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At $7 a Cup, This Starbucks Joe is Black Gold

Ben Popken, NBCNews.com

Fancy a $7 cup of Starbucks? In this day of skyrocketing gas, grain and food prices, only a select few do. But that's the price for a special rare brew Starbucks is serving up in just a few locations.

If you want to sip this black elixir, you'll have to ask for "Costa Rica Finca Palmilera," and fork over $40 for a half-pound. Also, you'll need to live in Seattle or Portland. Only 48 stores in the country have the beans, and 46 of them are in one of these two cities.

It's not just any Starbucks there that have them, either. Only locations boasting the $11,000 "Clover" coffee machine are worthy to brew the beans.

The coffee doesn't have to be made in the Clover, though. It's also available as a pour-over. Starbucks said Wednesday there's a very good reason for the premium price on this "exotic" blend from a rare "Geisha varietal" line, which comes from an ancient line of plants that traces its lineage back to Ethiopia. They didn't make very much of it.

It's simple supply and demand, created for demanding coffee fans in two of the nation's most coffee-centric cities.

The coffee "only grows at extremely high altitudes, and because of the tree's low yield allows for more of the soil's nutrients to reach each cherry, intensifying the coffee's vibrant flavors," said the Starbucks spokesperson. "A trained nose and palate might pick up delicate floral aromas, flavors of white peach and pineapple, and a juicy herbal complexity in this coffee."

In addition, all the beans came from just 3 hectares out of a single 90 hectare estate, yielding a tiny amount, a mere 3,800 pounds.

Starbucks basic tall Blonde coffee, produced in bulk, sells for $1.50 a cup.

"Costa Rica Finca Palmilera" is part of the Starbucks "Reserve" line of coffees, previously known as their "Black Apron" line, where the company hunts down rare and flavorful beans in origin countries and makes them available at just a few stores for a brief period of time.

"The Starbucks Reserve line of coffees allows us to offer our customers the opportunity to try rare, unique, exquisite coffees that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience," said Starbucks. That is, as long as they are ready to pay a higher price.

For instance, the amaica Blue Mountain coffee, when available, goes for $4.50 for a tall brewed cup. Other brews in the Reserve line go for $2.95-$6.00 for a tall cup.

That said, even for a Reserve cup, "It is the highest price we've ever had," a Starbucks spokesperson told TODAY. "It raises the bar."