What makes a coffee specialty coffee?

wstsider

Member
May 24, 2019
168
0
What makes a coffee specialty coffee? Is it small batches, fair trade, organic coffee, what is it and can someone please explain this to me a little bit more! Thank you.
 

Troubardour

New member
Apr 14, 2020
12
0
Costa Rica and US
I think it simply means that all along the chain from seed to delivery, everyone has taken deliberate steps to make the highest quality coffee they can while at the same time keeping both Mother Nature as well as the farmers in the equation of sustainability. Basically there should be only winners, including the final consumer who gets to experience a superior coffee.
 

MntnMan62

New member
Nov 15, 2019
445
1
New Jersey
I consider the coffee I make for myself and my family specialty coffee. I typically use a french press but will also use a Moka Pot on occassion. This morning I made my wife a coffee using the french press. The beans were decaf La Colombe Nizza. I mixed it with heated and frothed milk and topped it with home made mocha sauce and some cinnamon. She said it was really good but asked that next time I add some of the mocha sauce to the coffee when pouring rather than just drizzling it on top of the milk foam so she gets more of the mocha sauce flavor. Still experimenting.
 
Last edited:

MntnMan62

New member
Nov 15, 2019
445
1
New Jersey
Specialty is technically a grading system for green coffee. Green coffee has to have zero Cat 1 defects and less than 5 Cat 2 defects. I think the general consensus in the industry includes a lot of the comments above but specialty is a grading system.

https://sca.coffee/research/coffee-standards

Just goes to show you how little I know about coffee, beans or anything else for that matter. :decaf:
 

Mr.Peaberry

Member
Aug 7, 2013
890
2
Specialty is technically a grading system for green coffee. Green coffee has to have zero Cat 1 defects and less than 5 Cat 2 defects. I think the general consensus in the industry includes a lot of the comments above but specialty is a grading system.

https://sca.coffee/research/coffee-standards

It is not easy for those of us who are passionate about specialty coffee to divorce ourselves from the sociological implications of the coffee industry. There are a lot of issues with the way in which coffee comes to market that are not relevant to the fact that the term "specialty coffee" is a distinction that applies to coffee that merits a distinction from C grade, or commercial grade, coffee. As Musicphan points out, this distinction arises from a grading system for coffee that exists for the same reasons as the grading systems in other commodities like lumber, or oil, or wheat, or pork bellies; namely, to be able to fairly trade the commodity in highly volatile markets. But all of that sounds so sterile and somewhat callous. So thankfully, this is a market that is given more significance because of the sociological implications, and it is a great place for people who wish to make a difference in the world...just not as a day trader...lol!
 

MntnMan62

New member
Nov 15, 2019
445
1
New Jersey
I would say coffee that is processed using the " Wet Method"

My original post in response to this thread showed how little I know about harvesting, cleaning, roasting or anything else to do with coffee. Having read the responses from @musicphan and @709espresso it's very clear that what makes specialty coffee specialty has to do with a lot more than the method in which it is processed. Since it is clear that it has to do with a grading system, I suspect that the "Wet Method" of cleaning the coffee and removing the husks or whatever it is you call the outside part of the beans has very little if anything to do with whether coffee is specialty or not. I thank them for posting both links as I was able to learn a number of things I had not known before and your response appears to show that you probably didn't read any of the previous responses or the links contained therein before you gave us the benefit of your wisdom. You might want to do some reading and educated yourself. I apologize for my post being laced with sarcasm but it reflects the mood I happen to be in at the moment.
 

Mr.Peaberry

Member
Aug 7, 2013
890
2
My original post in response to this thread showed how little I know about harvesting, cleaning, roasting or anything else to do with coffee. Having read the responses from @musicphan and @709espresso it's very clear that what makes specialty coffee specialty has to do with a lot more than the method in which it is processed. Since it is clear that it has to do with a grading system, I suspect that the "Wet Method" of cleaning the coffee and removing the husks or whatever it is you call the outside part of the beans has very little if anything to do with whether coffee is specialty or not. I thank them for posting both links as I was able to learn a number of things I had not known before and your response appears to show that you probably didn't read any of the previous responses or the links contained therein before you gave us the benefit of your wisdom. You might want to do some reading and educated yourself. I apologize for my post being laced with sarcasm but it reflects the mood I happen to be in at the moment.

We all have our moments, right? Lol! To be fair to GuyanaCoffeeLover, processing does affect the final outcome of the product and ultimately whether or not it can be sold as specialty coffee, but you are correct that wet (or washed) processing is not the deal breaker. Wet processing, and any other method, cannot turn an average coffee into a superior coffee. Garbage in garbage out so to speak. The most important thing to remember is that once a coffee is bought, it then has to get to the roaster, and ultimately the consumer. There are many things that can go wrong before the final product is actually consumed. This is why importers will to cuppings of samples prior to placing orders, and then again upon arrival. Fatal errors occur along the way from outright fraud (an exporter "swapping" a lower grade coffee than was entrusted to be shipped to the client) to degradation of the coffee from improper storage or from cross contamination with perhaps spices that were shipped in the container prior to being used for the coffee shipment. Yes...so much care and concern goes into every aspect of bringing these magical beans to market. And then, after all is said and done...the average consumer has no understanding of the difference between Folger's and fresh roasted, single origin, micro lot coffees that justifies the $7.00 per cup some places can charge. Okay...I'm done, but I barely scratched the surface...lol! I believe this post to be sarcasm free, and that no feelings were harmed in this posting.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,592
4
Central North Carolina
So natural coffees can not be specialty coffee?

Have no clue who would even try going there as there are tons of fantastic naturals out there. My absolute favorite are naturals as most wet processed end up too clean/thin for me regardless of roast level, extraction variables, etc. The dry process gives that very bold taste, heavy body, etc. and just makes for fantastic espresso for my expectations. To be sure I do get quality greens I only buy from 2 places and they seem to know what's what in the world of sourcing quality greens year round to supply home roasters. If their scoring methods hit upper 80s+ then I'm totally fine with that as I can take pretty much any green and create something quite good from it. I will also point out that I don't look at how most places grade coffees (especially roasted) as at the end of the day it's still subjective regardless of judging criteria adhered to.
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,736
13
Boca Raton
I will also point out that I don't look at how most places grade coffees (especially roasted) as at the end of the day it's still subjective regardless of judging criteria adhered to.
Here, here! Also my comment about naturals was sarcasm :)
 

Latest posts

Top