In Crown Heights, The Pulp & The Bean coffee shop is betting residents value their morning caffeine fix — enough to shell out a whopping $10 for a cup of joe.
The coffee in question is the Ethiopian longberry harar. Yes, that Ethiopian longberry harar.
“People that know coffee know this coffee,” said owner Tony Fisher. “You drink it, and it reminds you of drinking a Chardonnay. It’s unlike any coffee I’ve ever had.”
If overpriced coffee is your thing, get there soon — it’s only available until the current 25-pound supply runs out — likely by next weekend. To ease the wallet wincing, all profits from the brew will go to the Ethiopian Children’s Fund, which provides healthcare and education for Ethiopian Children.
Highly prized for its extreme rarity, Ethiopian longberry harar grows way up in the mountains of Ethiopia’s Harar region at a staggering altitude of 6,000 feet — higher than any other coffee except for a Peruvian variety grown in the Andes mountains, the cool temperatures making for a tastier cup o’ joe. Unlike most coffee, it’s also processed “naturally” — drying in the sun over several days until the fruit flakes off the bean.
At The Pulp & The Bean, the coffee is dark roasted by the store’s supplier, the Sunset Park-based Gillies roastery, then brewed in a French press at the shop.
“This coffee really is one of the best in the world,” said Donald Schoenholt of Gillies and a lifetime laureate of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. “It has a wild taste to it, a very pungent, lingering flavor.”
Of course, the most important question is this: Is it worth it? For coffee connoisseurs, Ethiopian longberry harar certainly offers a more complex flavor profile than the average deli drip and a more subtle taste than burnt, over-roasted Starbucks concoction.
Careful tasting reveals a coffee flecked with subtle fruitiness and a pleasant chocolaty aftertaste. The average coffee drinker, though, might not be quite so impressed. To the unsophisticated tongue, it mostly resembles a super strong cup of joe.
“I thought it sounded really cool, so I thought I’d try it, but it’s really not that different from other coffees,” said Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Kristen Svorka, who had popped into the shop for a taste.
The Pulp & The Bean joins Café Grumpy — which two weeks ago introduced a $12 coffee — in what may be taking the coffee revolution just a little too far. Standing in line for Blue Bottle Coffee’s $4 Japanese slow-brewed iced coffee is one thing, but shelling out $10 for a sleepy-eyed caffeine fix borders on absurdity.
Fisher’s shop is the only place in Brooklyn serving cups, but a few stores in the borough of Kings carry the beans, including Three Guys From Brooklyn in Dyker Heights and D’Vine Taste in Park Slope.
Bottom line: if your taste buds aren’t worth the splurge, charity certainly is.
The Pulp & The Bean [809 Franklin Ave. between Lincoln Pl. and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, (347) 425-8642].