Coffee is a big business, but as more roasteries set up and the range of beans and ground coffees available grows, it can be hard to find something offering a truly unique coffee drinking experience.
In this article, we take a look at the coffee market’s most extreme beans, from the super-premium to the super-strong. Whether you’re looking to buy an exclusive coffee or chasing the biggest caffeine buzz of your life, we’ve got you covered.
Monkey Spit Coffee
We’re straight into the weird and wonderful variants of ‘excreted coffee’, with monkey spit coffee the least offensive to the senses. We’ll come to the truly icky coffee in a moment…
Monkey spit coffee (also known as Monkey Parchment Coffee) is exactly what it says on the tin – coffee beans are chewed by monkeys, typically Rhesus Monkeys and Macaques, until they’ve taken as much flavour from them as they can. They can’t digest the beans, so once they’ve had their fix, they simply spit them out.
These beans are then collected, washed, processed and dried, leaving them an unusual grey colour. It’s hard to believe, but during the chewing process, enzymes in a monkey’s saliva actually starts to impact the chemical composition of the beans, changing the flavour. As a result, these beans are less bitter, with sweeter vanilla and citrus notes than normal beans, which is retained by the bean even after washing and processing.
If you’re a coffee drinker who prefers a milky drink, this probably isn’t for you. It’s recommended that you drink monkey spit coffee without milk or sugar, to be able to appreciate the deep flavour profile that comes from this unique process.
Want to try it? This coffee is extremely popular in Taiwan and India, so if you’re travelling that way soon, you’re in luck. Monkey parchment coffee is quite hard to come by outside of this region, but we did find one site selling it, if you insist!
Black Ivory Coffee
We did warn you… Black Ivory Coffee has been described as the spiritual successor to Kopi Luwak, the famous civet-excreted coffee that has struggled with counterfeiting and animal abuse claims in recent years. Rather than civets, we’re talking about an altogether different end of the scale – Thai elephants.
Much like with Kopi Luwak, this type of coffee bean is mixed with various fruits and fed to elephants, before being excreted and sifted through by some extremely dedicated, and not easily put-off workers.
With bigger animals comes more…waste. So much so that for every pound of processed Black Ivory Coffee, up to 33 pounds worth of beans need to be ingested. That’s a lot of beans that get lost during the digestion process, and a lot of waste for workers to have to manually work through.
Because of this labour-intensive approach, you’re looking at some extreme prices to acquire this coffee.
1kg of Black Ivory Coffee will set you back more than £2,000, making it arguably the most expensive coffee on the market, at almost twice the price of Kopi Luwak, and almost ten times the cost of our next extreme bean. Not to worry though, it’s a lot easier to get hold of this luxury brew, with the brand selling coffee directly through their website.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
Sadly these beans don’t come with a blue tint, but they are still extremely rare. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is grown in a small mountain region of Jamaica, where the climate seems ideal for cultivating exceptional coffee beans, with coffee plantations being a fixture of the landscape here since the 1700s.
To get the benefit from this unique location, though, coffee growers have had to compromise. These coffee beans are quite literally hand-picked, with your usual coffee processing equipment not being suitable for this remote part of the Jamaican countryside.
This is one of the reasons why we consider Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee worthy of our Extreme Beans list. With cultivation and processing being done by hand, this means that the end-to-end process takes substantially longer and involves more human resource than most other coffees. Add to this the relative small nature of the plantations within this region, and you can soon understand why this coffee is hard to come by and far more expensive than your average joe.
Each year, the plantations in this region produce a paltry 400 metric tons of coffee, of which 80% is already earmarked for the Japanese and US markets. This leaves just 80 tons of coffee for both businesses and consumers in the entire rest of the world.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee can set you back almost £200 per kg, which compared with Black Ivory Coffee sounds like a steal. Especially when you take into account the fact that your coffee beans aren’t technically ‘second hand’. If you fancy grabbing a bag or two, you can do so here.
Devil Mountain Coffee Co. Black Label
So, it’s safe to assume that as a reader of this article, you like the caffeine buzz you get from a fresh cup of coffee. What would you say if we told you there’s a coffee on the market which can give you the kick of more than 10 cups of coffee in a single 12oz measure?
We couldn’t write an article on extreme beans without mentioning this ludicrously strong brand of coffee. Devil Mountain’s Black Label coffee, is far from ordinary, with a claimed caffeine content of 1500mg per 12oz cup. For context, your average cup of coffee has somewhere between 90mg and 120mg per cup.
Most coffee drinkers in the UK get through 2-3 cups a day, which is usually enough to take the edge off the morning grogginess and keep you topped up with quick release energy for an average work day. This is something altogether different. At this level of caffeine consumption, expect your heart rate to increase and for the headaches to set in. Unless, of course, you’re a hardcore coffee drinker chasing that long lost caffeine buzz, once again.
Devil Mountain Coffee Black Label can be purchased online, for those feeling particularly brave.
Hawaiian Kona Coffee
If you’ve drank Champagne or Port, or eaten Stilton cheese or Bratwurst in the past, you’ve consumed something with Protected Geographical Indication. These rules protect food and drink products with a particularly unique production process or output, and there’s one such coffee product that you may not know about – Hawaiian Kona Coffee.
Hawaii is known for being a tourist hotspot, as well as the birthplace of former President Barack Obama. But it’s also home to a unique tasting coffee bean, cultivated within the extreme topography of Hawaii, out in the middle of the world’s largest ocean. There’s no better place to grow coffee, than in the warm volcanic soil of this island paradise.
Kona Coffee regularly features in the top 5 coffee bean variants of the world, with its sweet flavour and strong floral aroma. Though still expensive for coffee, we would highly recommend trying Hawaiian Kona Coffee because of the truly unique flavour profile. There’s nowhere else in the world you’ll get the same taste – thank you to those who recognised it’s place in the world and rightfully protected it.
Go on, buy some!
If you’re a coffee lover who wants to offer the best coffee experience for your staff, speak to our team on 01865 341011, or send us an enquiry. We’ve been inspiring the workplace through food and drink for over 25 years – let’s see what we can do for you.