What is Specialty Coffee?
Specialty coffee is a term for the highest grade of coffee available, typically relating to the entire supply chain, using single origin or single estate coffee.Specialty coffee is related to what is known as the Third Wave of Coffee. This refers to a modern demand for exceptional quality coffee, both farmed and brewed to a significantly higher than average standard.
The two most popular species of coffee are soft tasting Arabica and Robusta, which is more bitter but easier to grow. Roughly all speciality coffee comes from the top 10% of Arabica seeds.After 3–4 years, the planted coffee tree will bear it’s first red fruits — coffee beans which are ready to be harvested.Coffee is mostly picked by hand, either “strip picked” or “selectively picked”. Strip picking is a quicker process but it also means all the berries of the tree are picked at the same time. Selective hand picking takes more time but gives better result, as only the beans that are just at the peak of ripeness are picked and raw beans left for later.
The widely accepted definition of specialty coffee is coffee scoring 80 points or above on the 100-point Coffee Review scale. Coffee scoring from 90-100 is graded Outstanding, coffee that scores 85-89.99 is graded Excellent, while coffee scoring 80-84.99 is graded Very Good.
“Third wave coffee can be the movement that gives meaning to the coffee you’re drinking. You can learn where exactly the coffee grows, who the farmers are, what processing method they used after the harvest. It tells you the story behind it.”