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January 12, 2017updated Mar 14, 2017

The Most Expensive Coffees in the World

By Lauren Jade Hill

It’s been widely publicized for a number of years that the world’s most expensive coffee is Kopi Luwak, the Indonesian variety in which the beans are fermented by passing through civet cats before being dried and roasted. But with ethical concerns surrounding this variety, many coffee connoisseurs would rather look elsewhere for a rare cup of Joe. We take a look at the most valuable coffee beans, which are competing to be the world’s most expensive.

Most Expensive Coffee


Black Ivory Coffee

It’s at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in northern Thailand that this coffee can be tried at its source. Thai Arabica coffee cherries are grown here in the highlands, and naturally eaten by the elephants who roam the land. After passing through an elephant’s digestive system, which is said to break down the protein that causes bitterness, the coffee beans are collected by mahouts, before being sun-dried and roasted.

As conservation is at the heart of the elephant foundation, eight percent of the coffee proceeds go towards elephant welfare. And as only 150 kg of Black Ivory Coffee is produced in a year, a select few five-star hotels throughout Thailand, the Maldives, Malaysia and Singapore, plus the Elephant Story in the US, are supplied with the beans. Visit the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation while staying at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, which serves the coffee too.

Geisha Coffee

Most Expensive Coffee


This coveted coffee bean takes its name from Geisha Mountain in Ethiopia, where the seeds were collected in the 1930s, before making their way to Panama. Now, Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama’s coffee highlands is the name that’s synonymous with this rare coffee variety, which thrives at the farm’s high altitude, and where the beans’ specialist cultivation has been perfected over time. Having both surprised and delighted coffee experts, these beans are renowned for being the highest paid coffee at auction; they were once sold for more than $350 per pound.

St Helena Coffee

With this small island’s extraordinarily isolated location in the southern Atlantic Ocean, there’s no wonder St Helena Coffee is among the world’s most expensive. Coffee is said to have been brought here in 1733 and raved about by Napoleon Bonaparte who even tried planting his own coffee plants on his land. And with the prestige this brought to the island’s coffee, this was the beginning of its popularity overseas. Now the coffee plantations flourish here, producing beans that are considered to be of exceptionally high quality, and noted for their floral fruity flavor, with hints of citrus and caramel.

Most Expensive Coffee


Molokai Coffee

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This variety of coffee beans from the Hawaiian island Molokai are another of the world’s most highly rated, and as a result are of especially high monetary value. Coffees of Hawaii Estate & Farm cultivate and process these beans on the upper slopes of the island. And while they produce a range of varieties, the 100 percent Molokai coffee is the most valuable. Perhaps the reason for its prestige is the fact it’s so rare, but it is also celebrated for its floral aroma and caramel notes, with low acidity.

To make top quality coffee at home, it’s worth getting the right equipment, such as this Belle Epoque Coffee Machine by Elektra, which we featured in our recent Gift Guide for Gourmands.

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