Where does specialty coffee come from?

Where does specialty coffee come from?

Specialty coffee , a term often used but not always understood. "Where does specialty coffee actually come from?" is a question we all ask ourselves at one time or another while enjoying our morning cup of coffee. Well, let's take a journey through the world together and discover where those perfect beans come from.

Let's start in Ethiopia, the country where coffee originally comes from. Here the coffee plants grow in the fertile highlands, where the climate and soil composition are perfect for producing high-quality coffee. Ethiopian coffee is known for its fruity and floral flavors, which provide a unique and delicious coffee experience.

But you will not only find specialty coffee in Ethiopia. Let's continue our journey to Costa Rica, another country known for its excellent coffee production. Here the coffee plants thrive on the rich volcanic soils, resulting in coffee beans with a full flavor and a wonderful aroma. Costa Rican coffee is often sweet and has notes of chocolate and citrus, making every sip a true pleasure.

As we travel further, we discover even more countries that play a role in the world of specialty coffee. Think of Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Brazil and many more. Each country has its own unique climate, soil conditions and coffee varieties, leading to different flavor profiles and characteristics.

Defining specialty coffee

specialty coffee pyramid

Defining specialty coffee is not an easy task given the diversity and complexity of this term. The main question remains: Where does specialty coffee come from? While the geographical origin is essential, it is the quality of the bean and the care given to the process of growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, roasting and ultimately preparing it that makes coffee a 'specialty bean'.

Specialty coffee comes from farmers who are dedicated to growing the highest quality beans. Coffee can only call itself specialty coffee if a so-called Q grader has assessed this coffee bean and awarded it a score of at least 80 SCA points.

These beans are then characterized by their exceptional flavors and aromas, which are often the result of the unique characteristics of the region in which they are grown. It is these unique flavor profiles and commitment to quality that differentiate specialty coffee from regular, commercial coffee. It is then our task as a coffee roaster to bring out the best in this coffee bean, by using exactly the right parameters according to a very strict roasting profile.

Making the coffee itself is also an art form, where the baristas are masters of their craft. They are trained to bring out the best characteristics in every cup of coffee they brew, providing consumers with an exceptional coffee experience. This combination of high quality beans and craftsmanship is what makes specialty coffee truly special.

So, where does specialty coffee come from? It comes from dedicated farmers, excellent beans, unique climatic and soil conditions, and skilled baristas working together to create an unforgettable cup of coffee.

Regions that determine the flavor profile

coffee regions

Specialty coffee comes from many corners of the world, each with their unique climatic conditions and soil qualities that contribute to the beans' unique flavor profiles. For example, let's look at Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. The country's highland climate and fertile volcanic soils create an ideal environment for the production of beans with a complex flavor profile, characterized by fruity, floral notes and a hint of wine-like acidity.

On the other hand, we have countries like Brazil and Colombia, where the combination of high altitudes, constant rainfall and rich soils leads to the production of beans with chocolate and nutty notes, and a full, creamy body.

Where does specialty coffee come from? The question is not so easy to answer, because specialty coffee comes from many regions, each with their unique properties that contribute to the final taste of the coffee. What is clear, however, is that regardless of origin, specialty coffee is the result of a combination of ideal growing conditions, dedicated farmers, and careful craftsmanship.

Cultivation and harvesting

Growing and harvesting specialty coffee is a careful and labor-intensive process. Where does specialty coffee come from? It all starts with choosing the right coffee variety. These varieties are carefully selected based on their suitability for the specific climate and soil of the region.

The coffee beans are then picked by hand, choosing only the ripest and healthiest cherries. This ensures the highest quality and purest flavors in the end product. This also means that people picking the berries have to visit the same coffee plants several times until all the berries are ripe and picked.

After picking, the coffee cherries are processed through a specific processing process. The most well-known processing processes are the washed and (pulped) natural methods. Read more about coffee processing methods here . This process has a significant impact on the final taste of the coffee. Finally, the coffee is carefully packaged, transported and roasted to bring out the unique flavor profile of each bean.

So it's clear that specialty coffee is the result of the perfect combination of ideal growing conditions, careful growing and harvesting methods, and expert processing and roasting.

Supporting small producers

specialty coffee farmers

In general, specialty coffee comes from small coffee producers. These small-scale farmers often work in cooperatives and contribute to the sustainability of the sector, both ecologically and socially. Supporting these farmers is a crucial part of the specialty coffee industry.

By entering into direct trading relationships, also known as direct trade , coffee companies can offer these farmers a fair price for their product, which is often higher than the standard market price. This contributes to improving the quality of life of farmers and their families. Moreover, it allows them to continue investing in their coffee plantations, which only increases the quality of the specialty coffee we drink.

In addition, the direct relationship with farmers allows coffee companies to directly share knowledge and expertise. This further supports farmers in their pursuit of sustainable agricultural practices and improving their yields.

So it's clear that the question "Where does specialty coffee come from?" goes beyond simply geographical origins. It is also a story about passion, dedication and respect for both the product and the people who grow it.

The global impact of specialty coffee

Specialty coffee not only delights the taste buds, it also has a significant impact on the global economy and environmental consciousness. By supporting small-scale farmers and promoting sustainable agricultural practices, the specialty coffee industry helps address issues such as poverty, inequality and climate change.

The economic impact of specialty coffee is significant. Direct trade promotes economic stability for small farmers and their communities. This creates a chain reaction, contributing to overall economic growth in coffee-producing countries.

On the environmental front, specialty coffee has drawn attention to the importance of sustainable agricultural practices. The emphasis on quality over quantity means that smaller quantities of coffee are produced with greater care for the environment. This contributes to the preservation of biodiversity and the prevention of deforestation.

So where does the idea of ​​specialty coffee really come from? It comes from a global community committed to quality, sustainability and justice. The story of specialty coffee is a story of positive change and impact, and it is a story that is far from over.


In the conclusion of this article, we can say that the question "Where does specialty coffee come from?" needs an in-depth answer that goes beyond just geographic location. Specialty coffee comes from a global commitment to the highest quality standards, fair trade practices and sustainable farming methods. It comes from the hard work and care of small farmers and their communities. It comes from consumers' desire for a product that not only tastes great, but also has a positive impact on the world.

In short, specialty coffee comes from an interplay of factors that all work together to create a product that is both special and transformative. The story of specialty coffee continues to unfold and remains a source of inspiration for all involved in the industry. It's a story that's far from over, and that's something to celebrate.