Starbucks St. Helena Reserve Coffee has landed at the Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle. My understanding is that the Roastery will only offer 20 pounds of it beginning Monday, August 1, 2016, and the remainder will be online only. The price point makes it, by far, the most expensive Starbucks coffee ever offered to date, blowing all previous whole bean coffee price records out of the water. This coffee will retail for $10 an ounce, or $80 for a half pound bag. Imagine if you wanted to buy a whole pound, you'd spend $160.00. If you are buying this coffee at the Roastery, it is possible to ask the baristas to weigh out just a few ounces for you.
The signage at the Roastery gives the price for 2 ounces:
(Related: In 2012, Starbucks offered a unique Geisha varietal coffee that retailed for $40 a half pound bag, as reported by the Seattle PI. In March this year, Starbucks offered a Rwandan Cup of Excellence coffee at the same price point: $40 for a half pound bag.)
Spanning 47 square miles in the South Atlantic Ocean, St. Helena is a volcanic tropical island, which is barely a speck on the map. It’s located about halfway between South America and Africa. The St. Helena tourism website says that the population, known as the 'Saints' numbered about 3,800 at the end of 2012.
I recommend this website here for images of how gorgeous this remote island is.
Starbucks purchased 100 kilograms of the coffee, one-third of the farm's entire production for the year. I'm making a guess, but my estimate would be that Starbucks received about 220 pounds. Coffee loses some of its weight during the roasting process (the loss of moisture inside the bean) and so after roasting, I'm assuming that Starbucks ended up with something like a grand total of 175 pounds of coffee to sell. (A word of caution, this is just my guess.)
Starbucks describes this coffee as "delicate with subtle floral aromas leading to soft citrus and caramel notes." It's a washed-processed, low acidity coffee with a medium body. It's a versatile coffee that will pair with a wide variety of foods. (The washed-processed refers to the farmers method of processing the coffee, removing the bean from the soft outer coffee cherry.)
Starbucks first made mention of this rare coffee in this blog post here.
You can also find the coffee available online (while supplies last) here.
(The online link to this coffee is not live yet. I will update it as soon as it's available online.)