Before I dive into my experience with the most expensive cup of coffee in the United States, I have a confession to make: I am not a coffee aficionado. I know, I'm from Seattle! I should be. But I'm not, though I do appreciate a good cup every now and then.
I ventured to Alpha Dominche's Extraction Lab in Sunset Park in search of the most expensive cup of coffee in the United States at $18, but, since they rotate their coffee and tea offerings each day, the priciest cup available was a $14.75, "Jeremy Zhang Geisha". Don't let this discourage you, though. If the $18 cup is anything like the one I had—which the very nice barista assured me it was - it was worth it. Still, almost $15 for a cup of coffee is definitely not cheap.
I entered the pseudo-hipster heaven and was greeted by eight "Steampunk" machines. Controlled by iPads, these machines use vacuum and steaming techniques to allow the barista to fully customize the coffee or tea. Did I mention these machines cost $13,900 for two?
I struck up a conversation with a woman that worked there about why this coffee was so damn expensive. It isn't actually the machines, I was told—the plantation producing the beans does so sustainably and humanely, and is revolutionizing methods for harvesting their coffee.
After painfully deducting a whopping $14.75 from my wallet, I watched as my coffee was brewed.
I was warned that this coffee would be especially hot since holds heat in an unusual way. It certainly was. Hot and full. A small cup for $14.75, although it took me an hour to finish.
It smelled... normal. The $2.17 cup of Dunkin' Donuts black coffee I compared it to afterward seemed similar enough, except this one ended up being about a trillion times more interesting. The taste had a special duality to it. Initially quite bitter and black coffee-esque, each sip morphed into having a subtle sweetness reminiscent of that in a cup of green tea. Incredibly multi-dimensional.
If you're someone that values experiences, I would highly suggest checking out the Extraction Lab. Forfeit a few Pumpkin Spice Lattes and spring for this instead—you won't be disappointed.