People like LaForge don’t want altitude information on their coffee because they prefer 1700m coffee to 1400m coffee. Instead, Intelligentsia is supplying something much more important and valuable: a unique narrative. It’s the same thing that’s going on in the wine world….
I agree that the “story” or our understanding of something (e.g., whether it’s $100 or $10) can affect our perception of the hedonic experience. But sometimes coffee just tastes better. So the first time I had a Stumptown roast I was blown away, without knowing anything of the roaster’s history or reputation (it has a good reputation). I wasn’t even much of a coffee snob then (and really, I’m not much now). Though I think that the narrative of civet coffee might make me avoid it, even I if accept that objectively it has a better taste.
Note: Naturally Felix takes wine as an analog. But I think the ‘narrative’ is a much bigger deal in that case because people have far less objective discernment when it comes to wine.