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Pricey coffee | © Courtesy of The Coffee Academics
Pricey coffee | © Courtesy of The Coffee Academics
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Hong Kong Is Now Home To The World’s Most Expensive Coffee

Picture of Matthew Keegan
Updated: 15 October 2017
Coffee aficionados will want to add Hong Kong to their list of places to visit for an exclusive opportunity to try the world’s most expensive coffee, the Esmeralda Geisha 601.

The Coffee Academics, one of Hong Kong’s leading coffee chains, is inviting visitors throughout October to taste the world’s best – and costliest – cup of coffee.

Called Esmeralda Geisha 601, it is a natural processed Geisha cultivated at 1,800 meters above sea level in the mountainous region of Boquete, western Panama, in Central America. A cup of this record-breaking coffee will cost you HK$400 (around US$50) – in other words, significantly more than your average Starbucks brew.

What justifies the high price? Last month, an auction held by the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama broke all previous price records with the sale of a 100-pound batch of the fine coffee. The coffee ended up fetching no less than US$601 per pound (a total of US$60,100 for 100 pounds).

Panama Geisha coffee from Hacienda La Esmerelda farm in Panama is the world’s most expensive
Panama Geisha coffee from Hacienda La Esmerelda farm in Panama is the world’s most expensive | Courtesy of The Coffee Academics.

Hong Kong’s Coffee Academics have got their hands on 7kg of the “Esmeralda Geisha 601”, named to reflect the auction price, which is enough to make about 300 cups of coffee. From 12 October 2017, only five cups of hand-brewed coffee will be served at each of its Hong Kong shops per day, and each cup is priced at HK$400.

The fine coffee beans will also be available in packets. 15g of roasted Esmeralda Geisha 601 will be available for HKD$488 or 50g of green Esmeralda Geisha 601 for HKD$988. The Coffee Academics recommend that you meet with one of their skilled coffee trainers to learn how best to brew or cup your 601 beans.

“We are so proud and happy to be the first to make history to bring in 7kg of this much-prized coffee into Hong Kong,” Jennifer Liu, Chair-Lady of The Coffee Academics said. “This coffee is absolutely incredible and arriving just in time for our new shop opening in Tai Koo Shing.”

The coffee’s sale of US$601 per pound, which surpassed the previous world record of US$350.25 per pound, is no doubt a result of the top-scoring batch of Hacienda La Esmeralda earning 94.1 points out of 100 in a quality test at the Best of Panama Competition in May. This has earned the coffee its higher prices for its distinctive and unrivalled cup profile.

The fine coffee beans are grown on geisha trees in Panama
The fine coffee beans are grown on geisha trees in Panama | Courtesy of The Coffee Academics.

Its producers Rachel and Daniel Peterson describe this coffee’s cupping notes as “floral, vibrant, jasmine, lychee, peach, pomarrosa, complex, bold, juicy”.

The Hacienda La Esmeralda farm, now owned by the Peterson family, has grown coffee for more than 100 years. However, it wasn’t until 1996, when the Peterson’s acquired a neighbouring plot of land, that they discovered the famous Geisha trees, named after the village in Ethiopia where they were first found in the 1930s. The discovery revolutionised the coffee industry, and today Hacienda La Esmerelda is known for producing premium coffee beans that consistently break price records at auctions.

For coffee connoisseurs in Hong Kong, an opportunity to try this rare one-of-a-kind brew will surely be worth its liquid gold price.