Cult Coffee Anybody?
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages, with millions of people consuming it every day. However, for some coffee enthusiasts, coffee is more than just a drink – it is a way of life. These individuals are passionate about discovering and enjoying the world’s most unique and high-quality coffees, often referred to as “cult coffees.”
In this article, we will explore the world of cult coffees, including what they are, what makes them special, and some of the most sought-after varieties around the world.
What are Cult Coffees?
Cult coffees are high-quality, unique, and often rare varieties of coffee that are highly sought after by coffee enthusiasts. These coffees are typically grown in specific regions, using traditional methods and with a focus on quality over quantity. As a result, they are often more expensive than mass-produced coffee and are purchased by those who are willing to pay a premium for a truly exceptional cup of coffee.
What Makes Cult Coffees Special?
There are many factors that make cult coffees special, including:
- Unique Flavor Profiles: Cult coffees are often prized for their unique and complex flavor profiles. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as the type of coffee bean used, the altitude and climate of the region in which it is grown, and the processing methods used to create the coffee.
- Limited Availability: Because they are often grown in small quantities and using traditional methods, many cult coffees are only available for a limited time each year. This makes them all the more desirable for those who want to experience something truly unique and rare.
- High-Quality: Cult coffees are typically grown using the highest-quality coffee beans, with a focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. This results in a coffee that is not only delicious but also ethically produced.
- Story and Tradition: Many cult coffees have a rich history and tradition behind them, which can add to their appeal. For example, some varieties may have been grown in the same region for generations, using techniques that have been passed down through families.
Top Cult Coffees Around the World
There are many different varieties of cult coffees around the world. Here are some of the most sought-after and unique varieties:
- Kopi Luwak: Kopi Luwak is one of the most famous and controversial cult coffees in the world. It is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted by Asian palm civets. The beans are then collected, washed, and roasted, resulting in a coffee with a unique and earthy flavor. Kopi Luwak is often referred to as “cat poop coffee,” and it is one of the most expensive coffees in the world due to its limited availability and unique processing method.
- Blue Mountain Coffee: Blue Mountain Coffee is grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica and is known for its mild flavor and lack of bitterness. It is considered one of the highest-quality coffees in the world and is highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs. The coffee is grown at high altitudes and uses traditional methods, which contributes to its unique flavor profile.
- Geisha Coffee: Geisha coffee is a variety of coffee that originated in Ethiopia and is now grown in several countries, including Panama and Costa Rica. It is known for its floral and tea-like flavors and is often sold at a premium due to its limited availability and high demand. Geisha coffee is typically grown at high altitudes and using traditional methods, which contribute to its unique flavor profile.
- Black Ivory Coffee: Black Ivory Coffee is another controversial cult coffee that is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted by elephants. The beans are collected, washed, and roasted, resulting in a coffee with a smooth and chocolatey flavor. Black Ivory Coffee is produced in small quantities and is considered one of the most expensive coffees in the world.
- Yemeni Coffee: Yemeni coffee is a variety of coffee that is grown in the highlands of Yemen and is known for its rich, complex flavor profile. Yemen has been producing coffee for centuries, and the traditional methods used to cultivate and process the beans contribute to the coffee’s unique taste. Yemeni coffee is often referred to as “mocha” coffee, as it was historically exported from the port of Mocha.
- Hawaiian Kona Coffee: Hawaiian Kona coffee is grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii and is known for its smooth, mellow flavor. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world due to its limited availability and high demand. Kona coffee is grown at high altitudes and uses traditional methods, which contributes to its unique flavor profile.
- Indonesian Sumatra Coffee: Indonesian Sumatra coffee is grown on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and is known for its full-bodied flavor and low acidity. It is often described as having notes of earthy, spicy, and herbal flavors, and it is considered one of the best coffees in the world. Sumatra coffee is typically grown using traditional methods, which contribute to its unique flavor profile.
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is grown in the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia and is known for its fruity and floral flavor profile. It is considered one of the best coffees in the world and is often described as having notes of blueberry, strawberry, and jasmine. Yirgacheffe coffee is typically grown using traditional methods and is harvested by hand, which contributes to its unique flavor profile
Cost of Cult Coffee
The cost of cult coffees can range from a few dollars to over $100 per pound. Some of the most expensive coffees are produced from rare and exotic beans, such as the Kopi Luwak, which is made from beans that have been eaten and excreted by a civet cat. The high price of these coffees is often attributed to their rarity and exclusivity, rather than their taste or quality.
Despite the high cost, cult coffees continue to be popular among coffee enthusiasts who value the unique flavor profiles and ethical sourcing practices associated with these premium coffees. Many coffee drinkers are willing to pay a premium price for a high-quality cup of coffee that is sustainably sourced and produced with care.
The Secret Societies (Cults!) of Coffee Lovers
Some of these groups are so exclusive that it is difficult to gain membership, and some require a complex initiation process. The secrecy of these societies can add to their allure, creating a sense of mystery and exclusivity that is appealing to those who consider themselves true coffee aficionados.
These secret societies are often based on shared values and beliefs, such as a commitment to sustainability, ethical sourcing, or a particular brewing method. Members may feel a sense of camaraderie and belonging with others who share their passion for coffee and may see themselves as part of a broader movement or community dedicated to celebrating and elevating the beverage.
Despite their exclusivity, these secret societies of coffee lovers are not entirely closed off to the outside world. Many of them hold public events or share their knowledge and expertise through books, websites, or social media. They may also collaborate with coffee shops or roasters to offer unique blends or experiences that are only available to members.
In the end, these secret societies of coffee lovers represent a unique aspect of coffee culture, one that celebrates the beverage not just as a drink, but as a way of life. For those who share this passion, these societies offer a way to connect with others, learn more about the beverage, and explore new and exciting aspects of coffee culture.
Examples of Societies of Coffee Lovers
While some secret societies of coffee lovers may prefer to remain truly secret, there are several that are well-known within the coffee community. Here are a few examples:
- The Cup of Excellence: This organization hosts a competition each year to find the world’s best coffees. Judges from around the world taste and score coffees, and the top-scoring coffees are auctioned off to buyers around the world. While the Cup of Excellence isn’t exactly a secret society, its members are some of the most knowledgeable and influential people in the coffee industry.
- The Espresso Mafia: This group of coffee professionals meets regularly to discuss all things espresso. They’re known for their strict standards and their dedication to the craft of espresso-making.
- The Coffee Collective: This group of Danish coffee professionals is dedicated to ethical sourcing and sustainability. They work closely with farmers and producers to ensure that their coffee is of the highest quality and that everyone involved in the supply chain is treated fairly.
- The Coffee Society: This group, based in the UK, is dedicated to exploring and celebrating the world of specialty coffee. They offer tastings, events, and workshops for their members, and they’re known for their in-depth knowledge of the coffee industry.
- The Barista Guild: This global organization is open to anyone who is passionate about coffee, but it’s particularly focused on the art and science of espresso. Members have access to a wide range of resources, including training, certification programs, and networking opportunities.