Coffee, like wine, comes in a variety of strengths, color depths, flavor profiles, and price ranges. While most people don’t really think of coffee in the same terms as, say, boxed wine versus champagne, there’s quite a bit of truth to the comparison.
If your regular $2 morning cup just isn’t doing it for you anymore, you might be interested in looking into something a little classier. If the adage is true, and you get what you pay for, you might find something among the top five most expensive coffees that will satisfy your coffee change craving.
1. Jamaican Blue Mountain
As the name suggests, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is grown on a mountain in Jamaica. More specifically, though, these coffee beans are grown 7,000 feet above sea level in a cool climate with plenty of canopy, providing a shaded growing environment. Because of the lack of sunlight, the plants take longer to mature, so the flavor and smell develop slowly and take longer to permeate the beans before they’re ready to be picked and roasted.
Jamaican Blue Mountain is one of the most popular coffees in the world, and Japan alone imports about 80% of it. It sells for roughly $50 per pound, which is a far cry from the typical $8 per pound coffee you’ll find at the grocery store.
2. St. Helena
1,200 miles off the African coast lies St. Helena Island. While not particularly a vacation hot spot, this island was praised by Napoleon Bonaparte for the quality of the coffee grown there.
Rather than using manure from standard livestock as fertilizer, Saint Helena coffee is grown using bird manure instead. The volcanic soil combined with bird manure, which rots at a higher temperature, is probably what gives this rare coffee its acidity and unique flavor.
3. Hacienda La Esmeralda
The fewer places a specific type of coffee can be grown, the more of a commodity it is, and Hacienda La Esmeralda is only grown in Boquete, Panama. Therefore, the demand for this coffee has resulted in prices growing in leaps and bounds over the years. In 2004, a pound cost only $21, but as of 2014, a pound of this particular coffee costs over $350.
4. Luwak Coffee
Luwak Coffee, also called civet coffee, is made from beans that are processed through the digestive tract of a mongoose. Yes, the second most expensive coffee in the world is picked from animal feces before being processed and sold for $160 per pound.
5. Black Ivory Coffee
Similar to Luwak coffee and the mongoose necessary for its production, the most expensive coffee in the world is one that’s first processed through the bowels of elephants. In northern Thailand, elephants are fed coffee cherries, which are then fermented in the elephants’ stomachs. The undigested beans are picked from the feces, washed, and processed before selling for roughly $500 per pound.
While most people aren’t going to want to spend so much money on their daily cup of coffee, it doesn’t mean they can’t get a good brew from quality kcup coffees in their kitchen every morning. If you’re looking for something different, you should check out specialty coffee from Javafly to mix up your morning routine.