Lead barista Frank just returned from an epic 3-month road trip through North America, and he brings us back the incredible tale of the most expensive cup of coffee in the world.
So there I am, it's 7:30 am, and I'm lining up with the rest of the morning zombies to get our daily jumpstart. I'm in San Fransisco at the famed Blue Bottle Cafe the home of specialty coffee on the east coast of the USA. I get the front of the line and see an interesting sign; for a drip filter single origin from Yemen. Without thinking I blurt, "When the hell did they start exporting coffee from Yemen!". The locals momentarily pause, jarred by my Aussie accent, but quickly return to their morning rituals. I get to the front of the line and ask for a cup of the Yemin drip. "That'll be 16 dollars." the barista informs me. "No just cup" I reply. He just smiles back. After an awkward pause, I fiddle through my wallet and pay (almost $20AUD).
After waiting for 15 minutes, my drink was ready. What sat in front of me was 200ml of dark liquid in a beaker with an empty cup next to it. The coffee was accompanied with a spices cardamom cookie and some info about the area. I smelled, then tasted and instantly fell in love. The flavour exploded in my mouth with caramel and blueberry notes prominent. I have to admit, waking up has never tasted so good.
So how can one cup cost so much? I found out that Yemin is an active war zone and has been locked in a civil war for decades. This makes infrastructure in the country sketchy leading to poor consistency of product. Port of Mokha, the roaster and distributer take great pains to ensre a quality product and frequently visit growers and inspect suply chains to ensure this small batch goodness is perfect every time.
Unfortunately, this single origin can only be bought in Yemin and San Fransisco. Now that I'm home I can't wait to hit up the good bean for a great doppio and a free freckle.