offering.  Bittersweet is one of very few companies offering micro-batched coffee.

About Bittersweet  Origins and Café
Bittersweet Origins is a manufacturing and retailing company which creates craft chocolate and coffee in handmade, micro-batches to engage the senses and the mind.  Bittersweet Café retail stores’ ambience and furnishings reflect the one-of-a-kind nature of its chocolate bars, chocolate drinks and coffees.  The warm and welcoming spaces furnished with unique tables, benches, carts and artwork from local craftspeople and artists create a gathering place for the community to savor locally made chocolate delicacies, coffee and tea.  The Bittersweet Cafes are located in San Francisco on Fillmore Street, College Avenue in Oakland and the Rose Garden Shopping Center in Danville.  For more information, visit or call 510-705-1860.

Flavored Holiday Coffee Creamers for 2009

Just when thoughts of pumpkin pie and candy canes begin to increasingly dance in our heads, coffee creamer manufacturers take the opportunity to woo consumers with delicious reminders of the upcoming holidays. Available in powder and liquid versions, flavored coffee creamers from International Delight and Nestle Coffee-Mate not only add spice and pizzazz to our java and hot chocolate, but also make interesting ingredients for desserts and tasty toppings for ice cream.

Nestle Coffee-Mate

creamersIntroduced in 1961, Nestle Coffee-Mate holds the honor of being the first powdered non-dairy creamer on the market in the United States. Currently, the company offers more than 20 liquid and powdered flavors, including 12 reduced-fat and sugar-free selections. Coffee-Mate also provides seasonal creamers, like the powdered and liquid version of Pumpkin Spice. The following selections are available between late October and January:

  • Peppermint Mocha (Powder and Liquid) – The chocolate/mocha flavor of this popular seasonal treat takes a backseat to the presence of refreshingly sharp peppermint.
  • gingerbreadGingerbread (Powder and Liquid) – Imagine dropping a piece of gingerbread in your cup of coffee and slowly drinking the aftermath – a successful blend of spices and the taste of an all-too-familiar holiday indulgence.
  • Eggnog – Just like the spirited holiday beverage, Nestle captures the creaminess and richness of eggnog without delivering a punishing blow to your waistline.
  • Caramel Apple – New this season, this creamer hopes to impress consumers with the sweetness and kick found in a real caramel apple.

International Delight

Hitting the scene in the 1980s, International Delight successfully produced the first flavored, liquid, non-dairy creamer. In the past, consumers could only choose between three flavors, which were served in individual portion control sizes. With the addition of fat-free and reduced-sugar versions, the creamers now come in pints and quarts – representing around nine core flavors and a host of CoffeeHouse Inspirations, limited edition, and seasonal treats, such as:

  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (Limited Edition) – With the dreamy scent of nutmeg and cinnamon hitting your nostrils, prepare yourself for a truly tasty experience. Adding just the right amount of spice, mintInternational Delight successfully captures the enchantment of the ultimate iconic Thanksgiving dessert. Available Fall and Winter 2009.
  • Chocolate Mint Truffle (Seasonal Celebrations) – Embrace the seductive combination of milk chocolate and mint in your coffee or cocoa, which easily lifts the spirits and warms the soul. Available Winter 2009.
  • Vanilla Spiced Rum (Seasonal Celebrations) – Hints of vanilla and cinnamon join traces of smooth rum to create a spiced blend perfect for warming the bones after coming in from the cold. Available Winter 2009.

8 Ways to Use Kahlua for Desserts

Thank you Mexico for producing Kahlua, the sweetly thick, coffee-flavored liqueur comprised of Arabica coffee beans, imported rums, and vanilla. Known for vodka and cream creations, many people choose to drink a shot of Kahlua or sip with cream over rocks, but what’s the fun in that? Below you will find an assortment of ideas for using the coffee-flavored liqueur to enhance your everyday desserts:

1)  Coffee and Hot Chocolate

kahluacoffeeKahlua is responsible for producing a variety of smooth and creamy alcoholic drinks, including Black and White Russians, B-52s, and the Mud Slide. The flavored liqueur also elevates the appeal of coffee and hot chocolate beverages, such as Caramel Kahlua Coffee, which combines one jigger Kahlua, espresso (single or double shot), caramel ice cream topping, and lightly sweetened whipped cream.

2) Tiramisu

A traditional recipe for tiramisu usually includes mascarpone cheese, homemade sponge cake, and espresso. Locating the ingredients or making from scratch can turn into a time-consuming and costly adventure. However, you can create an easy Kahlua Tiramisu by using cream cheese, whipping cream, and store-bought ladyfingers dipped in an instant coffee/Kahlua mixture.

kahluacheesecake3) Cheesecake

The world of cheesecakes includes exotic fruit selections and mesmerizing chocolate combinations – some including the use of liqueur. Kahlua makes decadent toppings and fillings for desserts, as seen in a slice of White Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake, which blends the cream cheese filling with the liqueur and finely chopped, imported white chocolate (such as Lindt).

4) Brownies

In some recipes, instant espresso powder enhances the taste of chocolate in brownies. Use the infamous liqueur to produce moist, chewy brownies offering both a hint of coffee and Kahlua. If Black Russians are your favorite alcoholic beverage, combine the elements of a chocolate brownie with the popular drink by using vodka, Kahlua, and in some cases, black pepper. For an extra kick, frost your brownies using a buttercream base mixed with Kahlua.

5) Chocolate Mousse

With airy appeal, chocolate mousse blends rich flavor with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate sensations. Best of all – making this dessert is pretty easy, including 4-minute recipes that use a microwave. Typical ingredients include high-quality dark chocolate (like Ghiradelli), heavy whipping cream, extra-fine granulated sugar (like caster sugar), egg white, and chocolate shavings for a garnish. Adding two tablespoons of Kahlua to your recipe will enhance the outcome. Add piecrust to the mix and prepare a Kahlua Chocolate Mousse Pie for the holidays.

6) Flavored Whipped Cream

Increasing the appeal of hot and cold desserts, whipped cream often serves as a welcomed feature for coffee drinks. Flavored whipped cream makes an even more impressive addition to after-dinner treats and tantalizing coffee beverages. Beat together 1 cup whipping cream, ½ cup icing sugar, and 3 tablespoons of Kahlua to create a distinct topping. Do not overwork the cream or you’ll end up with butter.

7) Chocolate Sauces

Typically consisting of whipping cream, granulated sugar, semisweet chocolate, butter, salt, and Kahlua, chocolate sauces featuring the liqueur greatly complement a bowl of ice cream, tortes, chocolate cake, cheesecake, and cream puffs.

kahluafrosting8 ) Frosting

Perfect for office parties and decorating the holiday dessert table, Kahlua frosting comes in handy when you’re looking for a way to spruce up cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. With an electric mixer, combine six tablespoons of creamed butter with a 1-pound box of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa. Beat continually while adding in 3 tablespoons of Kahlua, followed by 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot coffee until you’ve reached a thick and smooth consistency.

While wildly popular on the market, Kahlua is not the end-all, be-all of coffee liqueurs. Don’t be afraid to try Tia Maria, Kamora, or Kona Gold to find a selection that best suits your taste buds and dessert recipes. To achieve specific flavors in dessert recipes, Kahlua also offers French Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Mocha selections.

Easy Coffee Dessert

Today I have a very quick and easy dessert recipe.
This was made by my 15 year old daughter who loves desserts and whips it up in less than 1/2 an hour.

Easy Coffee Dessert

1 liter milk
2 TBLSP. sugar
1/2 tin condensed milk or more
4 1/2 heaped TBLSP. corn flour
1 tsp. cocoa powder
3 tsp. coffee powder

easy coffee dessert


Boil the milk and sugar together.
In the meantime mix the rest of the ingredients except the  condensed milk with a little milk to make a paste.
Add this paste to the boiling milk on the stove and stir continuously to avoid lumps and remove when thicken.
Add the condensed milk .
Then pour into bowls and before serving top with nestle dessert cream, chocolate or anything you fancy.


After Dinner Delight

Espresso Vivace Courtesy of Laughing Squid
Espresso Vivace. Photo courtesy of Laughing Squid

At the end of a deeply satisfying meal, people around the social dinner table often become antsy and begin squirming in their seats. The conversation may be going strong, but the stomachs around the table are feeling stretched. People peer around the room wondering where dessert is, and if it will be tasty enough to warrant unbuttoning at the waist. The wine drinkers at the table are loud, and the non-drinkers are getting sleepy. How do we save this social situation and bring everyone to a place of comfort?

Easy. Coffee! Not just any coffee though, it must be a very special coffee. A coffee that will compliment any dessert yet not detract from the experience of the warm and wonderful meal just consumed. A coffee that will awaken the sleepers, satisfy the drinkers, and allow for that special moment of bonding that only occurs over a comforting cup o’ joe. Fitting this enormous billing perfectly is a teeny, tiny cupful of coffee… The Italian tradition of a good, creamy, strong shot of espresso.

Espresso Gradient Courtesy of Doozzle and Flickr
Espresso Gradient. Photo courtesy of Doozzle

A good espresso will be thicker than normal coffee and very creamy. A tiny bit of foam should adorn the surface, giving the drinker a hint of the wonderful texture and flavor to come. The quality of the foam is a good indicator of the quality of the coffee beans used to make the espresso. It takes both a good bean and the proper process to make a quality cup of espresso. At home, you may choose to use a professional style electric espresso maker (such as those they sell at Macy’s), or you can make it in the traditional way by using an aluminum stove-top espresso maker (such as the Moka Express from Bialetti).

Condiments are according to taste. Adding sugar is common. I prefer to use one teaspoonful of raw sugar, and you can always add milk or cream or a tasty after-dinner liqueur (FYI: once you add milk it is technically no longer an espresso, it has become a macchiatto). If you’re after a true Italian espresso, I recommend using LavAzza or Illy, both well-known Italian espresso coffee brands. Make sure you read the package and purchase the correct grind for your type of espresso maker.

Italy is renowned for knowing how to throw a good dinner party, and no respectable meal is ever considered complete without offering the guests “un cafe”, a cup of espresso. Pair your espresso with a tasty dessert, and you will leave the dinner table feeling full… and delightfully satisfied.