The 5 Most Expensive Coffee Beans in the World

Despite the occasional grumblings from mainstream media that Millennials are spending more on coffee than on retirement, enjoying your morning cup of coffee is one of the simple, sweet, cheap pleasures in life. Except when it comes to the five most expensive coffee beans on this list, it's not cheap at all. And the way it's produced? Not always so sweet. 

Consumers pay exorbitant prices for these beans due to their high quality, rigorous growing methods, and often bizarre methods of processing. Wanna know how cat poop gets involved? Read on. 

#SpoonTip: For context, one pound of Starbucks coffee retails on for $17.31 at Walmart.

5. Ospina Coffee Dynasty Premier Grand Cru: $136 per pound

Tasting notes: Almond, chocolate

Ospina is the oldest coffee company in the world. The beans are grown at high elevations in the Andes mountain range, fermented, sundried, and then roasted. The company suggests that the beans must be brewed in "pure water" at a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit in order for the beans to reach their full potential. The resulting cup is smooth, strong, and wine-like.  

If you want to try a cup before investing in an entire bag, Ospina has cafes inside of various luxury car dealerships. 

4. Starbucks Reserve Saint Helena Coffee- $145.45 per pound

Tasting notes: Floral, citrus, caramel

If the island of St. Helena seems vaguely familiar to you, you probably learned about it in history class. St. Helena is the island Napoleon was exiled to in 1815 after his capture by the British.  While being exiled was probably a bummer, word on the street is that his high praise for the coffee is what lead the island to begin exporting the coffee elsewhere. 

St. Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic ocean; its long distance from the shore and small area to grow coffee is most likely the two main culprits for its high price tag.

Additionally, because of the high demand, this blend is very rarely in stock. Due to the downfall of the online Starbucks store, you'll have to, a) get very lucky, and b) visit a Starbucks Reserve store in person to purchase it.  

3. Kopi Luwak- $299.55 per pound

Tasting notes: tea-like, earthy

Kopi Luwak, also known as civet coffee, is a bizarre delicacy derived from southeast Asia. The palm civet, a catlike mammal native to Indonesia, consumes the coffee cherries and then poops them out. The collected droppings are then harvested into coffee. 

Despite the somewhat nauseating process of production, the blend is prized for its smooth taste and lack of bitterness.  However, its growing popularity has lead manufacturers to go to extremes in order to produce as much coffee as possible.

This means capturing wild civets and keeping them in cramped, filthy cages. This has prompted many informed consumers to start petitions urging retailers against stocking Kopi Luwak. 

2. Hacienda La Esmerelda Geisha- $601 per pound

Tasting notes: floral, citrus

Geisha coffee beans originated in Ethiopia, but thrived once they were imported to Panama. The unique taste is due to the altitude at which the beans are grown; Hacienda La Esmeralda grows their beans 1500 to 1900 meters above the ground. This rigorous harvesting process leads to a sweet, aromatic flavor—and a high price tag. If you're eager to try this coffee, you'll have to attend an auction to get your hands on some. 

1. Black Ivory Coffee- $818.18 per pound

Tasting notes: chocolate, spice, grass 

Black Ivory coffee is yet another blend that passed through an animal's digestive system. In this case, elephants in rural Thailand. The digestive process leads to the distinct flavor profile of the coffee. A long fermentation process within the elephant's stomach creates fruity notes in the coffee. Enzymes in the elephant's stomach break down proteins, which lead to a mild, tea-like flavor. 

If you're willing and able to drop the price of a 1998 Honda Civic on a bag of coffee, you can see for yourself if these beans are worth the price. Personally, I'll just stick with my Starbucks French Roast.