The Most Rare and Exotic Coffee Beans In The World

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Rare and exotic coffee beans are the gems of the coffee world.

These beans offer unique flavors and stories that make each cup a journey.

From Thailand’s Black Ivory to Panama’s Geisha, these coffees are often produced in limited quantities and through unique processes.

Whether it’s the animal-assisted fermentation or the rare growing regions, each type brings something special to your cup.

Let’s look at what makes them so sought after by enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.

10 Most Rare And Exotic Beans: At A Glance

  1. Thai Black Ivory
  2. Indonesian Wild Kopi Luwak
  3. Panama Geisha
  4. Jamaican Blue Mountain
  5. Hawaiian Kona
  6. Guatemalan El Injerto Bourbon
  7. Peruvian Coati
  8. St. Helena Bourbon
  9. Indian Monkey Coffee
  10. Liberica Coffee

What Makes a Coffee Rare?

Limited Production

Rare coffees often come from small-scale farms. These farms focus on quality over quantity.

Unique growing conditions also play a role. Some beans need specific climates or altitudes to thrive.

Additionally, these coffees often have low yields. This scarcity makes them highly sought after.

Unique Processing Methods

The way coffee is processed can make it rare. Some beans are digested by animals like elephants or civets.

This unusual method changes the flavor and texture of the coffee. Other beans undergo fermentation or aging.

These processes add unique notes to the coffee’s profile.

Exotic Locations

Many rare coffees come from remote regions. These areas are hard to access and have unique environments.

For example, some beans grow on volcanic slopes or isolated islands.

These exotic locations contribute to the coffee’s distinct characteristics.

High Demand and Quality

High demand also makes coffee rare. Specialty coffee ratings often highlight the best beans.

Consumers are willing to pay more for top-quality coffee.

This demand drives up the price and makes these coffees even more exclusive.

Are Rare Coffees Always High Quality?

Factors Influencing Quality

Several factors influence the quality of rare coffee.

This in turn, of course, also affects the price of the coffee:

  • Growing conditions are crucial. Ideal altitude, climate, and soil contribute to superior beans.
  • Harvesting methods also matter. Hand-picking ensures only the ripest cherries are selected.
  • Processing techniques like fermentation and aging add unique flavors.
  • Roasting must be precise to bring out the best in each bean.
  • Finally, brewing methods impact the final taste.

Examples of High-Quality Rare Coffees

Some rare coffees are renowned for their exceptional quality. Geisha coffee is one example.

Originating from Ethiopia, it is now grown in Panama.

Geisha is famous for its floral notes and tropical fruit flavors.

Another high-quality rare coffee is Jamaican Blue Mountain.

Grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, it is known for its mild flavor and lack of bitterness.

These coffees consistently receive high ratings from coffee experts.

Ethical Considerations

Ethical practices are important when sourcing rare coffee.

Fair Trade certification ensures farmers receive fair wages.

Direct trade involves buying directly from the farmers, often leading to better quality and higher prices for growers.

Sustainable practices protect the environment and promote long-term viability.

Consumers should look for these certifications to support ethical and high-quality coffee production.

The 10 Rarest Coffee Types

1. Thai Black Ivory

Unique Processing: Digested by Elephants

Thai Black Ivory coffee stands out due to its unique processing method.

Produced by the Black Ivory Coffee Company Ltd in northern Thailand, this coffee is made from Arabica beans consumed by elephants and collected from their waste.

The elephants’ digestive enzymes break down the coffee’s protein, which significantly influences the taste.

Flavor Profile: Chocolate, Malt, and Spice Notes

The result is a coffee with a distinctive flavor profile, featuring notes of chocolate, malt, and spices.

Black Ivory coffee is among the most expensive in the world, costing about US$2,000 per kilogram.

A cup of this luxurious brew can be purchased at select luxury hotels or online, priced around US$50.

Production and Ethical Considerations

In 2021, the production of Black Ivory coffee was limited to 215 kilograms. Producing one kilogram of this rare coffee requires 33 kilograms of raw coffee cherries.

Many beans are lost during the process as they are chewed, fragmented, or lost in the bush after excretion.

Originally produced at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Chiang Saen, which cares for rescued elephants, the production has now moved to Surin province in northeast Thailand.

Around 20 elephants at the foundation are involved in the production.

Contributions and Sustainability

Ethical considerations are a key part of Black Ivory coffee production.

Eight percent of sales are donated to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to support the health care of the elephants.

Veterinary tests have confirmed that caffeine is not absorbed by the elephants, ensuring the process is safe for the animals.

This sustainable and ethical approach makes Black Ivory coffee not just a rare luxury but also a product that contributes to animal welfare.

2. Indonesian Wild Kopi Luwak

Unique Processing: Digested by Palm Civets

Kopi Luwak, also known as civet coffee, is made from coffee cherries that have been eaten and defecated by Asian palm civets.

As these cherries pass through the civet’s intestines, they undergo fermentation, which changes the beans’ chemical composition.

This unique process is believed to enhance the flavor of the coffee.

Kopi Luwak is primarily produced in Indonesia, especially on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi, and East Timor.

It is also collected in the Philippines, where it is known by various local names.

The coffee is renowned for its high price, ranging from $100 to $1,300 per kilogram, making it one of the most expensive coffees in the world.

Flavor Profile: Chocolate, Caramel, and a Creamy Body

The unique processing method of Kopi Luwak gives it a distinctive flavor profile.

The coffee is known for its chocolate and caramel notes, combined with a creamy body.

However, the taste can vary based on the origin of the beans, as well as the processing, roasting, aging, and brewing methods used.

Ethical Considerations

Despite its fame, Kopi Luwak has raised significant ethical concerns.

Traditional methods of collecting wild civet droppings have largely been replaced by intensive farming practices.

Civets are often kept in small cages, force-fed coffee cherries, and subjected to poor living conditions.

These practices lead to high mortality rates and inhumane treatment of the animals.

The shift from wild-sourced to farmed civets has not only raised animal welfare issues but also led to fraud within the industry.

Some producers falsely label farmed coffee as wild-sourced to justify higher prices.

Additionally, the popularity of Kopi Luwak has contributed to a decline in wild civet populations due to intensive farming.

Critics and Imitations

Kopi Luwak has its critics, with some arguing that the coffee is purchased more for its novelty than for its taste.

Critics have described it as “bad coffee,” questioning whether its high price is justified.

To replicate the digestive process without involving animals, some producers use enzymes or other methods to mimic the fermentation that occurs in the civet’s intestines.

Despite these controversies, Kopi Luwak remains a sought-after coffee, often referenced in popular culture, such as in the movie “The Bucket List.”

The high price and labor-intensive production process contribute to its exclusivity and allure among coffee enthusiasts.

3. Panama Geisha

Origin: Highlands of Ethiopia and Panama

Panama’s Geisha coffee is one of the world’s most prized and expensive coffee varieties.

Originally from Ethiopia, it was introduced to Panama where it flourished in the high-altitude regions.

The coffee thrives at altitudes over 5,000 feet, which contributes to its unique characteristics.

In 2021, prices for Panama Geisha reached up to $2,500 per pound, reflecting its exceptional quality and rarity.

Flavor Profile: Floral, Jasmine, and Tropical Fruit Notes

Panama Geisha is celebrated for its distinctive flavor profile.

It offers a complex taste with notes of tropical fruit, peach, and bergamot, often accompanied by floral and jasmine undertones.

The beans’ flavor can vary depending on factors like the specific growing location, processing methods, and roasting techniques.

However, its hallmark is the intricate and vibrant taste that stands out among other coffee varieties.

Historical Significance and Popularity

The prominence of Panama Geisha began in 2004 when it won competitions and broke price records, gaining international acclaim.

The first farm to cultivate this variety in Panama was Hacienda La Esmeralda, which played a significant role in popularizing it.

Despite its origins in the Gesha region of Ethiopia, the coffee’s success story is closely tied to Panama.

Discovered in 1936 by a British captain in Ethiopia, it wasn’t until it was cultivated in Panama that it gained its legendary status.

Best Brewing Methods

To preserve its delicate flavors, Panama Geisha is best brewed using simple methods like the French press or pour-over.

These methods allow the nuanced flavors to shine through without being overshadowed by more robust brewing techniques.

The coffee’s intricate flavor profile is best appreciated when brewed with care and attention to detail.

Rarity and Availability

Despite its growing popularity, Panama Geisha remains rare.

Its high cost and limited availability mean it is not commonly found in typical café settings.

The beans’ disease resistance and unique growing conditions contribute to its exclusivity.

4. Jamaican Blue Mountain

Growing Conditions: High Elevation in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, which are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean, reaching up to 2,256 meters (7,402 feet).

Introduced to Jamaica in 1728, this coffee variety, known as Typica, originally came from southwestern Ethiopia.

The climate in the Blue Mountains is cool and misty with high rainfall, creating ideal conditions for coffee cultivation.

Coffee grown between 910 meters (3,000 feet) and 1,700 meters (5,500 feet) is labeled as Jamaica Blue Mountain.

Those grown at different elevations are categorized as Jamaica High Mountain or Jamaica Supreme.

Flavor Profile: Mild, Floral, and Nutty with Sweet Herbs

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is renowned for its mild flavor and lack of bitterness.

The coffee offers a delicate balance of floral and nutty notes, complemented by sweet herbs.

This unique flavor profile makes it one of the most sought-after and expensive coffees in the world.

Over 80% of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is exported to Japan, where it is highly cherished.

It also serves as the flavor base for Tia Maria coffee liqueur.

Certification and Recognition

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is protected by a globally recognized certification mark.

Only coffee certified by the Jamaica Commodities Regulatory Authority can be labeled as Jamaican Blue Mountain.

This certification mark is registered with the USPTO, the European Union, and the UK.

The coffee is graded based on size and defects, with three grades: Number 1, Number 2, and Number 3.

Peaberry beans, a smaller type shaped like a rugby ball, are also part of the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee variety.

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee extends beyond its taste.

January 9th is celebrated as Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Day, particularly in Japan.

Additionally, the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Festival is an annual event that showcases coffee products, vendors, and performances, celebrating the rich heritage and exceptional quality of this coffee.

5. Hawaiian Kona

Growing Region: Volcanic Slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai

Hawaiian Kona coffee is cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of Hawaii’s Big Island.

These regions provide the ideal growing conditions for coffee. Sunny mornings, afternoon clouds or rain, and mild nights create a perfect environment.

The mineral-rich volcanic soil further enhances the quality of the beans.

Only coffee grown in the Kona Districts can be labeled as “Kona,” ensuring its exclusivity and authenticity.

Flavor Profile: Delicate Sweetness and Low Acidity

Kona coffee is known for its delicate sweetness and low acidity.

The flavor is smooth and balanced, making it highly desirable.

This coffee has a rich history, brought to Kona in 1828 by Reverend Samuel Ruggles.

Henry Nicholas Greenwell established Kona Coffee as a recognized brand in the 19th century.

Today, most Kona coffee farms are family-operated and average less than 5 acres.

There are about 800 Kona coffee farms, producing some of the world’s most expensive coffee.

Cultivation and Challenges

The Kona Coffee Belt ranges from 500 to 3,200 feet above sea level on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa mountains.

Kona coffee blooms in February and March, with harvests from August to January.

The beans are classified into grades based on type and quality, such as ‘Kona Extra Fancy’ and ‘Peaberry Number 1.’

However, Kona blends typically contain only 10% Kona coffee mixed with cheaper imported beans, which can mislead consumers about the quality and authenticity.

Pests and Legal Issues

Kona coffee has faced several challenges over the years.

In 2001, resistant rootstock from Coffea liberica was introduced to combat root-knot nematode infestations.

More recently, the coffee berry borer, a harmful beetle, was discovered in Kona plantations in 2010, leading to quarantine measures.

Coffee leaf rust, another significant threat, has been present since 2021.

Additionally, Kona coffee farmers filed a class action lawsuit in 2019 against retailers for falsely marketing non-Kona coffee as Kona, highlighting the ongoing battle to protect this prestigious coffee’s reputation.

6. Guatemalan El Injerto Bourbon

Growing Region: Antigua Valley, Guatemala

Guatemalan El Injerto Bourbon is a prestigious coffee from one of the world’s top coffee farms, Finca El Injerto.

Located in La Libertad, Huehuetenango, the farm is situated at an altitude of 1,800 to 1,900 meters.

The region’s high altitude and unique microclimate contribute to the exceptional quality of the coffee.

Flavor Profile: Nuttiness with Caramel and Citrus Notes

El Injerto Bourbon offers a rich and complex flavor profile.

The coffee has natural sweetness, with notes of dried fruits, tangerine, brown sugar, pralines, and milk chocolate.

It also features refined acidity and a pleasant nuttiness, making it a favorite among coffee connoisseurs.

Award-Winning Excellence

Finca El Injerto has a remarkable reputation in the coffee world.

It has won 1st place in the Cup of Excellence seven times and reached the finals 13 times, more than any other producer.

This consistent success underscores the farm’s dedication to producing high-quality coffee.

The farm is managed by the third and fourth generations of the Aguirre family, who maintain a strong focus on excellence and innovation.

Sustainability and Certifications

El Injerto is not only known for its quality but also for its commitment to sustainability.

The farm is Rainforest Alliance Certified and was the first coffee estate in Guatemala to be certified as Carbon Neutral.

The Aguirre family implements various sustainability initiatives, including reducing pollutants and herbicides, conserving water, recycling, wildlife management, reforestation, and preserving water resources.

7. Peruvian Coati

Unique Processing: Digested by Native Coatis

Peruvian Coati coffee, also known as Coati Dung Coffee or Capis Coati Coffee, is a rare and distinctive brew.

This coffee is produced using the native Peruvian coati, a raccoon-like mammal.

The coatis consume ripe coffee cherries, which undergo fermentation in their digestive systems.

Similar to the processes used for Kopi Luwak and Black Ivory coffees, the beans are collected from the coatis’ excrement.

Flavor Profile: Unique and Complex

The unique digestive process of the coati imparts a special character to the coffee beans.

The resulting coffee boasts complex flavor notes of chocolate, tropical fruit, and nuts.

It is known for its refined acidity and lack of bitterness, providing a smooth and enjoyable cup.

The coffee varietals used include Caturra, Typica, and Bourbon, some of Peru’s finest.

Production and Quality

Producing Peruvian Coati coffee is labor-intensive and involves several steps.

After the coatis expel the partially digested coffee cherries, farmers collect, sanitize, and process the beans.

This meticulous process results in one of the rarest and most expensive coffee beans, rivaling Black Ivory and Kopi Luwak in both quality and price.

At $750 per pound, it is a luxury item sought after by coffee connoisseurs.

Cultural and Ethical Considerations

Peruvian Coati coffee has gained global popularity, especially among those seeking unique and exotic coffee experiences.

However, it also raises ethical concerns.

Critics point out that coatis are often confined to small pens to facilitate the collection of their excrement.

This treatment raises questions about the welfare of the animals involved in the production process.

Market and Availability

Despite its ethical concerns, Peruvian Coati coffee remains a luxury item.

It is typically sold in specialty coffee shops, particularly in the Cusco region of Peru, near Pisac, where coatis are native.

Prices can vary depending on quality and location.

This coffee’s rarity and the labor-intensive process contribute to its premium price.

8. St. Helena Bourbon

Historical Significance: Napoleon’s Favorite Coffee

St. Helena coffee is unique due to its origin from a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, situated between South America and Africa.

This premium coffee gained historical fame because Emperor Napoleon enjoyed it during his exile on the island in the early 1800s.

Known for his refined tastes, Napoleon’s preference for St. Helena coffee underscores its exceptional quality.

St. Helena coffee has a rich and storied history. It traces its origins back to Yemen, brought to the island in 1733 by the British East India Company.

The temperate climate and fertile volcanic soil of St. Helena provided an ideal environment for the Bourbon coffee plants to thrive.

Despite periods of neglect, the coffee plants continued to flourish.

Flavor Profile: Fragrant Caramel with Hints of Citrus

St. Helena Bourbon coffee offers a clean and elegant flavor profile.

It is characterized by distinct notes of caramel, berry, citrus, and stone fruits.

These flavors result from the unique terroir and careful cultivation practices on the island.

Challenges and Costs

Due to its remote location, transporting St. Helena coffee to market incurs high shipping and transportation costs.

Despite these challenges, coffee enthusiasts are willing to pay up to $400 per pound to savor this luxury brew.

Its rarity and historical significance add to its allure, making it a prized possession among coffee connoisseurs.

9. Indian Monkey Coffee

Unique Processing: Processed by Rhesus Monkeys

Indian Monkey Coffee is a rare type of coffee that originates from India and Taiwan.

The beans are chewed and spat out by monkeys, specifically rhesus monkeys in India and Formosan rock macaques in Taiwan.

This unusual process starts with the monkeys selecting the ripest, sweetest coffee cherries, chewing them, and then spitting out the seeds.

These chewed seeds are collected, rinsed, washed, processed, and dried before being roasted.

Flavor Profile: Distinct and Exotic

The coffee is known for its sweet, complex taste, featuring notes of chocolate, citrus, nuts, and vanilla.

The dry beans often have tooth marks from the monkeys and appear gray instead of green.

This coffee is typically found in light to medium roasts, which help to preserve its delicate flavor nuances.

Cost and Availability

Monkey Coffee is expensive and hard to find, retailing for several hundred dollars per pound and costing around $10 per cup.

It is also known as monkey parchment coffee or monkey poop coffee, though “monkey spit coffee” is more accurate.

The rarity of this coffee is partly due to its labor-intensive production process and the limited availability, with some producers having less than 100 pounds available per year.

10. Liberica Coffee

Primary Region: Southeast Asia

Liberica coffee is one of the rarest coffee types, making up just 1.5% of global coffee production.

Nearly all Liberica coffee is produced in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

This coffee originated in Liberia and was introduced to Southeast Asia by European colonists in the late 19th century.

Unique Characteristics

Liberica coffee beans are significantly larger than other coffee beans and have a unique teardrop shape.

The plants themselves can grow up to 20 feet tall, in contrast to the 10-15 feet typical of Arabica and Robusta plants.

Liberica is also known for its disease and pest-resistant properties, similar to Robusta, making it a resilient choice for coffee cultivation.

Flavor Profile: Smoky and Woody with Bold Floral Notes

Liberica coffee offers a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from other coffee types.

It has a sweet, fruity, and floral flavor, which can be more pronounced with natural processing methods.

Additionally, Liberica is known for its smoky, woody, and vegetal notes, especially when the beans are darkly roasted.

Caffeine Content and Availability

Liberica coffee has about 25% less caffeine than Arabica, with 1.23g of caffeine per 100g of coffee beans compared to 1.61g in Arabica.

This makes Liberica a milder option in terms of caffeine content.

Due to its rarity outside of Southeast Asia, Liberica coffee can be expensive, often costing roughly twice as much as specialty Arabica coffee.

Cultural and Agricultural Importance

In the Philippines and Malaysia, Liberica coffee is the most commonly grown type, making up over 70% and 90% of all coffee produced in these countries, respectively.

The coffee’s potential for better flavor development and resilience makes it important for future coffee cultivation, especially in the context of climate change.

Ultra-Rare Varieties Of Coffee Beans (Bonus)

1. Sierra Leone Highland Coffee (Coffea Stenophylla)

Sierra Leone Highland Coffee, scientifically known as Coffea stenophylla, originates from West Africa.

Unlike other coffee varieties, it is not commercially cultivated due to its low yield and small berries.

The plant, which can grow as a shrub or tree, reaches up to 20 feet in height.

One of its notable characteristics is its resistance to common coffee diseases, making it a potentially valuable addition to the global coffee stock.

Flavor Profile: Mild and Clean

Coffea stenophylla offers a flavor comparable to Coffea arabica.

It is described as complex and naturally sweet, with medium-high acidity and fruity notes.

The flavor is mild and clean, making it a desirable option for coffee enthusiasts.

Unlike the red berries of Coffea arabica, the ripe berries of Coffea stenophylla are dark purple.

Unique Characteristics and History

The specific epithet “stenophylla” means “narrow-leaved” in Greek, reflecting the plant’s appearance.

Discovered by Swedish botanist Adam Afzelius in the 18th century, it was first published by Scottish botanist George Don.

In 1894, a sample was cultivated at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew and later fruited in Trinidad in 1898.

Coffea stenophylla is also heat-tolerant and performs well at low elevations, around 150 meters.

Current Research and Conservation

Research is ongoing to evaluate the benefits of Coffea stenophylla for commercial cultivation.

Scientists are interested in its potential to diversify global coffee stock and increase resilience to climate change and crop diseases.

The plant is considered Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation in its native range.

However, recent discoveries of wild Coffea stenophylla samples in 2019 and 2020 have led to efforts to propagate and protect this unique coffee species.

2. Eugenioides Coffee

Eugenioides coffee gained significant attention at the 2021 World Barista Championships, where it was used by three national champions, including the winner, Diego Campos.

Coffea eugenioides is distinct from the more commonly known Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta.

This rare varietal evolved in East Africa’s mountainous regions and is now commonly grown in western Colombia.

Origins and Rarity

Eugenioides is an extremely rare coffee varietal, often referred to as an abandoned species.

This coffee, along with robusta, gave rise to the arabica coffee species.

Its rarity and unique genetic background contribute to its distinct characteristics and high demand among coffee enthusiasts.

Flavor Profile: High Sweetness and Unique Notes

Eugenioides coffee is known for its high sweetness, low acidity, and smooth, silky mouthfeel.

The flavor profile is unique, featuring notes such as sesame snaps, toasted marshmallows, and lemon drops.

Its naturally lower caffeine content enhances its sweetness and reduces bitterness, making it a highly desirable coffee for those seeking a unique and pleasant taste experience.

Cultivation and Challenges

The cultivation of Eugenioides is still experimental, with limited research on optimal growing conditions.

The species is susceptible to leaf rust but shows resistance during dry periods.

Despite its challenges, the demand for Eugenioides coffee remains extremely high, resulting in premium pricing due to its limited supply.

Sourcing and Roasting

Eugenioides coffee can be sourced from specialty coffee roasters such as Onyx Coffee Lab and Gardelli Coffee.

Roasting this coffee focuses on enhancing its natural sweetness and unique flavor characteristics.

Sustainable, airtight packaging is essential for preserving the freshness and quality of Eugenioides coffee.

3. Sidra

Sidra coffee is gaining popularity in World Coffee Championship routines.

Notably, it was used by 2019 World Barista Champion Jooyeon Jeon and 2022 World Barista Champion Anthony Douglas.

Sidra is believed to originate from the Pichincha province in Ecuador.

It may have been developed at a Nestlé coffee breeding facility using Ethiopian and Bourbon varieties.

Genetic Background and Growing Regions

Sidra is genetically linked to Ethiopian heirloom varieties, known for their floral and fruity characteristics.

The coffee is primarily grown in Ecuador and Colombia, at altitudes between 1,650 and 1,800 meters above sea level.

One of the first farms to commercially grow Sidra was La Palma y El Tucán in Colombia.

The plants have thick trunks, can grow up to four meters tall, and have elongated five-petal flowers.

The cherries are densely packed and larger than those of other arabica varieties, with seeds that are longer and thinner.

Flavor Profile: Sweet and Dynamic

Sidra coffee is prized for its high cup quality, characterized by dynamic flavors and an interesting mouthfeel.

The flavor profile includes notes of ripe stone fruits like nectarine, apricot, and peach, as well as citrus notes such as orange and orange blossom, and a hint of white grape.

This high level of sweetness and complexity makes Sidra similar in cup profile to Ethiopian heirloom varieties.

The processing methods used significantly impact its flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel, with bio innovation fermentation techniques enhancing its flavor complexity.

Cultivation Challenges and Potential

Sidra requires shade to grow successfully and can produce high yields.

However, it is not resistant to coffee leaf rust and is susceptible to diseases like ceratocystis fimbriata and coffee berry disease.

Despite these challenges, Sidra’s popularity is increasing in the specialty coffee sector due to its unique flavor profile.

It produces flavors that appeal to consumers in North America and the Middle East.

4. Pink Bourbon Coffee

Pink Bourbon is a variety of Arabica coffee known for its slight pink hue and complex flavor profile.

The exact origins of Pink Bourbon are unknown, but it is believed to be native to southern Huila in Colombia.

This unique coffee was discovered by the Aromas del Sur team in 2013.

However, it first appeared in the San Adolfo area of the Acevedo municipality in Huila during the 1980s.

Resistance and Adaptability

Pink Bourbon is resistant to coffee leaf rust and is highly adaptable, making it capable of producing higher yields.

Recent research suggests that Pink Bourbon may have originated from an Ethiopian landrace variety, although this has not been scientifically verified.

Despite its resilience, growing Pink Bourbon is challenging and requires meticulous maintenance.

It must be isolated from other varieties to ensure successful cross-pollination.

Unique Characteristics

The cherries of Pink Bourbon are distinguished by their orange or salmon color, and the plants have elongated light green or yellow-green leaves.

The coffee is known for its sweet and complex flavor profile, often described as citrusy with floral, honey-like sweetness, and notes of peach, papaya, and melon.

Processing and Roasting Techniques

Specific processing methods, such as cold fermentation and anaerobic fermentation, can enhance Pink Bourbon’s unique flavors.

Roasting techniques also need to be adjusted, particularly when dealing with thermal shock processed beans, to bring out the best in Pink Bourbon’s flavors.

Growing Interest and Challenges

Interest in Pink Bourbon is growing within the specialty coffee sector.

It has the potential to become a significant variety, though scaling production remains a challenge.

The meticulous care required for cultivation and the need for isolation from other varieties add to the complexity of expanding its production.

5. Wush Wush Coffee

Wush Wush coffee is a rare, low-yield variety that was originally found in Ethiopia.

Over the past few years, it has gained significant popularity in the specialty coffee scene.

Named after the Wushwush area in southwest Ethiopia, known for its fertile highlands, this coffee variety was introduced to South America around 30 years ago and is now grown in Colombia.

Flavor Profile: Unique and Diverse

Wush Wush coffee boasts a unique cup profile with a diverse range of notes.

These include blueberries, vanilla, maple, lavender, spicy, botanical, and unripe strawberries.

The coffee’s flavor intensity and complexity have made it a favorite among specialty coffee enthusiasts.

For example, New Order Coffee in Detroit highlighted Wush Wush for its exotic coffee line, noting its candy-like intensity with flavors reminiscent of watermelon Jolly Rancher, strawberry, and floral notes.

Similarly, Onyx Coffee Lab in Arkansas praised its tropical and very sweet flavors, including date, banana, and overripe fruit.

Genetic Diversity and Adaptability

This coffee variety has over 20 genotypes, with significant variations in tree morphology.

Wush Wush is adaptable to various climates and is resilient against drought, flood, and temperature extremes.

These qualities make it a robust option for coffee cultivation in diverse environmental conditions.

Cultivation and Processing

Roasters must take special care with Wush Wush beans due to their small size and density, which can lead to sweeter and more complex flavors when roasted correctly.

Experimental processing methods are common with Wush Wush, as they aim to enhance its fruity characteristics.

These methods often bring out the coffee’s distinctive and desirable flavor profiles.

Emerging Popularity

Despite its unique sensory profile and resilience, Wush Wush is still emerging in the specialty coffee sector compared to more established varieties like Geisha.

However, its growing popularity and the increasing interest from coffee roasters and consumers suggest that Wush Wush has significant potential to become a major player in the world of specialty coffee.

6. Laurina Coffee

Laurina coffee is a naturally low-caffeine variety that stands out for its unique characteristics and flavor profile.

This coffee has approximately half the caffeine content of other Arabica varieties, making it an appealing choice for those seeking a milder caffeine kick.

Origins and Characteristics

Laurina was first discovered on Réunion Island (formerly Bourbon) in the Indian Ocean.

The variety is notable for its desirable flavor profile and distinctive physical characteristics.

Laurina coffee plants have a Christmas tree-like shape, with small leaves, densely packed branches, and pointed cherries.

The plant is a dwarf mutation of the Bourbon variety, typically growing up to 2 meters (8 feet) tall.

Cultivation and Challenges

Laurina cherries are more delicate than those of other coffee varieties and must be harvested with care.

While the plant is more resistant to drought, it is more susceptible to pests due to its low caffeine content, which acts as a natural pesticide in other coffee plants.

Laurina production began to decline towards the end of the 19th century, but efforts to revive it started in the early 2000s with significant contributions from José Yoshiaki Kawashima and the Réunion government.

Current Production and Popularity

Laurina has been grown in Brazil for around 20 years, with Daterra Coffee being a notable producer.

This rare coffee is often marketed as a natural alternative to decaf coffee due to its low caffeine content.

Laurina has gained popularity in global coffee competitions, contributing to its increasing demand.

Its flavor is bright, sweet, and delicate, with a mild body, citrus flavors, and minimal bitterness.

Final Thoughts on the World’s Rarest Coffees

The world’s rarest coffees are more than just unique flavors.

Each one carries a rich cultural significance, reflecting the heritage and stories of its origin.

From the highlands of Ethiopia to the mountains of Colombia, these coffees tell tales of history, tradition, and resilience.

Looking ahead, the rising popularity of these rare varieties signals a shift towards more sustainable and innovative coffee production.

As consumer interest grows, so do efforts to cultivate these beans responsibly.

This focus on sustainability ensures that these exceptional coffees can be enjoyed for generations to come.


What’s the rarest coffee in the world?

The rarest coffee in the world is often considered to be Black Ivory Coffee.

Produced in Thailand, it’s made from Thai Arabica beans that are consumed and excreted by elephants.

The beans undergo a unique fermentation process in the elephants’ stomachs, which is said to impart a distinct flavor.

This coffee is extremely rare due to its labor-intensive production and the small quantities produced annually.

Why is Kopi Luwak coffee so expensive?

Kopi Luwak coffee, also known as civet coffee, is one of the most expensive coffees due to its unique production process.

It is made from coffee cherries eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet.

The digestive enzymes in the civet’s stomach ferment the beans, altering their flavor profile.

This process is labor-intensive and yields a limited amount of coffee, contributing to its high price.

What is the most prestigious coffee in the world?

The most prestigious coffee is often regarded as Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.

Grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, this coffee is known for its mild flavor, lack of bitterness, and smooth body.

It has a refined and balanced profile that has garnered a reputation for exceptional quality, making it highly sought after and prestigious in the coffee world.

Why is Black Ivory coffee so expensive?

Black Ivory coffee is extremely expensive because of its unique and labor-intensive production process.

Thai elephants consume the coffee cherries, and the beans are retrieved from their excrement after passing through the digestive system.

The enzymes in the elephant’s stomach break down the proteins in the beans, reducing bitterness and creating a smooth, unique flavor.

The low yield and intricate process, combined with the need for elephant care, contribute to the high cost of Black Ivory coffee.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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