Is really expensive coffee a ripoff?

What do we mean by expensive coffee, really expensive coffee? And is it hype?

I pay somewhere between eight to twelve pounds sterling for a bag of coffee. Sometimes maybe fifteen a bag.

Expensive coffee is something very special, £10 for a bottle of 100g, twenty pound for a bag, maybe even twenty five a bag.

So what is really expensive coffee?

The topic for discussion in the first episode of Adventures in Coffee, a podcast by Caffeine Magazine.

Adventures in Coffee a collaboration between Caffeine Magazine, Jools Walker aka Lady Velo and Filter Stories Podcast. Presented by Jools Walker and Scott Bentley founder of Caffeine Magazine and produced by James Harper of Filter Stories Podcast.

A conversation with Rachel Petersen from Hacienda La Esmeralda, where Panama Geisha was discovered.

Coffee from this farm reaches record prices at auction. It is auctions which are driving up the price not hype not marketing. Japanese buyers are willing to pay high prices.

I have tasted Panama Geisha a few times. But be very wary of cheap Geisha. At a guess, Geisha is fussy about the growing conditions.

A couple of years ago I was shown by Stefanos Domatiotis coffee beans from the Geisha Panama estate of Ninety Plus,  a restored degraded cattle ranch.

Taf serves filter coffee from Ninety Plus.

Last year I was talking with a barista. He was in Japan, coffee at $10 a cup. He was invited to coffee cupping with Ninety Plus. He met the guy who ran the farm in Panama, who invited him to carry out soil samples on the farm. On leaving he was given coffee beans as a thank you. He said had he sold the beans it would have paid for his trip. On return home the beans made him very popular.

The world record for coffee beans was around $600 for a pound of beans. A few days later this was broken for beans from the Panama farm of Ninety Plus. The bid price was over $5,000 for a kilo. These prices are for green beans not roasted beans.

Panama Geisha from a Nespresso machine?

I was horrified when I saw a Nespresso machine on the bar in The Underdog. Earlier I had spotted on the shelves what looked like egg boxes for quail eggs. Try this. I was treated to Panama Geisha from a Nespresso machine. Wow, I could not believe it, from a 60 euro Nespresso machine.

The price for these Nespresso pods, 30 euros for 18 capsules.

Wush Wush, a very interesting Ethiopian variety from Colombia, best described as weird.

Jools Walker wanted to know was it worth spending seventy-five  pounds on a bag of coffee as a gift for a friend? I would most definitely say no. Spend the money instead on coffee making equipment.

Try coffee from Cartwheel Coffee. All their coffee is high Q grade, somewhere between high 80 and low 90.

Outpost Coffee had a Cup of Excellence, ten pounds for a bottle of 100g. I was treated to and it was excellent, but I baulked at the price. I changed my mind, thought I would treat a friend but when I returned had sold out.

If wish for something special, try Finca La Chispita Costa Rica or Finca El Mirador Colombia from Coffee Gems.

And yes, Kiss the Hippo.

When buying coffee, buy from a reputable coffee shop or roastery, check the roast date for freshness. You will not only obtain top quality coffee, but will be direct trade, a long term relationship with the growers who will be paid a higher price for quality, not the insulting FairTrade scam, a tiny margin above the price for commodity coffee. The FairTrade scam, not only paid a low price, no incentive to improve, thus maintaining the growers in poverty.

God in a Cup is an excellent account of the discovery of Panama Geisha.

Please do not buy kopi luwak.

Shy nocturnal forest creatures kept in battery cages and force fed coffee beans. A vile trade in animal cruelty that no one should support.

Coffee companies peddling kopi luwak should be named and shamed and driven out out of business. They reach new levels of bullshit, ‘connoisseurs’ ‘one of the world’s finest coffees’.

Coffee Bean Shop typical of the bullshit:

One of the world’s finest coffees, with one of the most interesting stories behind it! Fully certified, our Kopi Luwak coffee beans come from fully trusted farms where the Civet cats are treated with kindness and freedom.

The key word here is ‘farm’. These are wild animals, they do no live on farms.

They go on to say:

There’s been some bad press about the civet cats and how they are treated and force fed in the production of Kopi Luwak. To reassure you, I only buy my Kopi Luwak from an industry trusted friend, Joseph, who has meticulously visited each farm to confirm the animals’ welfare. We support these small, trusted farms where the Civet cats are treated with freedom and kindness. So, if you haven’t tried this, it’s an absolute must…

This is Del Boy at his finest, my mate Joseph checks the farms so you don’t have to. Isn’t that right Rodney?

Cowboys peddling Kopi Luwak should be named and shamed and driven out of businesses.

Drift no 9 Bali edition has an excellent account of the vile Kopi Luwak trade.

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