written by
Deric Loh

Top 10 Most Expensive Coffees in the World

Coffee Travel 7 min read

We all love a cup of coffee, but how easy is it to tell the difference between an everyday, boring brew from your local café and one of the world’s finest blends? The quality of coffee depends on a ton of different factors including elevation, beans, processing method and roasting technique including many others, so it’s easy to see why some coffees stand head and shoulders above the rest.

So how do you know where to start? Worry no more, our run-down of the world’s top 10 most expensive coffees in the world has got your back. Use this guide as your coffee bible. Learn its wonderful coffees and keep watch for them out in the world.

Panama Geisha

Let’s start with the best of the best. At time of writing, this is right towards the top of the charts for the most expensive coffee in the world. A 10oz bag of this black gold will put you back $396. You’ll struggle to find this one from your local store, it is almost exclusively sold by auction! The coffee is grown in the luscious farming lands of Mount Baru in Western Panama. The beans are carefully handpicked and then sundried for 3-4 days. Expect a full-bodied taste with plenty of acidity, a punch of bergamot and citrus with a delightful honey sweetness.

Black Blood of the Earth

Recommended to keep consumption below 100ml/day. Credit: Funranium Labs

Out of necessity the creator of this coffee was searching for a rich flavoured coffee without the bitterness. Being diabetic, they wanted to avoid adding additional sweetening. From the rift valleys of Ethiopia, these beans aren’t just roasted but are created using a process of cold vacuum extraction.

This has the side-effect of a huge amount of caffeine, looking for a pick me up? This is your coffee. Not only that, this is perfect for those diet conscious drinkers. It has precisely 0 calories when drunk black. The pre-packed, ready to drink bottles come at $40-50 a go! With the rise of cold-brew and coffee in a can, I think it’s great to see a high quality version.

Hawaii Kona Coffee

Drying the coffee beans at Greenwell Farm, in Kona, Hawaii. Credit: Gary Pentin

The beautiful Hawaiian cost of Kona plays host to this coffees origins. The fertile volcanic soil and unique weather system, afforded by the Mauna Loa Mountains creates a special type of bean. The coffee is handpicked and sorted into size dependent on the blend being created. Hawaii Kona roasts their coffee in different ways depending on the taste they want to deliver.

The deepest roasting creates a classic French/Italian Espresso style coffee, whereas the medium roast creates a Vienna style brew. The very best Hawaii Kona, made from the largest 20% of the beans, has a smooth, chocolatey flavor and a delicate floral aroma. The highest quality Hawaii Kona? That’ll set you back around $51 a pound, worth it? I’m absolutely sure it is.

Jamaican Blue Mountain

Old Tavern Coffee Estate in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica. Credit: Lori Newman

Originally Jamaican coffee, one of the most popular in the world, was a staple of the East Indian Trading Company. The perfect climate afford by the land at 7000 feet is one of the highest points in the Caribbean. The natural cover afforded by the forest creates a coffee growing paradise.

The only downside is the diminished sunlight from the cloud cover, which leads to a lengthy cultivation process. This is a coffee that you have to be patient for. The beans are very gently roasted for a mild, low-acidic and sweet taste with a floral aroma with hints of spice in the taste. Jamaica doesn’t take the export of this product lightly, the beans are closely monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. 80% of these beans travel across the Pacific to Japan, where almost $50 needs to be parted with per pound.

El Salvador Los Planes Pacamara

Coffee berries. Credit: PT Coffee

These are beans with history. The Salvadoran Coffee Research Institute spent years developing hybrid beans and Los Planes Pacamara is the culmination of their work. During February to May the beans are harvested from the plantation set at 5300 foot. Los Plane Pacamara is no stranger to awards, especially with scores of well over 90 in the Cup of Excellence awards.

The flavors are complex and varied with notes of sweet blackcurrants, rich chocolate, nuts, melon, plums - the list goes on! The challenging and varied flavor makes it well worth the $40 price tag for a pound of this wonderful coffee.

Guatemala Finca El Injerto Gesha

El Injerto Coffee Farm. Credit: El Injerto

From the same bean family as the Panama Geisha this is a coffee to be savored and adored. The medium-light roast delivers some incredibly varied notes. Expect coconut to be dominant with fragrance of tea and tamarind, with a lingering chocolatey aftertaste. El Injerto is one of Guatemala’s most awarded farms in the nation.

The beans are generally exported to American sellers who sell under their own brands. Parting with $51 will get you 8 ounces of this harmoniously balanced roast, that said, if you’re after the highest quality direct from auction you might end up spending a bit more. In fact, back in 2012, we saw 8 pounds sold for $4004!

Yemen Microlot

Yemen Coffee Merchant. Credit: Carpetblogger

As the name suggests, this lightly roasted blend originates in Yemen and is roasted in Colorado. It’s light but deep, delicate but rich, all in all, it’s one of the most highly recommended coffees in the world. You’ll find honeysuckle and tangerine, honeysuckle and cacao nib.

The growing process itself comes from ancient origins. The arabica is cultivated on century old stone terraces that circle the fortified mountain villages. The growers hold their work in the highest regard, with traditions being passed down from generation to generation. Sound like you cup of coffee? Ordering from the roaster, Dragonfly Coffee Roasters, will cost you $75 for 8 ounces.

Elida Geisha Green Tip

Elida Coffee Farm. Credit: bestofpanama

Grown in Panama, by the Lamastus family, this is another bean from the illustrious Geisha family. These exquisite beans are transported to Taiwan where they were purchased by the Black Gold Coffee Co. This bean creates some of the most delicately flavored and beautifully rich bittersweet aromas. What with all the transportation, small batch creations and incredible quality, it’s unsurprising that this coffee comes in expensively. In fact, they paid a staggering $80,300 for a bulk load of 100 pounds. That’s a steep price but quality speaks for itself.

Mama Cata Geisha Washed

Mamacata Geisha. Credit: Willoughby Coffee

Another Geisha sourced coffee for our list, after all these are the best quality beans in the world. Willoughby’s Coffee and Tea, of Conneticut, roast these Panama beans to a medium-light level. Willoughby’s themselves have a long history of great coffee roasting, and have been doing so since the 1980s.

Unusually for the Geisha variety, you can expect a somewhat different style of aroma and taste. There’s apple leading to lemon and even fresh tobacco! This is a smooth, almost velvety feel in the mouth with an incredibly sweet taste. $54 will get you 12 ounces of this excellent coffee.

Luis Ricardo Calderon’s Geisha Beans

Luis Ricardo Calderon Madrigal. Credit: Alliance for Coffee Excellence

By now, you’ll be starting to get a feel for the power of Ethiopia’s Geisha bean and its varieties. When Luis took his beans to auction they rated at a mindblowing 27,000% above the benchmark against competitors.

Even the growers were surprised with the quality of their beans. They put the quality down to their perfect combination of altitude, fertile land and their specific processing and drying of the beans. During the July 2018 auction in San Jose, they were sold for $300 a pound. In fact, Calderon managed to shift a staggering 529 pounds for a huge $158,780. Good luck getting hold of some, they might not be too easy to find!

Now you might have read this list and find yourself wondering where the infamous Kopi Luwak or Black Ivory are. Well, personally, I can’t agree with the ethics that are behind these two. The inhumane treatment of the animals involved just isn’t something I can agree with. And frankly, why bother with them when there are so many incredible coffees out there.

My suggestion? Bookmark this list and treat it as your coffee bucket list. How many can you get ticked off? I, for one, am off to make a start right now!

Coffee Travel Top 10