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.
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“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.”