SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area based coffee company has introduced a new type of limited-harvest variety of bean that is selling for $15 per cup and a whopping $140 per pound.
Founded by partners Booke McDonnell and Helen Russell in 1995 when the pair started roasting coffee in a Marin County garage over 20 years ago, Equator Coffees and Teas is a boutique roasting company that also runs three cafés in Mill Valley and San Francisco.
Their pricey Finca Sophia bean grown at Equator’s high-altitude Panamanian farm of the same name is harvested from exotic Gesha plants that only produce a limited amount of coffee. With green unroasted beans from the fragile plant selling for as much as $170 per pound on the worldwide roasters market, perhaps the high price-tag isn’t so surprising.
This inaugural harvest of beans came from plants that took eight years to produce this first crop of less than 200 pounds. The company is selling cups of Finca Sophia coffee in its cafés for $15 each.
On the Equator website, the pre-sale of beans from Lot 1 and Lot 3 (which were picked at two different times during the harvest) completely sold out. Four ounce packages of the Lot 1 beans are still available for $35 on the site, meaning that a full pound of the rare coffee will set you back $140.
Coffee fans who want to try beans from the Gesha plant for a slightly more economical price can get an eight ounce package of Panama El Burro Gesha for only $49.50.