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.