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An Introduction to Specialty Coffee

As a coffee lover, you’ve probably heard about specialty coffee. Its popularity is increasing worldwide. However, what does specialty coffee mean? Read on to learn more.

specialty coffee

Specialty Coffee Explained

If a certain coffee is categorized as specialty grade, it means the coffee is a prime pick from the world’s coffee stock. In fact, this coffee accounts for only 3 percent of the total global yield. Such coffee undergoes thorough classification process. It means strict quality standards are met before being categorized as specialty coffee.

To understand more about specialty coffee, it’ll help to know the sorting and identification process used.

During early coffee production stages, coffee is typically sorted into three groups including high-grown mild, Robusta, and Brazilian.

  1. High-Grown Mild

It’s among the most superior coffees in terms of quality. In fact, it’s the most pricey specialty coffee. The beans of this coffee are usually grown in higher altitudes than other coffees. It’s grown at an altitude of between 4,000 to 6,000 feet. Picking the coffee is done by hand and with a lot of care. The entire production process is carried out with a lot of caution.

  1. Robusta

Robusta is a broad coffee category. Robusta beans are generally non-specialty coffee. Robusta coffee is categorized under the Coffea canephora species. Robusta is the most commonly used coffee by most purveyors and roasters. The most common

  1. Brazilian

Not all Brazilian coffee is categorized as specialty grade. In general, Brazilian coffee is grown in low altitudes on large tracts of land. The altitude ranges from 2000 to 4000 feet. Harvesting is done en masse.

Specialty Coffee Classification

Specialty coffees are not made equal. There’re certain standards used in classifying coffees under different specialty grades. Specialty coffee is classified as follows:

  • Zero category one (1) defects (known as primary defects)
  • Fives or less category two (2) defects (known as full defects)

The classification is done per 300 g to 350 g of water. Also, the coffee must have at least a single unique quality in either its acidity, aroma, body, or taste. Unripe coffee beans, usually known as quakers, may be present, but their moisture content should be within 9 to 13 percent.

Other Facts Regarding Specialty Coffee

  • Specialty coffee accounts for about 55 percent of the American coffee business.
  • About 37 percent of coffee drunk by Americans is specialty coffee.
  • Testing coffee is done by individuals known as cuppers. They’re trained to point out any flaws in a coffee. One cup of coffee is typically tested for about 15 times, which each single test done by a different cupper.
  • The most pricey specialty coffee globally is known as Kopi Luwak.

Now that you’ve learn more about specialty grade coffee, you can go ahead and try it.


Also read:

What is the Most Expensive Coffee?