This London Café Serves a $64 Cup of Coffee in a Crystal Wine Glass
Earlier this month, young entrepreneurs Victoria and Grace Sheppard finally opened their coffee shop, Queens of Mayfair after enduring six months of pandemic-related delays. The sisters' new venture serves everything from the highest of high-end coffee and fresh-made pastries, evening charcuterie boards and cocktails, and a Laurent Perrier Champagne brunch on the weekends.
"At Queens we see an opportunity to bring local Mayfair commuters something different from the chain cafes they would be used to frequenting," Victoria said. "We want to be the middle ground between the pubs and five star hotels in Mayfair for local workers to catch up on lost socializing.” (She's not over-selling the five-star thing: Queens is less than a 10-minute walk from both The Ritz and the Four Seasons.)
Less than two weeks after their official first day, the Sheppards have already secured a partnership with Difference Coffee, which is served in more than five dozen Michelin-starred restaurants –– but Queens is the only café where you can grab a cup of the exclusive brew.
On top of that, they're also selling what they say is the most expensive cup of coffee in the United Kingdom, which goes for £50 ($64) per serving (although the shop says that the "generous portion" might be enough or two people to share). The Ethiopian beans that are part of this exclusive experience took first place in this year's Cup of Excellence competition; according to The Independent, Difference Coffee Co. was one of only two British companies that were invited to purchase the winning coffee at auction.
The winning coffee sold for $185.10 per pound, which was the highest-ever price for an Ethopian coffee. “I have been a coffee farmer for a long time, but I am just learning the value of our coffee," producer Nigusie Gemeda said. "I am so happy with the result. Never could I have imagined coffee would have sold with such price. Now I know there is a reason for coffee to be called the green gold."
Queens only has 15 servings of the Cup of Excellence beans, and the presentation alone might be worth the price tag. Archie Bland, a reporter for The Guardian, participated in the £50 coffee experience, which starts when Sabrina Pastano, the shop's head barista, hand-grinds 15 grams of beans and brews them in a glass V60 filter with 250 grams of hot water (which has been heated to exactly 201 degrees). The coffee is then poured into an elegant crystal wine glass.
How does a £50 cup of coffee taste? Pastano described it as having flavors of "blackberries, white peach, raspberries [and] apricot" with a creamy mouthfeel. CNN said it had a floral aroma with a "delicate and light" flavor. Bland was initially taken by the "mellow bouquet," before realizing that, to him, it was also a little like vegetable soup.
If that's a little too rich (or, uh, too soupy) for your tastes, Queens does have other, more reasonably priced coffees. You can get 14 of their Americanos, for example, for the cost of one Cup of Excellence.