$18 Joe: How America's Most Expensive Cup of Coffee Is Made
Industry City, the recently hip, converted shipping terminal in South Brooklyn, has developed one of the boroughs more unexpected draws for eaters and drinkers. And nestled amongst the food stalls and shops is Extraction Lab—a café that takes every step of its coffee brewing very seriously, and also happens to brew the most expensive coffee in the United States. A single cup will set you back $18 for 12 ounces.
Extraction Lab does use some pricey and modern equipment to brew its coffee—their Steampunk machines (actual name) are high tech brewers that automate coffee making with extreme precision down to the second, degree and gram. But it’s the coffee itself that results in the high prices. The $18 cup is sourced from Ethiopia’s Gesha region, home to some of the world’s most sought after beans. And it comes from Ninety Plus, a coffee producer that operates a bit differently than many other companies—even high end ones.
To better care for the land, they only plant 1/10 as much to avoid overcrowding it. They also pay their farmers 10 times the normal rate for beans (the average price is $2.50 for a 30 pound can, Ninety Plus pays $25). Whether all that is worth the price tag is a decision you’ll have to make, but we’ve had it and we can safely say it’s a damn fine cup of coffee.