Whenever I travel to a new country or city, one of the first things I do is check out the local cafes and search for new, strange coffee beans. I’ve discovered some of the most delicious and smooth coffees through my traveling adventures, but I’ve also encountered a fair share of strange and downright disgusting coffee beans too. Here are some of the rarest beans I’ve found while traveling:
Kopi Luwak is one of the rarest – and most expensive – coffee in the world. In Indonesian, “Kopi” means coffee, and “Luwak” is a type of native animal that feeds on the raw coffee berry. Can you see where I’m going with this? The Luwak can’t digest the bean inside of the berry, so it secretes the whole bean – and farmers collect them. I have to admit; I was too chicken to try this coffee when I had the chance. And to be honest, I’m not sure I could even afford it. Just 500 grams of this coffee can cost anywhere between $110 and $600, depending on where you are. Considering where the beans have been, I don’t regret my decision. But hey, people love Kopi Luwak coffee.
Black Ivory Coffee
Black Ivory Coffee is relatively new, but it’s just as rare as and even more expensive than Kopi Luwak coffee. In fact, Blake Dinkin, the man who invented this coffee, took a tip from the legendary Kopi Luwak coffee – except he brought it to a much larger scale. Black Ivory Coffee is made by pressing the beans through the stomachs of elephants – and picking the beans from its excrement.
Who knew I’d be talking so much about excrement on a coffee site? But it’s true – the rarest and most expensive coffee beans in the world are harvested this way. Black Ivory Coffee will cost you about $70 a cup (equal to about 5 or 6 espresso cups). And you’ll only be able to sample it at select destinations, mostly in Thailand, Maldives, Malaysia and a few other five star hotels. I haven’t had the chance to sample this coffee, but people were buzzing about it at Bangkok’s Grand Hyatt Erawan.
Fazenda Santa Ines Coffee
Now, Fazenda Santa Ines Coffee is one bean I’ve had the pleasure of trying. It’s expensive (500 grams will set you back $50), but it’s sweet and smooth. These beans come from the Fazenda Santa Ines farm in Minas Gerais, Brazil (who doesn’t love Brazilian coffee?). And they’re prepared in a traditional way. In fact, no automated processes are used – at all. Fazenda Santa Ines is sweet with just a hint of lemon or clove. Some say they taste a bit of chocolate or cherry, but I didn’t quite get those flavors. It’s creamy and rich – perfect for an afternoon cuppa, or serving guests.
Blue Mountain Coffee
I’ve also had the pleasure of trying Blue Mountain Coffee on a trip to Jamaica a few years back. As you may have guessed, these beans are produced on the Blue Mountains of Jamaica – the East of the mountains side to be precise. Of all the rare beans on this list, Blue Mountain is the most affordable, but at $45 per 500 grams, it’s still pricey. Still, this coffee is mild and not even slightly bitter.