Coffee startup Medano Coffee now holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive coffee pod, at $388 for a set of five Nespresso-compatible capsules. The ingredient in the limited edition King Jantan Black Gold blend that accounts for the hefty price tag is the 22k edible gold dust from France. Just eight sets, housed in bespoke Roger&Sons wooden boxes, were created.
To celebrate this honour and mark the launch of its premium King Jantan line, derived from the high-grade Mandheling peaberry, Medano Coffee hosted a three-course coffee-pairing high tea at Pollen, with a menu conceptualised by Executive Chef Steve Allen to match the notes in various blends.
The strong, aromatic Gayo Italia dark roast held its own against the coddled cheddar custard with braised pork and truffle; the herbal Mandheling was transformed into a fruity affogato with white chocolate and blackcurrant ripple ice cream; and the bold, bittersweet Lintong met its match in a roasted banana parfait with passionfruit mousse and hot chilli caramel chocolate sauce. (No confirmed plans at the moment, but the coffee-pairing high tea menu might be available at Pollen until March 3.)
With Indonesia as the source for its varieties and the city of Medan as its namesake, the startup wants to prove there’s plenty of quality brews in our neighbourhood. We caught up with Medano Coffee co-founder Ng Wee Hao for a chat about coffee and world records.
What did you feel was missing from the local coffee scene?
First, coffee from Asia. When we tasted coffee around the region, it was really good, and I think it’s better than counterparts in (South America), so we have good coffee beans and production in the region. Second, Christopher (Chien, Medano Coffee’s other co-founder) and I used to be in the finance industry, we were drinking coffee every day but to us coffee was just dark and a source of caffeine. We wanted to show coffee is colourful and flavourful, and do something people are happy about. Coffee is one product everyone drinks and enjoys, so it’s a lot more fulfilling.
Since gold dust doesn’t affect the taste of coffee, what was the purpose of adding it to the King Jantan blend?
It was really about the experience. We wanted a unique way to launch the premium King Jantan range, and that’s how we thought of the idea of setting a Guinness World Record, and to do that we wanted that whole rich experience together with it.
Will the King Jantan Black Gold be available beyond the eight sets that have already been sold?
This is a limited edition set. We’re still looking into partnerships, and hopefully we’ll be able to launch it in restaurants,
If this is the most expensive coffee pod, what was the previous title holder?
That’s the interesting thing, there was the most expensive coffee but no one had set the record for the most expensive coffee pod, so it was really up to us to think about how we wanted to do it. It also shows a Singaporean startup like us managed to be the first at it.
So $388 was the auspicious price point you were moving towards?
Yes, exactly! It’s also in the spirit of Chinese New Year.