Would you pay $20 for a coffee?

ELLE HUNT
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013
Don Pachi Geisha coffee
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ
DEAR DROP: David Green from Caffe L'Affare pours Don Pachi Geisha coffee. The coffee will be sold at $20 per single serve.

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We've watched the price of a cup of coffee creep from $3.50, to $4, to $5 - but $20?

Wellington's Caffe L'affare is selling one of the world's most expensive coffees at its College St cafe, but those interested in investing in the experience should get in quick: its supply is limited to just 700g, or about 30 cups.

Caffe L'affare imported two kilograms of the Don Pachi Geisha coffee from Panama via an Australian supplier.

"We can only afford to buy a certain amount of it," said brand manager Selena Hurndell.

It is rare because the Geisha cultivar yields low quantities of the bean-bearing "cherries" required for coffee production.

The cafe serves it in a glass Chemex coffeemaker - enough for about three small cups.

Ms Hurndell expected it to appeal to "coffee geeks", or those who wanted bragging rights to a $20 cup of coffee.

Caffe L'affare head roaster Kerry Murray said the Geisha was meant to be enjoyed over a 20-minute period, as it took on new flavours at different stages of the brewing process.

It was earthy, he said, with aspects of nectarines, plums and cocoa. "It's quite good."

Ms Hurndell said she "could drink it all day". "But obviously that's not really an option at $20 a cup."

The move to import niche coffee reflected the rise of the "soft brew" - made with a Chemex coffeemaker, siphon, plunger or filter machine, instead of an espresso machine - in Wellington over the past 18 months, she said.

"The general public are getting more coffee-savy, and they want to try new things. "There's a trend in coffee towards micro-lots, and rare and interesting coffee, just as there is in wine."

But it was a niche market.

"There are still those people who just want a flat white, and more power to them."

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