One of the most expensive green coffee ever sold at auction will be available to a select few deep-pocketed coffee lovers next month in Southern California.
Renowned roasting company Klatch Coffee has secured 11 pounds of the coffee that fetched a staggering $601 per pound at the Best of Panama auction this year. The company is roasting the coffee for a tasting experience at its Rancho Cucamonga headquarters, with tickets starting at $55 and going up to $95.
An announcement of the high-price tasting made headlines in mainstream sources such as USA Today, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, among others, none of whom have failed to drive home the “most expensive” narrative.
The coffee itself is a natural-process Geisha variety from the Cañas Verdes farm, part of the renowned Peterson-family-owned Hacienda La Esmeralda farm network in Panama. La Esmeralda has actually achieved world-record-high prices for its Geisha coffees on three occasions, elevating both the variety and the Boquete region of Panama among specialty coffee buyers in the process.
Klatch Coffee Founder and Head Roaster Mike Perry was a judge at the Best of Panama 2017 auction, where Klatch secured a small amount of the winning lot in a group of bidders led by Kew Specialty Coffee Co.
For the tasting — dubbed the “601 Experience,” a reference to the auction price paid, not the area code for central Mississippi — a $55 ticket includes 15 grams (approximately one 8-ounce cup’s worth) of the Esmeralda 601 brewed on-site or shipped, a 601 mug, a presentation from Perry about the coffee, and a postcard from the Peterson family.
The $70 “Gold” package includes all that, plus a 15-gram tasting of the Geisha Natural Altieri coffee that took second place in the Best of Panama competition. Finally, the $95 “Platinum” package includes all that, along with an additional 15-gram tasting of a Hacienda La Esmeralda washed-process Geisha — plus, the coffee will be brewed by two-time U.S. Brewers Cup Champion Todd Goldsworthy.
(editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that this coffee is no longer the most expensive single coffee ever sold at auction.)
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.
Will the 601 coffee be 200 times better then my $3.00 Panama Boquete coffee ?
What is going on here is a simple con aimed at the rich and famous who find a $55.00
cup of coffee to be nothing more then pocket change. It can’t be about flavor alone. There are many coffees that would some would consider more flavorful although flavor is too subjective to be generalized .
But this is more about good marketing. Hype, spin, and honorable intentions . Good people who are just human and see an advantage , something the media would take up in a heartbeat and make a good human interest story and be sure to mention the full names of the businesses . I admire their chutzpah.
In the short run this kind of con is not going to do much for the farmers in Panama.
The farms that this coffee came from are owned by some wealthy people who can be considered “Estate” owners. So in many ways it is following the Wine Industry model where the word “Estate” preceding the word “grown” as in Estate Grown, is another way to infer that the coffee is of special quality. But how do the actual farmers gain from this sale ? How does the industry use this auction price to create the necessary world price of just $5.00 per pound ? How does this con job price (I don’t know who is the bigger con artist in this ,the producer(Estate Owner) or the Roaster who will cover his costs with just 12 cups and profit on the other 18 cups .( 15 grams per cup =30 cups per pound)
In the long run , this attention to higher quality and the price rich people will pay with their ability to feel $50.00 is just pocket change , may help inch up the price of all coffee , but there is no proof of this , no actual studies of how this concept impacts other coffees of lesser fame but greater quality. It would be sweet to know that these Cup of Excellence auctions did impact the value of all good coffees but for now we will have to settle for hoping the Estate owners share some of this windfall with those who work hard on the farm as laborers in the field for the Estate.
Stay tuned, we may be surprised by the statement coming from the Panama Estate that says, “all of the windfall gains from this sale will be used to build a modern Health center in the village where the coffee was grown. We might even hear from the Roaster that their gains will be sent as cash to help the people of Puerto Rico rebuild their small coffee industry. If more then the spectacular PR can be gained from this , I am sure the principles involved in this promotion will follow their best instincts to make this moment more then just about money and the value of “rare”.