The world’s most expensive coffee is made from poop.
Black Ivory Coffee is the world’s most expensive coffee and sells for around £500 per kilogram.
The world’s most expensive coffee is made from poop. But this is not the same poop as that which is often marketed as producing the world’s most expensive coffee.
In Bali, captive civets are fed coffee cherries, the fruit that produces coffee beans. The beans are then plucked from the civet’s feces to produce kopi luwak, often cited on popular websites and in articles as being the world’s most expensive coffee. Indonesian farmers have long claimed that the method used to produce kopi luwak results in the best-tasting coffee on offer.
The rationale behind this is that civets are apparently highly picky eaters, and would only consume the very best and perfectly ripe coffee cherries. Secondly, animals’ digestive enzymes remove some of the acidity present in coffee beans, which makes for an exceptionally smooth cup of coffee. Sadly, commercial production of kopi luwak has rightly become associated with the inhumane treatment of civets, which are often caged and fed only coffee cherries, which is a far cry from what they require and get by virtue of their natural diet in the wild.
But despite what you may read online and despite the mass marketing campaigns for kopi luwak in popular tourist destinations such as Bali, it is not the world’s most expensive coffee – even if it once held the title back in the day.
Black Ivory Coffee is in fact the world’s most expensive coffee and sells for around £500 per kilogram. This coffee is made from Arabica beans by the Black Ivory Coffee Company in Thailand. Similar to civet coffee, it is prepared by elephants that consume the Arabica coffee beans and process them during digestion. Their stomach acid breaks down the bean proteins and provides a characteristic robust fruity flavour.
The main reason this coffee is so expensive is because it is so rare, as only a small amount of beans are available at any given time. It takes around 33 kilograms of cherries for an elephant to poop out half a kilogram of coffee. In 2019, only 150 kilograms of this coffee was produced. The CEO of the Black Coffee Company which produces Black Ivory Coffee, has consciously endeavoured to restrict production to protect not only quality, but also to emphasize the company’s environmentally conservationist practices.
As supply is extremely limited, this exclusive coffee brand is of course also particularly difficult to get your hands on. In fact, it is only sold to select five-star hotels in Thailand, the Maldives, Canada and Abu Dhabi. As such, any chance to savour this coffee would indeed be a once in a lifetime experience.
And while kopi luwak, which still sells at around £500 per kilogram may still be the second most expensive coffee in the world, the Panama-grown brand called Hacienda La Esmeralda is not far behind in third place. This rare coffee brand, which sells at around £350 per kilogram is sourced only from heirloom coffee trees of the Geisha varietal, a tree that grows exclusively at 1,500 meters above sea level and has been described as having an unparalleled flavour, which is why it is perhaps the world’s most awarded coffee.
Paul Russell is co-founder of Luxury Academy London, a multi-national training company with offices in London, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam. Luxury Academy London specialise exclusively in the luxury industry and deliver training in leadership, communication and business etiquette training for companies and private clients across the globe.
Prior to founding Luxury Academy London, Paul worked in senior leadership roles within luxury hospitality. A dynamic trainer and seminar leader, Paul has designed and taught courses, workshops and seminars worldwide on a wide variety of soft skills.