What is Specialty Coffee?

Feb 17, 2022

You may have heard us refer to our coffee as “specialty” or we may have compared ourselves to other “specialty” coffee roasters from time to time. And you might be asking yourself what does that actually means? Holee-Guacamole, there’s kinda a bit to it.  I’ll start at the beginning…

  1. The Farmer

Great coffee starts with the producer. This farmer or farmers or family likely has spent generations perfecting their approach to farming the highest quality coffee possible. Grown in select altitudes and climates and nursed for years before the first harvest, the producer who creates specialty coffee devotes his or her life to refining and perfecting the highest quality coffee on the planet. For them, it is quality not quantity that is the most important consideration. Only coffees free of defects and picked at their peak of ripeness will continue on to the next hands that will shape them. For the farmer, being able to connect with quality-minded buyers ensures a higher profit option which supports individuals, families and communities around the world.

2. The Green Coffee Buyer

Green coffee is next transferred to the green coffee buyer. They have a palate as distinguished as a sommelier and can keenly identify coffee quality via cupping, or systematic tasting of brewed coffees. Through cupping, the coffee taster can assess a coffee’s score and determine whether it is specialty grade quality, make decisions on which coffees they will include in their offerings, and often develop tasting notes and descriptions for the coffee on its final packaging. The green coffee buyer has a large role in communicating the information about a coffee to the roaster and café staff. Specialty coffee is graded at 80 points or more. Anything below that is NOT considered specialty.

3. The Roaster

High quality coffees are next transferred to the roaster. Coffee roasting is an art that requires knowledge and experience to produce specialty level roast profiles. Coffee must be closely monitored during the roasting process and scientific principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics and coffee chemistry have to be applied to ensure the highest standard of quality and flavor to come through in the final roasted bean.

4. The Barista

Once the specialty coffee beans reach the retail environment, they have already passed 3 levels of inspection to ensure a high level of quality control, however the process in not yet complete. The barista, is the final coffee professional to guarantee the lifecycle of the specialty bean is completed. Specialty level Baristas are not only highly skilled in brewing equipment operations; they routinely are deeply informed as to the origin of the coffee bean and how it’s flavor profiles will be revealed in brewing. If the specialty bean is not brewed properly it is possible that its true flavor potential could be lost; the Barista ensures each bean reaches its full brewed promise. 

4. The Consumer (That’s You)!

You are the reason that we all work together to come forth with a product that we hope you love. From farmer to your cup, we take our knowledge, passion, commitment and dedication to provide you with something that is grown, roasted and prepared in the best possible way. You can enjoy knowing the careful consideration that is taken from step 1 to completion, treating you to amazing and fresh coffee.

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