As always happens, the general media has got in a tizzy about the source of the latest ‘most expensive coffee in the world', which was put on sale this week at £50 per cup.
The world's media always gets agitated whenever they hear the name of Kopi Luwak, which is a coffee which comes out of the rear end of an Indonesian cat. The catering industry, however, has been familiar with this for years, and is going to be rather more interested in the practicalities of what roaster David Cooper of Yorkshire has achieved.
The creation of Caffe Raro, ‘the world's rarest coffee', is a joint project between Coopers, deLonghi, and the Peter Jones espresso bar and brasserie, in London's Sloane Square. All proceeds from the sale of the coffee will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Kopi Luwak comes from beans which have been eaten by the Indonesian palm civet. It digests the fruit pulp, and the bean re-appears naturally at the cat's other end; these beans are collected and roasted. (A similar process happens with monkeys in India).
Jamaica Blue Mountain is probably the world's most expensive coffee, and is known for its smoothness and lack of bitterness. Many coffee drinkers are amazed that a coffee so mild should command such a high price.
The coffee trade has been curious to know whether the blend would work.
There are two ways of blending coffees - one is to blend the green beans before the roast, and one is to roast the beans separately, because certain beans have very different roasting characteristics, and then put them together afterwards. In this case, David Cooper roasted the two coffees in 500gm batches, which is a remarkably small amount, for about 12 minutes and then post blended.
These coffees have never been blended before, and even David Cooper told Caterer and Coffee House magazines that he was intrigued to find that the result is a very rich and full-tasting espresso. "The result is very sweet and earthy bodied coffee and low acidity. It was amazingly smooth and very unique."
The result was served through the new DeLonghi premium domestic machine, Primadonna, which is sold exclusively through Peter Jones/John Lewis at £999.
The head of catering at Peter Jones and John Lewis, Joe Teixera, said that the project did a job in heightening awareness of top-quality coffee: "This is a fantastic opportunity to give our customers a premium service experience. Armed with this knowledge, and being able to buy by the pack, customers will be able to serve their own impressive after-dinner coffee."
David Cooper said that although only 60 tins of 100gm were produced for retail, he expected around £3,000 to be raised for Macmillan. "
"I personally drank £350 worth of it," he said.
By Ian Boughton