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Would You Pay $20,000 For a Cup of Coffee?

Would you pay $20,000 for a pot of coffee? James Freeman did.

When the man behind San Francisco's cult favorite Blue Bottle Coffee decided to open his first café — a step way above the original kiosk — he took the plunge and purchased a $20,000 halogen-powered coffee siphon bar. The bar, which is imported from Japan, is the only one like it in the US and is really a sight to behold. In fact, it doesn't really look like a coffee maker; at first glance you might even think it's some sort of gadget from Journey to the Center of the Earth — or perhaps some weird device found on the Lost island.

However, I'm here to tell you that it is indeed a coffee maker. It uses a technique known as siphon or vacuum, where water rises from the bottom chamber to the top. We recently met up with Freeman and he and his crew gave us the lowdown on how it works. To find out just what a $20,000 coffee bar can do,


Oh and as an added bonus, I should mention that they also serve Kyoto iced coffee, which is a cold-filtered coffee — it takes eight hours to make one pot — that is also created in another retro sci-fi-styled machine. It was amazingly smooth and had a sort of whiskey or tobacco hint to it. I was actually able to drink it straight without any cream or sugar. But don't take my word for it. If you find yourself in San Francisco, make sure Blue Bottle finds its way onto your must-see list.

Blue Bottle Café — San Francisco

celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 9 years
of course... NOT
vanilla19 vanilla19 9 years
I definitely want to try that.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
LOL @ Swag. Actually, I think Swag made some good points. :)
PinkNC PinkNC 9 years
I agree mimoreno47
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 9 years
wow swag you're rude.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
Ooo, I'd love to try this!
swag1 swag1 9 years
Blue Bottle is excellent, as is their new cafe. But before we all wet our pants in excitement as if we just discovered Helium, for one, vacuum pot coffee has been around for several decades. In fact, Cafe Bello across town in SF has offered vac pot coffee for the past 4 years. For another, that $20,000 price tag is inflated with the individual costs of all the vacuum pots (each cost a few hundred a piece), training, the halogen lamps, etc. So that figure was quoted from a Times reporter who knew nothing about coffee, so the best he could do with the story was fawn over a fabricated price tag to sound partially educated about it all. And "Pay $20,000 For a Cup of Coffee?" You're as bad as the Times reporter. It's not as if the whole setup is disposable after a single serving. Now to drive home on my $20,000 tank of gas.
haze1nut haze1nut 9 years
woah. all i can say it looks visually appealing! i'm not sure if i could taste the diff. between good coffee and good 'halogen' brewed coffee but it sounds...delicious?
PrincessTracy PrincessTracy 9 years
I love me some coffee....but I'll just use the coffee maker in the kitchen.
veronicaraye veronicaraye 9 years
AmberHoney AmberHoney 9 years
Worth a trip to the city - hint to hubby.
CiaoBella2 CiaoBella2 9 years
Looks good, will have to put this place on my "where to go" list for SF.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
This coffee could make out with me, find me the perfect wardrobe, and babysit all at the same time, and still no cup of java could possibly be worth that much.
almostloli almostloli 9 years
interesting.... too bad i'm so so far away
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Say what? $20,000????
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Oh yummy, just last week my friend was raving to me about the mysterious blue bottle coffee, so I can't wait to give it a try!
Food Food 9 years
Their espresso drinks are regularly priced, the Kyoto coffee was under $4, and I believe — but could be wrong, so don't quote me on this — that the siphoned pots are $11.
Brooklynbee Brooklynbee 9 years
There was an article about this in the NY Times the other day - I thought NY had the most expensive of everything, but apparently we have only an $11,000 coffee maker. And I did just pay $20 for an awesome stovetop espresso machine.
nancita nancita 9 years
Wow, this is so cool. It does look like something out of a chemistry lab, or an old sci-fi movie imagining how coffee will be made in the future. I need to get down there asap!
emsugar emsugar 9 years
Best coffee ever. Hands down.
Community-Manager Community-Manager 9 years
I'm craving me a cup of this joe.
julko julko 9 years
so how much for a cup of coffee?
books-and-shoes books-and-shoes 9 years
kristyrk kristyrk 9 years
I heart Blue Bottle. I want a cup NOW!
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