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When I walk into Starbucks and order a drink, I accept that I’m paying for more than just a beverage. Embedded in the price are the costs and economic premiums of a central location, comfy couches, and a relaxing atmosphere, and as a consumer, I’m generally satisfied with what I get for my money.

Still, every now and again the chain rolls out some new type of coffee that seems exorbitantly expensive, and this month’s new addition is a doozy, at 1,850 yen (US$18.30) for a single cup! But hold on, it’s called Geisha coffee? Well in that case, it sounds like a bargain! Time with Japan’s traditional entertainers usually isn’t anywhere near that cheap.

Actually, we’ve got some bad news for hardcore Japanophiles, but it’s also good news for coffee lovers. Geisha refers to the type of beans used, which are some of the rarest in the world.

The special beans were first found in the 1930s, growing in southwestern Kenya, in a region called Gesha, for which Geisha seems to have become an alternate spelling. Entrepreneurs took samples back to Costa Rica, and Panama later become a producer as well.

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Geisha coffee is highly prized for its jasmine-like smell, as well as the nectarine and passion fruit notes present in its flavor. The beans are notoriously difficult to cultivate, though, regularly making them some of the most expensive in the coffee market.

For its premium coffee, Starbucks is using Panama Auromar Geisha beans, two-time winner of the award for Panama’s highest-quality brew. It’ll be available for a limited time at 48 Starbucks locations in Japan, in limited quantities, starting September 17.

Given its lofty price, we’re assuming most customers who opt for the Geisha coffee will pass on getting theirs to go, instead choosing to linger inside the shop over their pricy cup of java for as long as possible. For those who do want to enjoy it at home, though, you can of course still get your coffee to go, or pick up a 250-gram (8.8-ounce) bag of Geisha beans to brew at home for 10,000 yen.

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We should also point out that neither of the two prices announced by Starbucks include Japan’s universal eight-percent sales tax. So if you do decide to splurge on Geisha coffee, you might want to bring some change along with your wad of cash.

Source: Entabe
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