In the 2006 Westword story "Pot of Gold," we detailed a strange expedition to the wilds of Ethiopia to find the fabled origins of the Geisha, one of the world's most celebrated and expensive coffees. Among the coffee fanatics who went along was Joseph Brodsky, co-founder, along with his brother Jake and father Herb, of the fêted Denver roaster Novo Coffee and something of a coffee-slurping wunderkind.
The expedition, plagued by poor roads, threats of lion attacks and clashing personalities, never did find the home of the Geisha, but Brodsky came away with possibly a greater treasure: A new appreciation of all the unrecognized Ethiopian coffee beans -- some likely much better than the Geisha, -- that, if marketed correctly, could help the poverty-stricken nation make a splash in the burgeoning boutique coffee scene.
That led Brodsky to found Ninety Plus Coffee, a bean-sourcing and distribution company that tracks down hidden coffee jewels the world over. One of those jewels, called Nekisse, is now generating headlines, since it's being sold in New York City's fanciest coffee shop for a jaw-dropping $12 a cup. (Eat your heart out, Geisha.)
Why the steep price? Ninety Plus Vice President Stephen Holt tells the New York Post that the unique bean's "cacophony of nuances" -- including apricot, pineapple, bergamot, kiwi and lime -- make it resemble a top-shelf glass of vino.
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Since Ninety Plus still provides beans to Novo, maybe the local roaster's retail locations at the Denver Art Museum will soon be featuring this pricey cup. If you're ready to throw down for this indulgent slurp, however, be warned: Adding half-and-half and Splenda would be downright sacrilege.