Melbourne is synonymous with good coffee, but how much money are consumers willing to part with for their morning cuppa? How does $150.00 sound? Yes you read right.
According to the owners of three Melbourne cafes based in St Kilda, South Yarra and Abbotsford, that’s the price tag coffee lovers will need to pay if they wish to indulge in a certain lavish and unique blend of fresh organic coffee.
Served in glass goblets, the ‘Jose Alfredo’ coffee beans from the #227 limited batch are currently on offer at the respective cafes Monk Bodhi Dharma, Admiral Cheng Ho, and Bayano the Rebel.
The coffee is described as having “complex florals and fruits”, which includes notes of lychee, passionfruit, cognac and cocoa. Sold at auction, the beans per kilogram are worth US$5,000 (AU$7,000), which according to reports gives it the title of the most expensive coffee in the world.
And surprisingly, despite the price, the beans are already in demand. One of the owners behind the three cafes, Marwim Shaw says he sells at least one of these beverages every week, and despite the public’s dismay at the cost, he feels that the cup of joe is well worth the price tag.
“It’s an amazing experience and it’s not just coffee consumers that prefer it.
“It’s actually private and wholesale clients as well that have been showing an interest for the Jose Alfredo coffee,” says Shaw, who also sells coffees for $75.00 – a relative bargain in comparison.
For many, coffee is a morning staple, but coffee with a higher price tag is a push to change perception, with Shaw likening coffee to other products, like wine, that vary in quality and subsequently cost too.
“While the world giggles at the outlandish concept that coffee can be diverse and special like literally any other consumer product, our drive to celebrate great farmers and their work endures,” he explains.
However, not all consumers are impressed by the high-cost coffee beverage, arguing that a simple pleasure like coffee should not be commercialised in such a manner.
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Ellen Tsegrenis, a coffee lover herself who used to be a barista, told Neos Kosmos.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my coffee, but I would never spend this amount of money on coffee beans – firstly out of principal, and secondly I am not convinced that any coffee is worthy of $150.00. What is this coffee made of, gold?”
Other consumers say they would consider giving it a go, but only on a once-off basis.
“As an avid coffee drinker, I always aspire to have a higher coffee experience, not dissimilar to wine connoisseurs. I guess if it represents the epitome of coffee, then maybe a once-off experience would not be out of the question, but certainly financially it would not be a viable regular proposition,” says Christos Afantenos.
But Eleni and her husband Yanni, who were previously involved in the coffee business think it’s just “another marketing trick”.
“Expensive novelty coffees are a waste of time for the vast majority of drinkers and the extra cost usually reflects not the level of quality and taste, but simply rarity or labour costs and marketing,” they said.
Whilst coffee connoisseurs are left to decide, how much would you be prepared to pay for one cup of coffee?