What is the difference between supermarket coffee and specialty coffee?

supermarket vs specialty coffee

You see them more and more… Small coffee roasters, each with a unique story. Specialty coffee often plays a major role for these coffee roasters.

This is because almost all artisan coffee roasters agree that specialty coffee is better than the coffee in the supermarket. But is this really so? Why?

And how did it manage to take off so quickly? In this blog we will explain to you on the basis of 4 points what the biggest difference is between most coffees in the supermarket and the coffee you get at your local specialty coffee roaster .


This is perhaps the most important! As with most foods, the degree of freshness is also very important with coffee. After roasting, the coffee slowly loses its aroma and taste.

After about six weeks, the exciting and complex is really gone, and the coffee becomes flat and boring. The coffee can even get a bit stale!

In the supermarket you never really know when the coffee is roasted. Rarely will you find a burn date on these packages. That is why it often tastes flatter and a bit boring, compared to the coffee you buy at a specialty roaster.

At most coffee roasters you can often get the coffee at home within a few days after roasting, so you can be sure that the coffee is really fresh. Did you know that freshly roasted coffee beans are simply much tastier.

Are you sure your coffee is fresh? Check the burn date on the packaging. If there is no burn date on it, then you already know enough.

burn date freshness

Quality of the coffee

In addition to freshness, quality is of course also something that you, as a coffee lover, attach great value to.

Most coffee in the supermarket is of the lowest quality in order to be able to offer the coffee for a bizarrely low price. But coffee is quite a labour-intensive product (from seed to cup of coffee), so if you do this properly and honestly, it should actually cost something!

Read also: Where does coffee come from?

Have you ever noticed that a lot of supermarket coffee is roasted very dark? Sometimes almost charred!

The commercials make you believe that the more 'very dark roast', the tastier or better the coffee. This is really the biggest fable!

The coffee is roasted so dark to disguise any low quality defects and create a monotonous, almost bitter taste.

Specialty coffee roasters buy the best green coffee beans and roast them not too dark in order to highlight the special and unique flavors of each coffee!

When you buy coffee from a specialty coffee roaster, the coffee is much more complex, exciting and flavorful. But then it is important that you don't leave this coffee in the pantry for too long :-)

Did you know that roasting coffee is one of the most difficult culinary disciplines and requires real craftsmanship and experience?

The price of specialty coffee vs supermarket coffee

Of course price is often related to quality. The price you pay in the supermarket is (usually) many times lower than specialty coffee .

Lower quality coffee can be purchased for a lower price and roasted (dark) on a large scale.

Apart from the quality obtained, you may also wonder what this does to the coffee farmers. For example, read this blog by Eline about Direct Trade .

In addition, there are more links in the process that require a lot of precision and attention. Did you know, for example, that roasting coffee is one of the most difficult culinary disciplines and requires real craftsmanship and experience?

It therefore costs more time and money anyway because smaller numbers are used because of the craft.


Where does your coffee come from? Is the environment taken into account? Do the farmers get a good price for hard work? In short, how transparent is the process for your coffee?

Specialty coffee roasters not only have an eye for excellent quality, but also pay very close attention to the impact they make with the purchase of the coffee.

Often, specialty coffee is paid at least double (and often much more) than the stock market price. At the moment, this market price is an outrageous €1.60 per kg.

Fortunately, specialty coffee roasters make the difference here and they buy the coffee more consciously.

In addition, there is (almost) direct trade, as explained in the other blog mentioned above . This contributes to more transparency about the entire chain!

Read also: Specialty coffee vs. Commercial coffee: the differences