What is specialty coffee?
What is speciality coffee? And how do we define it?
Well, in the broadest sense, we define speciality coffee as coffee that has met all the tests of survival encountered in the long journey from the coffee tree to the brewed coffee cup. More specifically, we measure it against standards and with methods that allow us to identify coffee that has been adequately cared for.
A coffee that’s free of primary defects
The SCAA defines speciality coffee in its green stage as coffee that is free of primary defects, has no Quakers, is properly sized and dried, presents in the cup free of faults and taints and has distinctive attributes. In practical terms, this means that the coffee must be able to pass aspect grading and cupping tests.
With proper ratios, extraction and temperatures
From the green stage to the final beverage, there are other standards either currently in place or in the process of being developed. For example, the SCAA Brewing Standard for the preparation of drip coffee. It defines the proper ratios of water to coffee, the proper extraction, brewing and holding temperatures and time.
The quality of the product defines a coffee.
In the final analysis, speciality coffee will be defined by the quality of the product. Whether green beans, roasted beans or prepared beverages and by the quality of life that coffee can deliver to all those involved in its cultivation, preparation and degustation. Coffee that gives satisfaction on all counts and adds value to the lives and livelihoods of all involved is truly a speciality coffee.
– No broken quality link from the farmer to the brewed cup –
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