Last evening I was invited to the grand opening of the second Trabant location in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. In a previous post I mention that Trabant is one of my favorites. The primary reason I left my house and ventured to the new location was the speculation that they would be serving Panama Esmeralda. This bean is a Best of Panama auction winner that sold for a record $130/pound. And that is the green (unroasted) price.

When you roast coffee, you lose 15-20% of it’s weight. For darker roasts you can lose more, but you would never roast this bean dark. Once roasted this bean goes for over $200 a pound. I’ve been roasting coffee for 10 years now and I typically spend $4-$5 a pound for green coffee. Every so often I might splurge and get Puerto Rican at $9 a pound. At $17 a pound, Kona is too rich for my blood. Jamaican Blue Mountain at $35 a pound? No thanks.

At the grand opening they did a coffee cupping and served tastes of five different beans in the Clover. I had been to a Trabant cupping before. The reason I was there was to try the Panama Esmeralda. And at about 90 minutes into the event, I did.

What can I say? The legends are true. This was the best cup of coffee I have ever had. The coffee had so many unique characteristics, many unique to Central American beans as well as some qualities that I’ve only tasted in East African beans. It was amazing. Imagine a jam band of rock superstars making the best song on the best sound system. That’s a perfect cup of coffee.

Legacy Comments


I’m torn between being envious of such a rich experience and clucking my tongue at the cost!

Reminds me of the $70 steak I had when my sister got her Master’s — I thought — AMAZING STEAK — and — TOO EXPENSIVE.

Amazing steak ultimately won, and I’d do it again.

So will you add the expensive beans to your buying habits? Or is this just a special occasion thing?


I will NOT be buying expensive beans. High end beans need to made in high end machines. Although my $10 press pot makes a very good cup of coffee, I’m not going to use it for premium beans.

This is why I like the Clover. It’s an $8000 machine the coffee house can buy (and maintain). When I desire something fancy, I can go in and get a $3-$5 mug of coffee.

Note: I think I read that the Panama went for $15 a mug out of the Clover in Vancouver. Considering what some people spend on wine or single-malts, it actually isn’t unreasonable at that price (for a special occasion).


that sounds right to me mas. i didn’t think of the equipment factor in really making the beans right.

very interesting thoughts all around. thanks for sharing them.

maybe sometime we (leah and i) can get north and get a coffee-tour from you. 🙂


I’d love to give a coffee tour.