If you think the price of a fancy flat white at your favourite café is too high, you’re in for a shock when the world’s most expensive coffee lands in Hong Kong next month. It’s not just a little more expensive than usual — believe it or not, a cup of this fine brew will cost you HK$400. If you’re intrigued, coffee aficionados, read on to learn more about this record-breaking coffee, which will only be available at The Coffee Academics for a limited time.

most expensive coffee
This is what a HK$400 cup of coffee looks like.

Last month’s ‘Best of Panama’ coffee auction, organised by the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama, was one for the history books. At the auction, a 100-pound lot from Hacienda la Esmerelda fetched a record-breaking US$601 per pound, resulting in a total sale of US$60,100. The coffee in question –Panama Hacienda La Esmerelda Geisha Cañas Verdes, or Panama Geisha for short — is a naturally processed Geisha that was grown at 1,800 metres above sea level in the mountainous western region of Panama.

Of the existing 45.5kg of these history-making coffee beans, The Coffee Academics will be receiving 7kg, enough to brew approximately 300 cups of coffee for the most discerning drinkers. Those cups, each priced at HK$400, will be available from 12 October at The Coffee Academics’ Causeway Bay, Johnston Road and Taikoo Shing locations, as well as the Roastery Lab on Peel Street. Panama Geisha will be available at each location through March, but each shop is limited to just five cups of the precious brew, so don’t be surprised if it sells out long before that. Each cup of coffee will be served with a snack and a photo certificate that provides proof of drinking the world’s most expensive coffee.

If you want a more in-depth, hands-on experience with Panama Geisha, The Coffee Academics is offering two options for coffee lovers, both beginning from mid-October: The Exclusive 601 Geisha Workshop and The 601 Experience. The Exclusive 601 Geisha Workshop (HK$988) provides a lesson in proper coffee brewing and an education about the rare and exclusive Panama Geisha, plus a photo certificate. (Register here to participate.)

most expensive coffee
Panama Geisha, the world’s most expensive coffee, will be available exclusively at The Coffee Academics.

For The 601 Experience, customers must register online for a spot and choose between 15g of Esmerelda Geisha 601 for HK$488 (limited to 20 spots) and 50g of Green Esmerelda 601 — meaning they’re unroasted — for HK$988 (limited to two spots). The 601 Experience is customisable: you have the option of either meeting with one of the skilled coffee trainers at The Coffee Academics, who will brew the coffee according to your preferred method; taking the exclusive beans home to brew in the comfort of your own home; brewing your 601 with the available equipment or with your own favourite brewing device; cupping your brew with the help of an experienced cupper; or roasting your own coffee on the spot.

The Coffee Academics will also be selling two limited-edition 601 Experience kits from 12 October through 30 March, 2018. Kit A includes a wooden box with a kinto, filter, and a jar of 601 coffee beans (HK$2500, 20 sets available); Kit B includes a 601 candle, t-shirt, and jar of 601 coffee beans (HK$1000, 30 sets available). Special 601 t-shirt and coffee-grounds candles will also be sold individually through The Coffee Academics’ online shop (coming soon).

Whether or not you should spend so much money on coffee is up to you, but there’s no doubt that Panama Geisha is amongst the best — if not the best — in the world. Earning 94.1 points on a 100-point scale, Hacienda la Esmerelda’s prized batch is undoubtedly a special product. The estate has grown coffee since 1987, but it wasn’t until 1996, when they acquired a neighbouring plot of land, that they discovered the famous Geisha trees, named after the village in Ethiopia where they were first found in the 1930s. The discovery revolutionised the coffee industry, and today Hacienda la Esmerelda is known for producing premium coffee beans that consistently break price records at coffee auctions. For the biggest coffee lovers in Hong Kong, money should be no matter for a taste of this one-of-a-kind brew.

To find out more about Panama Geisha, visit The Coffee Academics 601.

Michael Alan Connelly
Head of Digital Content
A Chicagoan by birth and a New Yorker by habit, Michael has more than a decade of experience in digital publishing at leading titles in the U.S. and Asia. When he's not checking out Hong Kong's newest restaurants and bars or jet setting around the globe, you'll find him hanging out with his dog Buster and enjoying an Aperol Spritz.