On a recent Monday morning, I headed out to the Extraction Lab, which offers coffee tastings and a rotating selection of five separate roasts, in a space that is best described as zen garden-meets-Dexter's Laboratory. The walls are lined with plant-studded wooden shelves, coffee beans are stored in racks of plastic test tubes behind the register, and the bar is topped with rows of towering glass Steampunk brewers, each of which is paired with an iPad control panel. And while milk and sugar are available on a table tucked in a back corner, it seems that diluting your coffee here is about as respectable as mixing wine with seltzer at a tasting.
So... why is it so expensive?
The hardcover coffee bibles stacked on the cafe's work tables will tell you that the cost has to do with an extensive, labor-intensive sourcing and roasting process: Coffee cherries are handpicked on Panamanian farms according to ripeness (rather than harvested en masse for large-scale production) before undergoing a far more delicate roasting process than, say, the ultra-dark roasts served at Starbucks. Alpha Dominiche CEO, former Bodum executive, and international coffee connoisseur Thomas Perez, argues that $18 is not actually a particularly large sum of money when it comes to luxury products. He claims that if the process of harvesting, roasting, and brewing a perfect cup of coffee rivals the methods employed by wineries and chocolatiers, then $18 no longer seems like quite so large a number.