Would You Pay $75 For a Cup of Coffee?


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Would You Pay $75 For a Cup of Coffee?

 

That's how much one California coffee shop is charging for rare Panamanian beans. 

Tim Nelsion

Updated May 14, 2019

How much should a cup of coffee cost? With the ongoing third wave of coffee continuing to push boundaries when it comes to both the sourcing of quality ingredients and the prices we’re willing to accept, the answer to that question has gotten harder to pin down. But for a brief moment of time at Klatch Coffee Roasters locations in California, a cup of some of the world’s finest coffee could set you back $75.

That’s the price Klatch charged for cups of coffee brewed from Elida Geisha 803, an ultra-rare and award-winning Panamanian coffee. As the number in its name suggests, these beans sold for an astounding $803 a pound at auction. According to Klatch’s website, Roastmaster and coffee buyer Mike Perry was lucky enough to be on the international jury that awarded this Kopi Luwak variety top honors, scooping up ten of only 100 pounds of Elida Geisha 803 available worldwide. No one else in the United States has any.

So what justifies the price point? Klatch notes that Geisha 803 “is a rare variety of Arabica coffee that came to Panama from a research lab in Costa rica but has its origins in Ethiopia.” In terms of taste, the expensive brew is “known for its floral, tea like and stone fruit flavors with Jasmine, Bergamot, Sugar Cane and Stone Fruit (peach or apricot).” Panamanian coffee beans like these seem to be quite coveted among connoisseurs these days, as a previous record-holder for world’s most expensive cup was also sourced from Panama.

 

At Klatch San Francisco, baritas (who’ve already trained hundreds of hours just to work there), extra care was applied to pour out the pricey cups. “I actually practiced with something completely different hoping this would go good…” one meticulously-prepared barista told ABC 7 San Francisco.

Of course, the inevitable question: is anyone actually willing to pay $75 for a cup of coffee? The answer is yes— Klatch’s first Elida Geisha 803 tasting run on May 11 sold out, according to their website. From the sound of it, there will be more to come while they still have the coffee in stock. If you’re desperate for award-winning gourmet coffee at a high price but don’t live in California, don’t worry: it seems like you might be able to get 18 grams of beans shipped out to you, if you’re lucky. The good news is that you’ve already hit their $50 free shipping threshold.

 

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Cheaper than a Behike 58. I'm sure there will be takers....

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Just daft, love a good coffee and spend lots on it but that is silly in my eyes.

However, if people can afford it, why not. I doubt there will be much resistance to it on a forum where people stock up on luxury goods to set fire to them!

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I worked in the coffee business for close to 20 years, including several working daily in a cupping lab, and got myself certified as a Q-Grader.  Needless to say I've tasted a lot of coffee, great, good, and bad.  I'll say this much - if one is ever going to spend that kind of coin on coffee, better it be something genuinely exceptional like one of those Panama Geishas than pay for the name (Jamaica Blue Mountain) or on some preposterous gimmick (like civet poop coffee).  Those Geishas are at least genuinely rare, and some of them do give you unbelievable aromas and flavors - intense fruitiness, florals, herbal and winey notes.

That said - me personally, I would never spend that on a coffee.  Just like I would never spend it on a single cigar, or spend $500 on a bottle of bourbon - and for the same reason.  There's simply too much great and unique coffee that can be had without spending ridiculous amounts like that.  But it someone wants to do it, who am I to criticize?  With those microlot Geishas at least the farmer tends to do very well when they sell for a big price, and that's certainly a good thing.

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No.  That is absurdity at its finest.  I'm all for the idea that "it's your money, spend it on what you want," but there is a clear limit.  There is enough evil in the world that I could never justify such conspicuous consumption.  If you're burning holes in your pocket that much, there are plenty of worthy causes that you would be better receptacles for your coin.

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11 hours ago, Deeg said:

I worked in the coffee business for close to 20 years, including several working daily in a cupping lab, and got myself certified as a Q-Grader.  Needless to say I've tasted a lot of coffee, great, good, and bad.  I'll say this much - if one is ever going to spend that kind of coin on coffee, better it be something genuinely exceptional like one of those Panama Geishas than pay for the name (Jamaica Blue Mountain) or on some preposterous gimmick (like civet poop coffee).  Those Geishas are at least genuinely rare, and some of them do give you unbelievable aromas and flavors - intense fruitiness, florals, herbal and winey notes.

That said - me personally, I would never spend that on a coffee.  Just like I would never spend it on a single cigar, or spend $500 on a bottle of bourbon - and for the same reason.  There's simply too much great and unique coffee that can be had without spending ridiculous amounts like that.  But it someone wants to do it, who am I to criticize?  With those microlot Geishas at least the farmer tends to do very well when they sell for a big price, and that's certainly a good thing.

Shame about Jamaica Blue Mountain, 20 years ago I would drink it all the time because of the quality flavour from the volcanic soil, and it's velvety texture.  Sadly, like most other things in this ever increasingly quick turnover marketplace, overcultivation has rendered it just another name.

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3 hours ago, Pommy Puffer said:

Shame about Jamaica Blue Mountain, 20 years ago I would drink it all the time because of the quality flavour from the volcanic soil, and it's velvety texture.  Sadly, like most other things in this ever increasingly quick turnover marketplace, overcultivation has rendered it just another name.

On my last visit to Jamaica I brought back some Blue Mountain and some High Mountain which was a third of the price of the former. The High Mountain was rich and smooth while the Blue Mountain was just.. ok.

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4 hours ago, Pommy Puffer said:

Shame about Jamaica Blue Mountain, 20 years ago I would drink it all the time because of the quality flavour from the volcanic soil, and it's velvety texture.  Sadly, like most other things in this ever increasingly quick turnover marketplace, overcultivation has rendered it just another name.

It’s complicated with JBM.  They had a series of hurricanes which really devastated coffee (and cigar) production, which JBM is still recovering from. Also, it was always a coffee that “insiders” (read: coffee snobs) looked down on.  Traders call it the perfect coffee for people who don’t like coffee, because it has an almost total lack of acidity which gives that “smooth” profile.  I like it myself (most Kona is roughly similar) but as you cup a lot your palate gravitates toward coffees with more complex, distinct flavors - peach and grape and intense floral from Geishas, intense port and red fruit from naturally processed Ethiopians, etc..

If I was to drink coffee from only one country for the rest of my life it would unquestionably be Ethiopia (the birthplace of coffee, where it has the most genetic diversity) - there’s a reason it dominates competitions time after time.   So much quality and so much variety based on terroir and processing method.  It can be pretty expensive but there are good values to be found too. 

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I’m currently in Seattle and went by the Starbucks Reserve store which happens to be the location of the first Starbucks. They roast right in store and certain ones you can see the roast date which was the last day or two. They also have some beans available that are only in 3 or 4 stores in the world. One I noticed was $80 per half pound; that’s not the one I bought but I am happy with my purchase.



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18 hours ago, Ken Gargett said:

According to Klatch’s website, Roastmaster and coffee buyer Mike Perry was lucky enough to be on the international jury that awarded this Kopi Luwak variety top honors, scooping up ten of only 100 pounds of Elida Geisha 803 available worldwide.

 

Say what now? How is this a Kopi Luwak variety?

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42 minutes ago, Fuzz said:

Say what now? How is this a Kopi Luwak variety?

Heh, I hadn't noticed that - indeed, sure doesn't sound like a Kopi Luwak to me.

Incidentally, Kopi Luwak is the one coffee you'll never catch me buying at any price.  Not only is the whole idea a gimmick and totally gross, most of it comes from farms where the civets are kept in tiny cages.  I've seen video and talked to folks who've seen this places - really horrifying stuff.

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3 hours ago, Fuzz said:

Say what now? How is this a Kopi Luwak variety?

i saw that fuzz, and wondered the same thing. made me wonder how reliable the entire thing was if that is the level of knowledge of the author. 

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9 minutes ago, Ken Gargett said:

i saw that fuzz, and wondered the same thing. made me wonder how reliable the entire thing was if that is the level of knowledge of the author. 

Clearly not very. ?

Unfortunately there’s a lot of bad info out there when it comes to specialty coffee.  I always found stuff from industry sources (Sprudge, Daily Coffee News etc.) to be a lot more reliable that what you see in the general press.

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