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.
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.
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.