Let's Talk About This Place in Brooklyn That's Selling an $18 Cup of Coffee

The Extraction Lab will soon start selling Panama Geisha coffee, an ultra-pricey bean varietal that has been grown in Panama since the 1960s.

Feb 9 2017, 6:00pm

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I was in Helsinki last week and, other than the wind chill, the thing that made my eyes water the most was seeing the price of a cup of coffee. On more than one occasion, I paid upwards of $6 or $7 for a morning shot of caffeine or a warm vessel to wrap my frozen fingers around. But in a move that should make us all shout "U-S-A! U-S-A!," a new Brooklyn coffee shop is serving an $18 cup of joe in a move that makes Finland's prices look almost reasonable.

The Extraction Lab is a combination showroom, education center, and cafe operated by Alpha Dominche, showcasing its cutting edge Steampunk and Sight coffee machines and serving cups of coffee and tea from more than 50 different roasters and producers. (According to The New York Times, the ultra-modern Steampunk brewing systems retail for $13,900 per pair; guests at the Extraction Lab can see eight of them in action.)

The Extraction Lab's coffees aren't the kind you could make in your own Keurig: it will brew and roast direct-trade beans from Ninety Plus, as well as a rotating list of coffees created by competitors in the annual World Brewers Cup. And although you can get a relatively inexpensive cup of coffee there (for less than $5), let's talk about this $18 concoction for a sec.

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The Lab will soon start selling Panama Geisha coffee, an ultra-pricey bean varietal that has been grown in Panama since the 1960s. It struggled in Panama's climate until some enterprising coffee grower replanted some of the languishing plants at a high altitude where it finally started to thrive. According to Panama Varietals, the bean was named the Best of Panama in 2004 and, since then, it has been a favorite of World Brewers competitors and, um, of rich coffee snobs. (Don Holly, then a vice president at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, described Panama Geisha as "the face of God in a cup.")

The Face of God isn't cheap: according to Eater, this is now the most expensive cup of coffee in America, passing the $16 cup that Blue Bottle in San Francisco started serving last year.

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Panama Geisha is not yet on the menu at The Extraction Lab, but if you have a couple of twenties burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy a varietal of Panama Geisha coffee at Costco. It's $18 there, too: Oh wait, $18 per pound.