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SEATTLE -- Starbucks Corp. still has inexpensive coffee options, but it also just set a record with the introduction of Costa Rica Finca Palmilera, its most expensive coffee variety yet at $7 for a Grande-size cup. The company recently debuted the new brew at 48 stores in Oregon and Washington State, according to a Yahoo! Shine report. The stores serving the brew have $13,000 "Clover" coffee machines that are used for Starbucks' special "Reserve" lines.
"[The] price is based on rarity, demand and green coffee prices," a Starbucks spokesperson told the news outlet. "This coffee is not widely available so, like an opportunity to try a wine where there is limited production, demand is high."
The high price comes from the use of Geisha beans, a rare varietal with a fruity aroma that is grown in parts of Central America, according to the report. Few farms produce the beans, which originated in Ethiopia before being imported to Costa Rica in 1953.
At a recent tasting event, Leslie Wolford, a green coffee specialist for Starbucks, listed the coffee's attributes as, "A little bit of pineapple. Herbal complexity. Super-clean. Vibrant. Sparklingness...Lush, tropical, hints of white, not yellow, peach," the Huffington Post reported.
In addition to selling cups of Finca Palmilera in stores, Starbucks offered half-pound bags of its beans online for $40 before quickly selling out.
"We have loyal Reserve customers who are interested in any opportunity to try something as rare and exquisite as the Geisha varietal," the company spokesperson told Yahoo! Shine.
While Finca Palmilera is proving to be popular with customers so far, others remain unconvinced the price is worth it. Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel recently held a taste test during which random street passersby were asked to try two cups of coffee and guess which was the premium coffee. Most testers picked one over the other, but there was a catch: both cups contained regular coffee.