Colombia’s most expensive coffee recently sold for $130 a pound, making it the third most expensive coffee in the world.
A Colombian company, Cafe Mesa de los Santos, received a bid of $134.28 per pound at an auction, a price unprecedented in the national coffee industry. The gourmet coffee instantly became one of the most expensive coffees in the world, after Moca of Guatemala ($500), and the Geisha of Panama ($350). An Australian roaster expert purchased the Cafe Mesa de los Santos in the form of micro batches.
Micro batch specialty coffee is a selection of the most outstanding produce due to growing conditions, handling and processing. It is purchased by premium roasters destined for consumers “who can pay up to $ 200 per pound of the finished product,” explained the spokesperson for the brand to Colombia’s El Nuevo Siglo newspaper.
Behind this unprecedented achievement is a centuries-old coffee-growing tradition. Mesa de los Santos is an organic coffee farm that lies on an estate of over 300 hectares in the Santander region. The plants grow under the shade of more than 52,000 various trees assisted by excellent thermal conditions caused by the neighboring Chicamocha Canyon. Varieties of bourbon, geisha, typical, mocha and others are grown on the farm and bought by international roasters who regularly visit the farm. The coffee typically has an exquisite aroma and a sweet, smooth, chocolate taste with a medium roast that guarantees top quality.
The President of Mesa de los Santos, Oswaldo Acevedo, found the special organic coffee through trial and error. “The process began about 20 years ago. We used 80 different varieties of seeds. Every year we conducted tests with refined palate tasters. We found out what they liked and chose six to focus on. HR61 is one of those six,” Acevedo told Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.
“The buyer bought 30 pounds. She packaged the coffee into bottles of 150 grams. She then sold for the bottles for $100 at the World Barista Championship in Melbourne. She marketed it as the “third most expensive coffee in the world” and made $500 per pound after buying it for $130. That’s the story of the HR61.”
Acevedo also explained the type of coffee that is auctioned. “The world is composed of two kinds of coffee, commodities, which are the traditional price, and the specials, which are of smaller quantities and higher prices. The specials are going through a popularity boom as people are looking for very rich coffees.
“To meet that demand there are thousands of small roasters in the world. They are looking for unique coffees to differentiate themselves from the competition. They travel from country to country searching for exotic strains. They are like gem collectors chasing the rarities.”
“In the coffee auction world there was once a ‘bomb’, called Geisha, a variety produced in the Emerald hacienda of Panama. In an auction five years ago it was sold for $350 a pound. Then there was the Moca which was auctioned by a company from Guatemala and became the most expensive coffee in the world at $500. Then came Mesa de los Santos with a bid of $130 and the world’s third most expensive coffee was born.”
Acevedo’s grandfather started the company in Zapatoca in 1870 and exported the produce to Germany. His grandfather and then his uncles followed that path and now it is his turn.
“I went to a coffee fair to learn about world trends and I saw the big looming trend of organic agriculture. We had the perfect conditions to go organic. I turned to the company and we decided to do it. In that way I’ll keep trying to produce something new, something special.”
- Mundos de Café Mesa de los Santos (Official Website)
- Australianos pagan US$134,28 por libra de café colombiano (El Nuevo Siglo)
- La historia detrás del café más caro de Colombia (El Tiempo)