My fondness for good coffee, and the lengths to which I’m willing to go to indulge it, are well known. As someone who loves coffee and craves interesting things, it is only natural that I should be intrigued by stories of a rare, exotic, and obscenely expensive type of coffee bean. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to sample this coffee, but most of the people I’ve told about the experience—even confirmed coffee snobs—grimace, then raise their eyebrows in that “you’ve got to be kidding me” look. The story you’re about to read is, I assure you, true, though I myself became convinced only after extensive research and personal experience.
The Fruits of Labor
First, some background. Most coffee beans sold in North America come from plantations in tropical Central or South America. Colombia and Costa Rica, in particular, are well known for their excellent coffees. Coffee grows on plants that are commonly called “trees” (because that’s what they look like), even though they’re really a type of shrub. Coffee trees produce a sweet fruit known as a “cherry,” so called because of its red color when it ripens. Inside each cherry are two seeds, which are the coffee beans, encased in a thin covering called parchment. [Article Continues…]