Starbucks Now Sells ‘Geisha’ Coffee for $7 a Cup

Just two weeks after Starbucks announced its $620 million, all-cash acquisition of tea retailer Teavana, the company has launched an additional menu item that reinforces its commitment to its coffee roots.

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Bloomberg via Getty Images

A customer exits a Starbucks Corp. store in New York, U.S., on April 24, 2012.

Just two weeks after Starbucks announced the $620 million, all-cash acquisition of tea retailer Teavana, the company has launched an additional menu item that reinforces its commitment to its coffee roots.

In select locations, customers who wish to indulge in a cup of joe so rare that only 450 individually numbered, half-pound bags of beans exist can do so — if they are willing to shell out $6 a cup, that is. And that’s for the tall (12-ounce) size. If patrons want a grande (16-ounce) cup, they’ll have to fork over an extra dollar. Bloomberg reported that Starbucks is marketing the coffee, called Costa Rica Tarrazú Geisha, as part of its luxury reserve line.

(MORE: Coffee: Drink More, Live Longer?)

“We have loyal reserve customers who are interested in any opportunity to try something as rare and exquisite as the Geisha varietal,” company spokesperson Lisa Passe told Bloomberg. “We are now offering more reserve coffees than ever before because of customer demand.”

‘Geisha’ coffee gets its name from the Ethiopian village where it was reportedly first developed. It is cultivated on a small farm in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica at 1,150 feet above sea level; the difficult growing conditions yield “a very small number of coffee cherries,” according to the corporation’s website.

Geisha coffee is not the first innovation the chain has tested. Early this year Starbucks premiered its Blonde Roast, a new type of coffee that took 18 months and testing more than80 different roasting combinations to develop. Although coffee drinkers throughout the nation can purchase the light variety in stores or at home, this isn’t the case for Geisha: it’s currently only available in 46 of the chain’s U.S. Northwest locations equipped with Clover brewing machines.

Consumers who live elsewhere are out of luck, at least for the time being. Bags of the coffee went up for sale on the company’s website for $40 but are already out of stock. For now, coffee enthusiasts can entertain their imaginations with details about the brew’s flavor, which Starbucks describes as including “rose petal aromas with ripe banana and subtle red current notes and silky mouth feel.” The chain also suggested drinkers enjoy a cup of Geisha with “passionfruit cheesecake and a special someone.”

MORE: Blogger Orders Most Expensive Starbucks Coffee Drink Possible

21 comments
mandosally
mandosally

@mattb5 @bradsdeals I took advantage of yesterday's "12 Days of Gifting" BOGO holiday tea, but I'll skip this one. Don't like that mug. :)

mandosally
mandosally

@mattb5 I confess that I'm a Starbucks regular, mostly because no one else around here serves coffee strong enough 4 me. Still, nope to $7.

SlantRhyme
SlantRhyme

The Geisha (or Gesha) family of coffee plants became world-famous in the mid 2000s owing to a very specific microlot of beans: The Panamanian Hacienda La Esmerelda Especial Geisha. The prices paid for this coffee, owing to its extremely high tasting scores and relative scarcity, sparked a rush of imitators planting quickly to try to capitalize on the demand for a coffee which by its nature can only be produced in extremely limited quantities. While certainly the fact that Starbuck's Geisha does not come from this specific farm's microclimate and genetic strain is in no way a guarantee the coffee will not be very high quality, the Geisha customers will be purchasing at Starbucks will not be the same Geisha the coffee world has been losing its mind over for several years.

Steve Trautvetter
Steve Trautvetter

Un Freekin Believable ! ....A Big NO ! Don't Patron Them Anyway ......Not a Coffee Drinker ...Tea at Home ! ....Can we Say ....RIPOFF ? .....

Daniel Gyovai
Daniel Gyovai

But for you guys this 7 dollar price is not that much... Imagine that in Hungary, coffees in Starbucks cost the same 5-7 dollars but the average salary is around 4-500 dollars! (If you are lucky enough to have a job, that is...)

Terri Yancy
Terri Yancy

No. I eschew starbucks and buy from local vendors unless I just happen to be in a barnes and noble. But even still, I would not pay 7 bucks for a cup of coffee. I doubt it would taste different to me than any other coffee.

Cohen Chinta
Cohen Chinta

I wouldn't but all the other hipsters would.

MeliDavies
MeliDavies

Can you imagine! Drive-thru coffee + Baileys RT @XtinaRay @MeliDavies @time ha ha you had me excited that Baileys was actually in it. #sad

Waxtil
Waxtil

@TIME No & I'm thankful I don't like coffee!

Greedalitism365
Greedalitism365

@TIME Think I will Go to Taco Bell. See what they are Charging for a TACO