Imagine a beverage that sells for $3,500 for 250 grams and is so exclusive that aficionados fight over 10 grams — enough for a small cup — despite the fact that lower-quality varieties are so inexpensive that billions of cups are consumed daily.
Hacienda Esmeralda Elida Geisha ASD Natural coffee from Panama is a favorite among aficionados of high-quality specialty coffees in Asia, particularly Japan, where high-quality varieties account for 10% of the market, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan. In 2021, the Japanese coffee market was the third largest in the world, behind the United States and Germany, with annual revenues of $3 billion and per capita consumption of 2 kilograms.
When it comes to highly sought-after brews, Tokyo is widely recognized as the coffee capital of Asia. At the specialty coffee shop Glitch in the Jimbocho district, for instance, a cup of El Salvador Ahuachapan El Carmen costs 1,200 yen ($8.66). Eiichi Kunitomo opened Koffee Mameya Kakeru in Monzen-nakacho; it offers a coffee-tasting menu beginning at 2,500 yen and coffee by the cup beginning at 450 yen.
Fresh Ethiopian Worka Sakaro “Ripened Cherry” beans with peach and lemon candy notes are sold for 1,134 yen per 100 grams on the website of Onibus Coffee, a major proponent of modern coffee culture in Japan since its founding in 2012.
Hacienda Esmeralda Elida Geisha ASD Natural meets all of the Specialty Coffee Association’s requirements for the highest coffee grades. Beans grown in fields surrounded by volcanic mountains at 1,900 meters in the Boquote region of Panama and sold for $1,029 per pound at auction in 2019 set a record price (453.6 grams).