I know many of us sell whole bean coffee that can be fairly expensive $20-$100 dollars per pound. Is anyone selling drinks (espresso, brewed coffee, cappuccinos, etc.) using these high priced coffees?
Are costumers willing to pay $5-$15 dollars for a drink?
I know Ritual is doing $9.75 for a clover of Esmeralda and JavaJ has been known to serve up some $4-$6 dollar espressos when the occasion calls, but is there really a niche for the TRULY high-end, upscale, and expensive menu of drinks?
I believe it depends on where your coffee standards are in terms of daily offerings, and how you present/serve your coffee as well. If you jump from $1.50 a cup house "cornucopia" blend, to $8.00 Gesha, there will probably be a huge disconnect with your base. But if you already have SO coffees like Idido Misty Valley, Guatemala El Injerto Pacamara, Panama Carmen Estate, CoE coffees, and the like, then to go from a $3-5 cup to a $8 cup isn't that much of a stretch. Just as there is for chocolate, cheese, wine, meats, etc. there is a high end market for coffee. The base is small, but intensely loyal. Continued coffee education by having these types of coffees available is what helps to push the market, AND you need to make a clear distinction between the "ol' cup of Joe" and the truly wonderful offerings that continue to come out, and charge a price that fits.
We do SO Siphon coffee by the cup (6-7 oz) for $4.25-$5.00, and certain CoE coffees will command a higher price. It's all about communicating though taste and education. Sometimes it's a trying process, but more and more "get it" every day, and that's awesome for all.
we have weekly COE and other rare coffees as espresso for between $3.5 to $5 a shot and have for the last three years. It is an awesome way to get someone to try a expensive or odd coffee with less preceived risk. It usually blows peoples minds.
The Silver Lake Intelli consistently serves coffee for 3-7$ per 12oz cup.
If we were doing sig drinks, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the prices went up 10-15$+ per drink.
It all depends on the coffee and the execution.
I should also add, it depends on the preparation of the coffee as well.
It's easier to justify, to a customer, the higher cup price when each cup is prepared to order; whether by clover, vac pot, chemex or as an SO shot like Andy described, than to justify a 6$ cup of coffee thats been pour out of an airpot /:
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