CRAZY PRICES FOR CRAZY COFFEE

A Taiwanese importer has just spent $120,000 on the Elida Geisha Green Tip Natural, a variety of coffee cultivated by the Lamastus Family Estates in Panama’s Boquete town. The coffee, auctioned by the Best of Panama, closed at USD$803 per pound. A few weeks earlier, a coffee grower from Costa Rica sold his beans at a rate 27,000 percent higher than standard arabica prices, further proving that some people spend crazy cash on their coffee.

Arguably the most notorious of the expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak hails from Indonesia. The coffee is admired by experts and reviled by the uneducated due to its collection methods – it’s picked out of poo. The beans are collected from the faeces of the civet cats who eat the coffee beans but can’t digest them properly. The digestive processes supposedly intensify the flavour, and the beans can sell for between USD$100 and $500 per pound.

In a similar vein, ‘monkey coffee’ from India also involves animal-based bean processing. Rhesus monkeys pick the ripest coffee ‘cherries’, chew them, then spit out the rest. Workers collect the spat beans and wash and dry them before selling them off to be roasted and prepared just like any other cup – the difference being most beans don’t have tooth marks in them. The enzymes in the saliva of the monkeys break down the bean, apparently imparting a faint vanilla scent. It normally retails for USD$320 a pound.