There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee… that is true; but have you ever thought that maybe there’s something out there that’s better than what you’ve been drinking every day? Like… there’s gotta be more to your coffee life than this. Well, let us introduce you to our little friend called specialty coffee. We’re sure you’re asking yourself at this very moment, “What is specialty coffee and how is it different from any other type of coffee?” Unlike gourmet and premium, specialty coffee isn’t something that’s just printed on the packaging, it really is special. Keep on reading and we’ll tell you why.
Specialty Coffee’s History
Don’t let the word history freak you out, we’re not going to bore you with a history lesson on specialty coffee; we just want to let you know what makes it so special. The first time the words “Specialty coffee” were uttered was back in 1978 and the definition has pretty much stayed the same since then. The SCAA or Specialty Coffee Association of America defines specialty coffee as “the highest-quality green coffee beans roasted to their greatest flavor potential by true craftspeople and then properly brewed to well-established SCAA developed standards.” In other words, with the right cultivar, the right climate in a small area or microclimate, the right proportion of chemistry and special care and you’ve got specialty coffee. It’s all about the quality of each of those elements; you can get it right with three out of the four elements, but if one is thrown off it will downgrade the quality.
Coffee Chain of Command
Think of the beginning of the supply chain of specialty coffee as a season of American Idol (the good seasons with Simon, Paula and Randy). In order for the green coffee bean to move on to the next round it has to be ripe and free of defects. After it’s picked, the green coffee goes to be graded by a certified coffee taster or licensed grader who has been highly trained to taste and grade coffee. In order for coffee to be considered “specialty coffee” it must go through rigorous testing to be given the prestigious honor of being called “specialty.” Have we not gotten nerdy enough yet? Ok, you can find more information on the grading of specialty coffee by checking out Green Coffee Grading Protocols.
The next stop for specialty coffee is a roaster. Specialty coffee is like the Rolls Royce of coffee, if you have a luxury vehicle you wouldn’t take it to Wal-Mart to be serviced. Similarly, specialty coffee needs to be handled by highly skilled roasters; there’s a science to the process that helps bring out the quality and flavors that you will love. The coffee then makes one last stop…you.
Why you should be drinking it
Once you’ve tasted a cup of specialty coffee, you’ll realize why it was given that moniker. According to the SCAA, specialty coffee’s quality is “considered the highest quality in the world.” One reason why you should be drinking specialty coffee is because of what it goes through to get to you. The fact that it has been inspected over and over again to make sure that its quality is just right… well that speaks volumes in today’s world where everything is rushed out to consumers with one measly inspection. We haven’t even touched on the flavor! It all starts with the aromas. If you’re making a cup of coffee right now go ahead and inhale… let the aroma travel through your nasal passages, “ahhh…” You don’t have to be a professional coffee cupper to determine if you’re getting an aroma that is fruity, flowery or herby. If your coffee is ready, try slurping and swirling it around your mouth to unveil its tastes, acidity, body and finish. It will bring pleasure to every future cup once you discover and unlock the aromas and sweetness or bitterness of the flavors.
Say bye-bye to Gourmet and Premium
We’re not knocking gourmet and premium coffee. They might’ve represented higher quality coffee in the past; but now they’re mostly just fancy names printed on basic coffee, please don’t let it fool you! Specialty coffee is the real deal. It surpasses any other type of coffee, because of the way it’s handled and strictly graded, and it also has the fewest defects.
We hope that after reading this you have an understanding of what specialty coffee is and most importantly why you should have a cup in your hand right now (unless you’re going to bed, then we understand). You don’t want to just drink any old coffee, you might as well be drinking mud. To get a glimpse of what we will be brewing for you on our blog check out our Introducing the Stay Roasted Coffee Blog post.