Anyone tasted Espresso Lab's $250 cup of coffee

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
seacliff dweller

#1: Post by seacliff dweller » Sep 11, 2019, 5:57 pm

Just got an email from Ninety Plus Coffee with title "The story behind the $10,000 coffee."
Wonder if anyone tried the coffee with taste review or not.
This story also appeared in the Daily Coffee News with title "Ninety Plus Sells World's Most Expensive Coffee for $4,535 Per Pound" - https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/09/11/ ... per-pound/
Don't even know the origin and whiter it is SO or blended.
Is this just for "publicity and bragging rights" with no substance?

baldheadracing
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by baldheadracing » Sep 11, 2019, 7:10 pm

It gets a lot of publicity.

Every January, the first bluefin tuna of the year auctioned at Tokyo's Tsukiji (now Toyosu) fish market goes for ridiculous amounts of money - $3.1mill this year. Yes, Pacific Bluefin caught in early winter around northern Japan is thought to be the best for sushi, and typically goes for 5x the price of Pacific Bluefin caught at other times of the year, but the ridiculously high price gets news and lots of publicity for the (usually) restaurant chain that bought it.

I'd be willing to bet that the coffee is a Gesha grown around Boquete, Panama.

If you feel like spending $1000/lb on roasted coffee (or $100/35g, with free shipping worldwide!), then there is always Black Ivory coffee - it's like Kopi Luwak, but in Thailand with elephants. I'm not trying it. https://blackivorycoffee.com/
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

Carmd1281

#3: Post by Carmd1281 » Sep 11, 2019, 8:54 pm

That's crazy and of course it's in Dubai.
Carm
New York, NY

seacliff dweller

#4: Post by seacliff dweller » Sep 12, 2019, 1:04 pm

baldheadracing wrote:If you feel like spending $1000/lb on roasted coffee (or $100/35g, with free shipping worldwide!), then there is always Black Ivory coffee - it's like Kopi Luwak, but in Thailand with elephants. I'm not trying it.
LOL, that is a good one and I have never heard about using elephant yet until your post.

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C-Antonio

#5: Post by C-Antonio » Sep 13, 2019, 12:45 pm

baldheadracing wrote:If you feel like spending $1000/lb on roasted coffee (or $100/35g, with free shipping worldwide!), then there is always Black Ivory coffee - it's like Kopi Luwak, but in Thailand with elephants. I'm not trying it.
Thats some expensive s..t !
“Eh sì sì sì…sembra facile (fare un buon caffè)!”

Bleu

#6: Post by Bleu » Sep 15, 2019, 4:42 am

So, if I were going to buy a pound or two, what grinder and espresso machine would I want to use? 8)

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AssafL

#7: Post by AssafL » Sep 15, 2019, 5:43 am

https://www.mensjournal.com/features/ho ... fee-beans/

So he has a Men's Journal magazine article. I guess the coffee must be pretty good.
Scraping away (slowly) at the tyranny of biases and dogma.

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luca
Team HB

#8: Post by luca » Sep 15, 2019, 7:39 am

I visited Ninety Plus Geisha Estates (NPGE) last year. It's on the slopes of Volcan Baru, the same volcano that is home to Boquete, but it's about two hours' drive west, near a town called Volcan. It's near the Auromar farm, which produced one of the top 5 coffees I have ever had. I think NPGE has 100% geisha.

NPGE has a lot of different flavour profiles, which are the result of a whole bunch of coffee processing experiments. A lot of them are quite distinctive, and anyone who tastes the range is sure to find some that they hate and some that they love. I gather that they like to be pretty secretive about their processing methods, presumably because they want to preserve their commercial advantages over other producers (though they ask their customers to share their roast profiles). I'm a little saddened that all that seems to be written about this particular coffee is the price; I haven't seen anything written anywhere about how it was processed or what it tastes like.

So, if you can cast your minds back to 2004ish, before smartphones were a thing, Hacienda la Esmeralda absolutely mopped the floor with everyone on a number of coffee cupping competitions with its famous Mario lot washed geishas. Those coffees were washed processed, impeccably clean, and overflowing with aromas of bergamot, citrus zest, stonefruit and jasmine/coffee blossom. Their aroma is the thing that really distinguishes them from other varieties.

NPGE has a classic Esmeralda style profile, and it's pretty good. They also have a profile (Stefanos Domatiotis) that's got a bit more vanilla to it, that reminded me of the 2013 Ironman washed lot from Auromar that absolutely blew me away (I remember scoring that coffee in 2013; I gave it 95.5 and was a bit concerned that my ridiculous score was ... too low). To me, these styles are incredibly distinctive and delicious coffees; when you smell them or taste them, you instantly guess what they are. In fact, I've had people over to cuppings at my house this year who are just starting on their coffee journeys, but who routinely pick good washed geishas off the dry aroma with ease.

But over the last five or so years, the market has spoken. The highest prices that we have seen for geishas at auction have not been for the above sorts. They have been for naturals. NPGE has a bunch of natural type profiles. Lot #227, which was the most expensive coffee in the world last year, was one such coffee. I bought a small amount of it from some friends who have a roastery and got some and it, too, was very distinctive - dried fig and balsamic vinegar. (If you ever get to choose from amongst NPGE's longer fruit contact geishas to try one, I quite liked the Yoshi Iwase lot; very sort of light strawberry.) It wouldn't surprise me if this lot is a #227 style. This year, at Campos' Esmeralda auction sample cupping, most of the young baristas were going gaga over the coffee that was the furthest towards this sort of style and that lot fetched the highest price. The natural processed geisha category at the Best of Panama also feels like it has had a lot more entrants over the last few years.

Now, whether or not you like geishas that have natural-ish (or whatever NPGE's proprietary thing is) processing is something of a question of taste. But, to me, these coffees taste of their processing method and the processing method speaks in words so loud that they drown out the variety and origin. It's not uncommon to read tasting notes for natural processed geishas that include bergamot and jasmine, but they don't bowl you over with the same incredible aromatic intensity that you get from the more traditional styles. To me, they also beg the question, if it's a process derived flavour ... why not apply that processing to a less expensive and less distinctive variety and process the geishas in the way that renders them the most distinctive? The answer seems to be money. And, in fairness, the buyers that buy it are probably buying a bunch of natural processed coffees from elsewhere in the world, too.

So having said all of that, I, too, am quite curious to find out what this coffee is like. It might not be a #227 style. This year, Esmeralda had a lot of different lots in its auction and I really liked some of their yeast innoculated ferments and Kenyan soak style experiments. Or maybe it's just a classic, super-aromatic washed style. Elida Estate had a washed green tip geisha last year that was an incredible bergamot, jasmine and lime powerhouse; it was like someone turned the dial to 11. All of these things are exciting developments, not so much for the coffees that are out of the realm of affordability, but for the prospects that producers might be able to apply the techniques to more affordable coffees. In this sense, I'm really glad that that we seem to be well past the era when the most expensive coffee in the world was passed through an animal.
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Espresso_Junky

#9: Post by Espresso_Junky » Sep 15, 2019, 7:45 am

I don't care what's involved in coffee... anybody willing to pay that much for any coffee has WAY more money than common sense. For that price per/lb I could buy around 650 lbs. of quality green and be set for quite awhile. Some people...

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AssafL

#10: Post by AssafL » Sep 15, 2019, 9:21 am

Luca wrote:
But, to me, these coffees taste of their processing method and the processing method speaks in words so loud that they drown out the variety and origin. It's not uncommon to read tasting notes for natural processed geishas that include bergamot and jasmine, but they don't bowl you over with the same incredible aromatic intensity that you get from the more traditional styles. To me, they also beg the question, if it's a process derived flavour ... why not apply that processing to a less expensive and less distinctive variety and process the geishas in the way that renders them the most distinctive? The answer seems to be money. And, in fairness, the buyers that buy it are probably buying a bunch of natural processed coffees from elsewhere in the world, too.
Now that is exciting. And coffee can be quite a bit closer to wines with aromas, bouquets and tertiary flavonoids. Fermentation can adds substantial notes that cannot be achieved any other way.

This can be rather bad for the farmer. If processing becomes common practice it will require investment (large scale fermentation is tricky business) and therefore be owned by the conglomerates and the collectives. The ability to microlot their produce will be limited to the high end coffee marketers...
Scraping away (slowly) at the tyranny of biases and dogma.