At the Collingwood district’s wildly innovative Proud Mary Coffee Roasters, owner Nolan Hirte has collaborated with Virmax to bring a very special sort of cupping to the WBC crowds invading Melbourne for MICE, featuring the rare coffee variety HR61. This coffee is believed to grow exclusively at the renowned coffee gardens of Haciena El Roble in Colombia, and Proud Mary is the first roaster in the world to commercial roast and offer it.

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We’re well-versed in the astonishing work being done out at El Roble due to our presence at #Slurparama, the inaugural Cupping Extravaganza event in 2011 that brought together expert cuppers from around the world to taste their way through the El Roble’s unique and rare garden varietals. The story of how this experimental garden came to be is a fascinating one – please click here for more detailed information – but long have many leading coffee buyers dreamed of being able to offer microlots of these rare and exotic coffees. It appears as though Proud Mary has actually done it first, and with HR61, the coffee whose cupping scores have garnered the highest rating of any on El Roble, consistently ranking in the low 90s by some of the best cuppers on the planet.

The entire 2013 production of HR61 – just 18kg – was acquired by Nolan Hirte for the third-most expensive price in auction history, an astonishing $130 / lb. Mr. Hirte is offering this coffee to the public at MICE in a series of exclusive cupping sessions, hosted once each day throughout the weekend for an admission price of $100. Guests will have a chance to learn about HR61 directly from the experts at Virmax, and they’ll be sent home with an 150g jar of HR61, one of the rarest commercially available coffees in the world. This event is happening on the showfloor of MICE itself, which adds a bit to the air of intrigue and rarity, doesn’t it?


Reservations are being taken via email, with 10 reserve and 5 walk-up spots available each day. Email here for reservation inquiries.Will we get to slurp it ourselves while we’re in town? Friends, who knows. Only time will tell…but that would be pretty sweet.

Photos and additional reporting for this feature by Harald Johnsen Voyle.

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