The Biddable Bean

The fruit of an 11-hour online auction gets a roasting at Torreo Coffee

Torreo Coffee’s Eric Patrick has an addiction. It isn’t coffee he craves; it’s coffee auctions. And his customers encourage this habit, happily sipping the small-batch Central


Torreo Coffee’s Eric Patrick has an addiction. It isn’t coffee he craves; it’s coffee auctions. And his customers encourage this habit, happily sipping the small-batch Central American brews Patrick wins in online bidding wars.

On sale now: Patrick’s first auction purchase, Don Pepe Estate coffee from Panama. After sampling the beans, with their fresh fruit flavors of apple, sweet cherry, lemon and ripe plums, Patrick spent 11 hours in front of the computer in his Northeast Philly office bidding the price up to $7.50 a pound. Patrick won all 760 pounds, which he roasted medium dark to bring out the orchard aromas. Look for the beans online at torrreo.com, call Torreo at 215-333-1105, or find them at Center City’s Joe Coffee, Wayne’s Gryphon Café and area Food Source locations at prices in the mid-$20s per pound.

Up next: Nicaraguan, Honduran and El Salvadoran beans. At $17.05 per pound before roasting, the El Salvadoran brew is the most expensive ever produced in that coffee-rich country.