Would You Pay $18 for a Cup of Coffee?

A new coffee spot in Brooklyn (where else?) is banking that some people will shell out a lot of beans for its premium brew.

Get this: A new coffee spot in Brooklyn (where else?) is banking that some people will shell out a full $18 for its premium bespoke brew.

Brooklyn Extraction Lab’s sticker-shock-inducing java is, Eater recently pointed out, the “most expensive coffee in the U.S.” It nudges into second place a $16 cup sold by a high-end San Francisco coffee purveyor, Blue Bottle, Gothamist notes. And that in turn unseated the $15 pour-over at Berkeley, California-based coffee joint Equator, which we’re sure unseated some $14 cup of coffee … somewhere.

So why is the coffee sold at Extraction Lab, located in a sleek showroom in a quickly gentrifying industrial area of Brooklyn’s diverse Sunset Park neighborhood, so dear? Well, for starters, the equipment used to brew it ain’t cheap. The Extraction Lab features a lineup of “Steampunk” machines, made by Salt Lake City-based manufacturer Alpha Dominiche — the company name translates to “first of its kind.” A pair of two Steampunk machines costs a whopping $13,900, and the Extraction Lab, at this point, has eight of them. I’ll wait while you do the math.

Baristas/engineers control Steampunk’s elaborate single-cup, full-immersion vacuum-brewing process via a special app on a tablet that allows them to precisely calibrate things like brew temperature, time, volume, filtration and agitation. The Steampunk machines, which are as theatrical as they are effective, can be used to brew both coffee and tea. For batch brewing, the Extraction Lab also uses another, larger app-controlled Alpha Dominiche machine, the Sight.

While the newly opened Extraction Lab also offers less expensive cups of coffee (most run $3 to $5), the $18 cup features ultra-pricey Panama Geisha coffee, which retails for $80 per pound and up (sometimes way up).

Alpha Dominche CEO Thomas Perez has said the Extraction Lab’s different price points are akin to something you’d find at a wine shop. “You have your $5,000 dollar bottle of wine, but it doesn’t mean everything is $5,000,” he told Gothamist.

I guess, when he puts it like that, $18 doesn’t sound quite so bad — except, you know, it’s coffee...

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Photo courtesy of @extractionlab

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