In the classic Christmas film “Elf”, there’s a memorable scene where the naïve title character, having just arrived to New York from the North Pole, sees a sign outside a nondescript diner advertising the “world’s best cup of coffee”. Taking the sign for truth, he rushes into the building and congratulates everybody on their supposed accomplishment. Later on in the film, he takes a girl to the same diner to sample what she dismisses as a “a crappy cup of coffee”. It’s a pretty hilarious scene, but one that’s particularly funny for New Yorkers, who on a daily basis see signs for businesses that offer the “world’s best” or “New York’s best”. Without a doubt, New York is one of this country’s top gastronomical destinations. Yet saying you offer the “world’s best”, “America’s best” or even “New York’s best” cup of coffee is subjective. But I recently read about something New York is able to do, and that’s offer the country’s most expensive cup of coffee.
According to Eater, the honor goes to Industry City’s new coffee and tea shop, dubbed the ever-pretentious “Extraction Lab”. They sell a cup of coffee that costs an impressive $18. To put that in perspective, a sandwich from Faicco’s Italian deli costs $12. How do they justify that? With a super high-tech machine that can brew individual cups of coffee combining elements from French press, drip and espresso. And it’s all operated on an iPad. Yet luckily, the Extraction Lab sells cups of coffee for cheaper than $18. If you’re not up for forking over too much, then you can get a cup for the relatively affordable $3.
In a city where $5 for a beer is considered low, it’s not surprising that New York can boast such a “victory”. The only competition could come from San Francisco, a city even smaller than New York where height limits on buildings put a premium on real estate. And the previous record-holder actually came from San Francisco, at $16. Yet considering the epic and ongoing feud between the East and West coast of this country, New York was not one to be outdone.
While New York can proudly call themselves the country’s most expensive coffee, they can’t yet claim the title of the world’s most expensive cup of coffee. That goes to kopi luwak, made from coffee beans that have been digested by an Indonesian civet cat. While that does not at all sound appealing, it’s extremely rare and is in high demand. A 1lb pound bag could cost up to $600, while a simple cup could cost $100 in a regular coffee shop. It’s extremely rare, but if you can’t find it in New York, you can’t find it anywhere.