As Frank Sinatra used to swing it, “They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.” But despite the disdain many coffee snobs have for boring old Brazilian beans, a lot a this year’s Cup of Excellence coffee auction netted almost $50/lb for some of Brazil’s finest: Brazil coffee fetches record $US49.75/lb.

Me? I love a good Brazilian base for an espresso blend — made with Cup-of-Excellence-quality stuff. But the Fazenda Santa Ines crop may be a bit over the top for even me… and perhaps even for Sweet Maria’s.

UPDATE: And who bought these beans? Noneother than one of my all-time favorite cafés in North America, Caffè Artigiano in Vancouver, B.C. Co-owner, Vince Piccolo (brother of three-time Canadian barista champion, Sammy — and maker of one of the best espressos I’ve ever had), describes why he paid top dollar for such beans in today’s Globe and Mail: Five bucks for a cup of coffee? Lineup starts here