Everything You Need to Know About Specialty Coffee

The world of coffee is a spectacular place, full of unique, bold and beloved beverage varieties. While some people are satisfied with a cup of their instant favourite, others prefer to brew something a little more luxurious. 

That’s where specialty coffee – or speciality coffee comes in. In this blog, you can discover everything you need to know about specialty coffee, including what it is and how you can enjoy your own at home.

Keep reading to find out more.

What Is Specialty Coffee?

If you’re new to the coffee craze, you might be wondering what makes certain types of coffee specialty. Let’s clear the steam and explain.

Dedication, quality, and a passion for taste all play their part in defining the existence of specialty coffee. Erna Knutsen first coined the term, describing how “special geographic microclimates produce beans with unique flavour profiles.” The SCA refines the definition further based on Knutsen’s concept, diving into the lifecycle of a specialty bean and the people involved in the journey. The coffee farmers who harvest carefully, the green bean buyer who chooses the best produce and the roasters who roast to perfection all play a part in the process. Specialty coffee doesn’t just refer to the final result – it describes how it is nurtured at every step of the journey from harvest to cup. 

Baristas and consumers who enjoy the finished result hold equal importance when it comes to defining coffee as specialty. As they create and explore the great tastes and flavours on offer, they increase demand and encourage more people to enjoy the home brewing experience.

What Makes Specialty Coffee Different?

While the idea of specialty coffee may not seem that different to your bog-standard cup of commercial coffee, there are actually many factors that set it apart from the rest. 

Here are the key differences that make specialty coffee so great:

  • It offers a wider a much truer flavour potential
  • Specialty coffee is often made ethically through small-scale production
  • Typically grown at high altitudes, speciality coffee pays attention to geographic location, the microclimate conditions and soil environment to produce a unique flavour
  • Specialty coffee is free of quakers (beans that fail to roast effectively) and, as a result, offers a very limited number of defects
  • It’s graded on a cupping score, achieving between 80-100 points according to SCA standards (90-100 = outstanding, 85-89.99 = excellent, 80-84.99 = very good)
  • Cupping scores are graded by Q-grader (CQI) who usually work closely with coffee farmers to exceed quality standards, unlike commercial coffee (below 80 in rating)

What Are the Best Things About Specialty Coffee?

Distinct With Unique Flavour Potential 

One of the most extraordinary things you can expect from specialty coffee is the unique and superior flavour potential on offer. Thanks to the close attention paid to microclimate, high altitudes and geographic location that make the soil different, the beans offer more originality of flavour.

Every region has something new to offer when it comes to specialty coffee, adding an element of exploration to the art of coffee brewing. Each morsel can be savoured and reflected on, offering rich aromas, flavours and strengths with every sip. 

Traceability and Sustainability

One of the best things about specialty coffee is the close relationships that define every element of the supply chain. By nurturing these partnerships and creating a more sustainable industry, specialty coffee can be traced throughout its entire lifecycle. While each selection of beans has its own story to tell, consumers can find out details about variety, regional information, farming insights, and processes. In fact, you can discover everything about specialty coffee, from the altitude the beans were grown at down to the name of the farmer who grew them.

Higher Ethical Standards

If you’re looking to live a more sustainable life that’s kinder to both people and the planet, specialty coffee is the best choice. Many coffee roasters and green bean buyers go to farms and deal with farmers directly, choosing the best coffee that matches their ethical standards. This prevents vague production promises and guarantees quality in the process.

How Can I Brew My Own Specialty Coffee at Home?

When it comes to brewing specialty at home, one of the most popular choices is pour-over coffee. In simple terms, this beverage is created by pouring hot water through the coffee grounds of your choice and a specialist filter. Thanks to a simple brewing process and various brewing methods, you can enjoy more flavourful coffee-drinking experience your way.

Here are our top tips on brewing your own pour-over coffee!

  • Invest in a high-quality batch of specialty coffee beans. They usually come in 200g or 250g bags and you can buy them online or in your local specialty coffee roasters.
  • Having the right equipment is essential for great pour-over coffee. Purchase a set of Grinder, Dripper, Server, Kettle, Scale and Filter to get started.
  • Get to grips with the importance of the three Ts – Temperature, Time and Turbulence. These are three variables that will impact the quality of your brew.
  • Try out new techniques and change your parameter each time you brew. This will empower you to discover your favourite coffee and find out what method works best for you.
  • Keep your coffeewares and accessories clean and well-maintained. 
  • Practice makes perfect, so don’t give up if the first batch isn’t the delicious brew you were hoping for! 

So, that’s everything you need to know about specialty coffee. Whether you’re a seasoned expert or you’re just starting your gourmet journey, THE COFFEE GOODS has all the pour-over products and accessories you need. With a commitment to quality, you can explore and enjoy your favourite brew experience at home.