Do I actually drink regular coffee or do I drink specialty coffee? Specialty coffee is a term we hear more and more. Small coffee roasters, but also specialty coffee bars are becoming increasingly popular, which means that we drink specialty coffee more often than we think.
But what exactly qualifies as specialty coffee ? Is it the type of coffee beans or is it much more than that? As you know, I am also the owner of such a micro-roasting house that specializes in purchasing and roasting only specialty coffee. For us, specialty coffee is coffee that is produced under special conditions with an eye and detail for people and the environment.
For example, we think it is important that coffee farmers are paid fairly for their hard work, that the quality of the coffee is exceptional and not cheap junk, as you often find in the supermarket. But sometimes it is good to also explain what exactly qualifies as specialty coffee. Who determines this and why is it so valuable? In this blog I will tell you all about it.
What is specialty coffee
Specialty coffee is much more than just very good coffee. It is the result of precise and consistent efforts to produce the highest quality coffee. This starts with the coffee farmer who carefully selects, picks and processes the beans. In addition, transport, storage and the roasting process also play a crucial role in the creation of specialty coffee.
Specialty coffee is often associated with small roasters and specialty shops that focus on creating the best coffee experience. These coffee roasters and baristas often have a huge passion for coffee and want to share this passion with their customers. They are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to improve the quality of their coffee and to share the origin and story behind the coffee beans with their customers.
In short, specialty coffee is coffee of the highest quality, with every aspect of the production process carefully controlled and optimised. This results in an exceptionally flavorful and aromatic cup of coffee that is appreciated by coffee aficionados around the world.
Specialty coffee quality
The quality of specialty coffee is judged by several criteria, including the smell, taste, acidity, body and balance of the coffee. It is important that the coffee beans are of high quality and have been properly processed and roasted. For example, the ripeness of the coffee cherry at the time of picking and the way in which the coffee beans are dried after picking are examined.
To qualify as a specialty coffee, the coffee must achieve a score of 80 points or higher on a scale of 100. This score is determined by professional coffee tasters, also known as q-graders, who rate the coffee based on internationally recognized protocols. They assess the coffee via a specialty coffee scoresheet (link).
There are several agencies that review and certify specialty coffee, including the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the Cup of Excellence (COE).
The SCA is a global organization dedicated to promoting specialty coffee and setting standards and protocols for the coffee industry. The COE is an annual competition where the best specialty coffee farmers in the world are evaluated and judged by a panel of international cuppers.
All in all, the assessment of specialty coffee is an important part of its qualification. The high standards and protocols used ensure the quality of specialty coffees and provide coffee lovers with an exceptional coffee experience.
SCA cupping score form
Why is specialty coffee valuable
Specialty coffee is valuable for several reasons. As a specialty coffee roaster, what we find and look for most in our coffees are the production methods, the recognition of craftsmanship and quality, and the positive impact on the coffee farmers and their communities.
By investing in specialty coffee, you not only experience the very best coffee experience, but you also contribute to a better and more sustainable future for the coffee industry and the environment. So win-win!
Firstly, specialty coffee is often produced sustainably. This means that environmental impact is taken into account during the production process and that we often work with local communities to develop sustainable production methods.
By investing in the production of specialty coffee, you are also investing in a sustainable future for the coffee industry and the environment.
The price of specialty coffee
In addition, the high price of specialty coffee is a sign of the value placed on quality and craftsmanship. Specialty coffee often comes from small coffee farmers who work hard to produce the best coffee beans. Every year they try to get the harvest a little better. It is often the case that the higher the quality of the coffee, the higher the price that the coffee farmer gets.
Coffee with impact
Finally, specialty coffee also has a positive impact on the communities in which it is produced. Through direct trade, Fairtrade and building valuable trade relationships, coffee farmers can get a fair price for their product and improve their livelihoods.
In addition, investments are often made in the communities where the coffee is produced, such as building schools or improving healthcare in order to increase the impact and secure the future of coffee production. Because hey, how would you do that? Starting your day without a cup of coffee?!
Specialty coffee is much more than just very good coffee. It is the result of meticulous and consistent efforts to produce, roast and brew coffee of the highest quality. This starts with the coffee farmer who carefully selects, picks and processes the beans. In addition, transport, storage and the roasting process also play a crucial role in the creation of specialty coffee.
To qualify as a specialty coffee, the coffee must achieve a score of 80 points or higher on a scale of 100. This score is determined by professional coffee tasters, also known as q-graders, who rate the coffee based on internationally recognized protocols. The high standards and protocols used ensure the quality of specialty coffees and provide coffee lovers with an exceptional coffee experience.
Specialty coffee is valuable for several reasons. It recognizes the craftsmanship and quality of the coffee farmer and the positive impact on the coffee farmers and their communities. It also creates a unique coffee experience for consumers looking for exceptional and complex flavours.
Most importantly, specialty coffee, through its high quality and ethical production methods, offers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of coffee farmers and their communities worldwide.