Tasty or not — $10 is a pretty high asking price for a cup of joe.
If you’re an uncultured boor, that is.
“You should think of coffee like gemstones — coffee takes value because of its rarity,” explained Donald Schoenholt, a rock star in the coffee world and the roaster at Gillies Coffee Company, where The Pulp & The Bean’s Ethiopian longberry harar is roasted.
“This coffee only grows in this one place in the world. There’s just not a lot of coffee coming.”
One reason Ethiopian longberry mocha harar is so rare (and tasty) is the extremely high altitude at which it grows — somewhere around 6,000 feet above sea level. “In the Harar region, coffee is growing at just about as high as you can grow it,” said Schoenholt.
At higher altitudes, coffee is most flavorful because the bean develops a tighter cell structure, though it grows slower. The risk is also greater: if coffee trees experience a frost, the entire tree dies, meaning it’ll be another five years before a newly planted tree will produce fruit.
“Ethiopian longberry harar is one of the best coffees in the world,” said Schoenholt. “There’s a natural sweetness, a natural wildness to it, in the same way that a free range chicken doesn’t taste like one Frank Perdue grew. In Ethiopia, coffee is growing wild — people go out and pick it.”
See? Now $10 sounds like nothing, right?