If you are an avid coffee drinker, you have two choices — regular coffee or speciality coffee. If you live in the US or Canada, you will know this coffee as specialty coffee. So — what makes this type of coffee so special?
Before you ever pour that first cup of delicious hot java, those beans have taken a long journey down a complicated path. There are several stages including first crack, etc — and if you are not careful, going too far can ruin an entire batch.
What is the Difference Between Regular Coffee and Speciality Coffee
In today’s society amongst coffee drinkers, roasters, growers, etc — a regular coffee really is a sneaky way of saying low in quality and taste.
When drinking regular coffee, you can often be left with a bad aftertaste and a less than thrilling experience.
Conversely, speciality coffee means guaranteed quality through all stages of the coffee production from seed to cup.
What Deems a Coffee to be a Speciality Coffee
Speciality coffee refers to the whole process from farmer to cup using single origin coffee. And it refers to the way the coffee is roasted and how it is extracted.
These types of coffee should not be confused with “gourmet” or “premium” coffee. Those words are marketing terms with no defined standards for the flavour and taste of the coffee itself.
According to SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) definitions, speciality coffee “refers to the highest quality green coffee beans roasted to their greatest flavour potential by true craftspeople and then properly brewed to well-established SCAA developed standards.”
These standards include scoring higher than 80 points on the quality scale and excellent or outstanding quality in fragrance, aroma, flavour, aftertaste, acidity, body, uniformity, balance, clean cup, sweetness, and overall better taste than your average cup of joe.
They are grown in special and ideal climates and are distinctive because of their full cup taste and little to no defects. The unique flavours and tastes are a result of the special characteristics and composition of the soils in which they are produced.
Arabica and Robusta are the popular coffee species in the coffee world though only Arabicas are considered speciality coffees. They have to be grown at altitude so countries known for producing speciality coffee include Colombia, Ethiopia, Brazil, and Indonesia, to name a few.
Speciality Coffees are Brewed Differently
Speciality coffee is quality driven — not like all the other coffees out there. You can pretty much guess at this point that your normal run of the mill coffee in your local grocer would not be considered speciality coffee.
The most obvious difference between speciality coffee shops and other chain store coffee shops are the coffee brewing methods.
Kettles with gooseneck spouts give you incredible precision while the pour-over coffee is being made. Timers enable your coffee to be brewed with consistency.
Manual methods allow for the same coffee to be made eight different ways, which result in slight flavour and body variations.
Speciality Coffee is Sourced Differently
With speciality coffee, you will not be running to your big box grocery stores to snatch up a bag. Not only is this coffee brewed differently and grown differently, it is also sourced differently.
Roasters visit these coffee farms personally. They make connections and relationships with the growers. Then, roasters can pick and choose the best coffees from farms that they work with. They no longer have to read about them in catalogues.
Not only does this benefit the roaster, but it also benefits the farmers and the workers as well. Roasters sell a higher quality product, and in return, the coffee farmers make more money.
Because of this, it helps to support the local communities. The people in these communities benefit by the higher quality coffee of the farm. They are also establishing long-term relationships between farmer and roaster.
Speciality Coffee Sells Different that Regular Coffee
Most roasters who sell speciality coffee have one goal in mind — to be as transparent as possible when it comes to selling and sharing speciality coffee.
They want you to know where your coffee comes from. Not only that, but they want you to know the names of the farmers that they work with. Connecting to your coffee is important and they want you to see pictures, hear stories, and enjoy their hard work.
Speciality coffee is so special because it values sustainability, quality, cooperation, and most importantly, people.
Want to Learn More About Speciality Coffee?
If you are ready to take your coffee journey to the next level, I encourage you to purchase a subscription Blue Coffee Box where you will be able to meet these roasters and try their speciality coffee each month. Click here to learn more.
Why do you use “speciality” rather than “specialty” for high quality coffee? I have always seen and heard “specialty”. Is there any explanation for the difference?
Jon Butt says
It’s a good question with a simple answer. We are a UK company and “Speciality” is the English was to say it. “Specialty” is the American version. Same meaning.