A $15 cup of coffee generates buzz in the Bay Area

Marin County’s Equator Coffee & Teas is generating a buzz with a $15 cup of coffee. And it is selling out.

The coffee is called Finca Sophia from Panama. “Finca Sophia is a coffee farm owned by our very own Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell (the owners of Equator Coffee & Teas), along with Willem Boot of Boot Coffees, and our former Director of Coffee, David Pohl. Located in the highlands of Panama at an altitude of 2,100 meters (making it one of the highest altitude farms in Central America), Finca Sophia was founded in 2008. It is planted solely in Gesha—pairing this legendary coffee variety and the extreme altitude—with the goal to yield a one of a kind coffee.”

“It’s almost like a top-shelf whiskey, or a $40 bottle of wine compared to an $8 bottle of wine,” Equator Coffee educator Akaash Saini told NBC Bay Area. The coffee is sold in Marin County and San Francisco.

“We’re not making much money off of this at all,” Saini told SFist. “In fact, selling under 20 cups a day and running out quickly (though now with supplies for the next two weeks), Equator’s not even breaking even. That’s because, as Saini tells it, the farmers at Finca Sophia are well compensated, their medical bills and children’s education all paid for. In his words, the farmers are “coworkers” — a refreshing viewpoint in an often exploitative industry.”

SFist tasted the coffee and declared: “It was light but earthy, a bit spicy, and smelling it, you might have thought you were about to drink chai.”

In 1995, when business partners Brooke McDonnell and Helen Russell began roasting coffee in a Marin County, Calif., garage, it marked the beginning of their journey to build a high-impact coffee company focused on quality, sustainability and social responsibility, according to their website. Equator Coffee was one of the winners at this year’s Good Food Awards.

(Photo: Equator Coffee Facebook page)

Here’s a review of Equator coffee (though not the $15 a cup kind):

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