The Most Expensive Coffee You Can Buy in Portland

Coffee has been underpriced for the last 100 years, according to Sebastian Villamizar, managing partner of Futura Coffee Roasters, a local company affiliated with a coffee farm and distribution center in Colombia. The disconnect is “massive,” tracing it to the industry’s colonialist roots. Coffee insiders are quick to point out that the beverage could easily command the same prices as wine, though wine is an almost $67 billion industry in the US; coffee is about $11 billion.

In Portland, one of the most densely populated coffee cultures in the country, there are incredible roasters and cafés that consistently put out cups light-years ahead of corporate chains. Retail coffee beans are sold in 12-ounce bags, which, on the higher end, go for $20 to $30. Specialty or “competition” coffees are often sold in 100-gram canisters (about 3.5 ounces) to offset the steep prices.

The most expensive coffee in Portland is Nahun Fernandez Washed Gesha, a Panamanian strain of coffee bean varietal. Matt Lounsbury, senior vice president of Proud Mary, says they buy pretty much everything Nahun Fernandez grows on his Santa Bárbara, Honduras, farm, which has been in his family since 1970. This Gesha is washed, meaning it’s stripped of the pulpy fruit and rinsed before fermenting, making it a very pure distillation of the varietal. Proud Mary once served a Best of Panama Auction–winning Gesha coffee called Black Jaguar; cups were $150 each.

Futura’s partner farm in Colombia, La Palma y El Tucan, worked with a lab to hone a specific strain of microorganism to ferment this coffee. Villamizar recommends Sidra for both pour-over and espresso applications, because it’s a more balanced, fuller coffee than Gesha, which can be overly acidic when brewed as espresso. They call the process “bioinnovation,” where they harvested cultures from the coffee field and separated and tested them to find the most delicious strain.

Push x Pull founder Christopher Hall specializes in the “hazy IPAs of the coffee world.” With delicate but dramatically fruity flavor profiles, its coffees often prompt a (delighted) double take. This particular coffee is an example of yet another wine industry parallel: cofermented coffee, meaning beans fermented alongside other fruits. Here, Purple Caturra beans from grower Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia’s generational family farm, Finca Monteblanco, are “washed” (stripped of their pulp and rinsed), then fermented with coconut and citrus, producing a more literal take on “tasting notes.”

Read More @ PDX Monthly

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