Admittedly, the title of this article is a trick question. Whether an expensive coffee is “worth it” or not will totally depend on the person being asked. To the connoisseur, the answer may be yes while to the average coffee lover, the answer may be no. Coffee lovers are a very diverse bunch with many different preferences. Additionally, everyone has a different standard for what counts as “expensive coffee”. Regardless of what type of coffee drinker you are or what budget you're on, I think we can all agree that in the coffee world, you typically get what you pay for. And while more expensive coffee doesn't always mean better coffee, price is usually a good indication of quality and rarity.
The Best Expensive Coffee
There are thousands coffee growers across the world, most of which are specialized in the cultivation or production of their local coffee bean. Some of these beans are quite rare and require very specific growing conditions while others may be plentiful but due to their geographic location have limited distribution. As a result of this, these coffees will often carry a premium price tag. Whether that price tag is justified to you will entirely depend on your coffee preferences….and budget. But rest assured, the coffees listed are in no way your average brews and will deliver a multi-sensory experience unlike regular coffee. To make things easier for, we've split the list into two categories: high price coffee(at least over $25/lb) and the most expensive coffee.
High Price Coffee ($25+ per lb)
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
The coffee is grown in the world renown Jamaican Blue Mountain range with the highest peak being 7,402 ft above sea level. Coffee grown here is exposed to ideal climate conditions with abundant rainfall and rich soil. The product is a coffee bean that lacks bitterness while being infused with a very aromatic and sweet flavor. The mild and balanced taste also makes it the favorite coffee drink of Asian countries, especially Japan. For more details on this coveted Jamaican coffee, check out our full blue mountain coffee review.
Pacamara coffee beans are incredibly rare and happen to be the largest coffee beans in the world. These particular Pacamara coffee beans are grown in the highly fertile lands of Nicaragua at an altitude between 1,300 – 1,750 meters. Like the others on this list of expensive coffees, they deliver a distinctly unique flavor. The flavor of Pacamara coffee is as sweet as it is strong and is a good fit for those who enjoy a complex mix of flavors within their brew.
Kona coffee is grown in the coveted Kona mountain region in Hawaii. It turns out that the only U.S. state to grow coffee happens to also produce some of the most desirable coffee in the world. Kona coffee is known for its unique sweetness and distinct smoothness. I've been fortunate enough to try some of the best Kona coffee out there and can say it was worth the money. Kona coffee is has virtually no bitterness and will often have a less acrid flavor. Highly recommended for fans of intensely smooth coffee. Check out our Kona coffee guide for more information.
The Most Expensive Coffee ($100+ per lb)
Black Ivory Coffee
Starting off our list of most expensive coffees is a gourmet brew by Black Ivory Coffee Company. Brace yourself…when you enter the world of the most expensive coffee, you're likely to encounter some unfamiliar things. Black Ivory coffee is made from beans that are consumed and then expelled by elephants. Strange as it may sound, the elephant's digestive process infuses the beans with a flavor that's highly sought-after. Once the elephant excretes the coffee beans, harvesters collect the beans and thoroughly wash them. The end result is a flavor so unique and desirable that coffee connoisseurs around the world have fallen in love with it. Given the process, this coffee cannot be mass produced and so supply is quite limited. This coffee is easily one of the most expensive coffees in the world with a price tag of over $1000 per pound.
Kopi Luwak (civet coffee)
Just like the Black Ivory Coffee, this coffee requires being processed by the digestive system of another animal. In this case, it's Asian palm civets in Indonesia. These civets consume coffee cherries, ferment them during digestion, and excrete them. The excreta are gathered and processed into coffee powders. The civets' digestive enzymes add a flavor to the coffee beans that coffee lovers around the world are willing to pay high prices for. Kopi Luwak or civet coffee has been subject to controversy due to questions about the ethical treatment of the civets. We recommend going with only Kopi Luwak coffee that's harvested from civets in the wild as opposed to those that are bred in captivity. This coffee can cost up to $450 per pound. For more details on one of the world's most famous expensive coffees, check out our full Kopi Luwak review.
Hacienda La Esmeralda (Geisha Private Collection)
The Geisha coffee beans is yet another coffee bean that's earned it's place among the best coffees in the world. This particular variety is grown in Panama under the natural shade of Guava trees and medium roasted to perfection in order to allow for full expression of the coffee bean's wide range of flavors. This Geisha coffee is very lush and delivers delicate sweet floral notes. These rare floral notes are comprised of Jasmine and coffee blossom. There's also a very refined acidity that many coffee lovers will appreciate. This coffee goes for $120 per pound.
Saint Helena Coffee
This coffee is brewed on St Helena Island, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, which is about 1,200 miles away from West Africa. Due to the high transportation costs attached to its shipment, it's a rare brand that few coffee shops sell. The coffee has an unmistakably rich flavor of both citrus and fragrant caramel. This coffee has clean, bright and beautifully balanced notes of citrus, honey, berry and stone fruits. Saint Helena Coffee goes for about $200 per pound.