AUSTIN (KXAN) — Proud Mary Café in Austin on South Lamar knows what you are thinking – $150 for a cup of coffee. You cannot be serious?
Jak Ryan, who runs the global coffee program for Proud Mary – which has locations in Australia, Oregon and Austin – acknowledges the steep price tag, but said the coffee has earned it.
“It’s kind of special,” Ryan said. “It shows that coffee can be something like an expensive bottle of wine.”
The coffee, called Black Jaguar, was from a winning lot in the Best of Panama competition – a contest started in 1996 that gives Panamanian producers an opportunity to promote their harvests – and is produced by the Hartmann family, who has been growing in the region since the early 20th century. He said elevating the prices of the beans acquired from the region helps the producers get fair wages for their work as well.
Ryan said that the Black Jaguar lot had one of the highest scores since the competition began and that it tasted like “magic.”
“When you have got the best coffees in the country that grows the best coffee in the world, you know whatever hits the top of that, is going to be something insane.”
Proud Mary offered only tens of cups of this “insane” coffee across its locations. Ryan said that people were lined up to try the coffee before the café doors opened, and by the time they closed, it had sold out.
“Everyone was loving it,” he said. “I was lucky enough to have so many people who sat at the bar and drank it. I got to see them slowly work their way through that cups and have their moments of quiet with their eyes closed rolling to the back of their heads.”
Ryan feels coffee can be revered and followed just as wine can.
“There are only between 200 and 250 chemical and aromatic compounds that are available in wine. Whereas, coffee has 800 and counting. So coffee is possibly the most complex taste experience of a human being. So I definitely think there’s room for that sort of culture.”
Proud Mary may be out of the $150 coffee, but they still have at their Austin café beans grown from the same producers responsible for Black Jaguar.