Specialty Coffee is a broad topic to cover in one post. Let’s just say that there’s a big difference between drinking coffee and enjoying specialty coffee.
Certified Coffee Tasters and licensed Q graders rate coffee based on taste, consistency, and quality. And, of course, not every coffee will be rated equally. This article will discuss specialty coffee – the best and highest-graded coffee.
In a glance…
There’s a lot of information about specialty coffee further below. If you’re in a rush you can just use our shortlist of recommended specialty coffee beans:
What is Specialty Coffee?
Specialty coffee is coffee that received an exact or greater than 80/100 point scale from a licensed Q grader. Coffee with 80-84 points is considered very good, coffee with 85-89 points is deemed to be excellent, and coffee with 90-100 points is considered outstanding. These coffees are not typical because they are grown with great care, as part of the Third-Wave Coffee scene.
Specialty coffee farms are known for being in ideal altitude and soil areas. The coffee is planted at the optimal time of year to be harvested at the optimal time. These characteristics add essence to the coffee and make the taste exceptional.
Specialty coffee has always gotten a lot of attention and was mistakenly labeled as gourmet coffee, which is incorrect. It is opposed to gourmet, which has no specific definition. While specialty coffee is a professionally graded honor for a coffee, gourmet is inconsequential and may only be mentioned for marketing purposes.
The Growth in Demands
While Italy is the trend-setter of coffee, espresso, and other popular terminologies, they have also left notable contributions in specialty coffee. It is now all over the world. In fact, it is also spreading nationwide in the USA. Exceptional coffee producers like Blue Bottle and Stumptown – even their commercial counterparts.
According to surveys, America’s regular consumption of specialty coffee has risen to 34% since 2014. On the other hand, the UK has also acknowledged specialty coffee as it grows 13% in market demands, higher than predicted. This high-graded coffee has also inspired huge cafe and food chains like Costa and Starbucks.
The Growing Regions
With a few exceptions, most conventional coffee-growing countries also produce limited specialty coffee in addition to their commercial coffee. Africa’s coffee-producing nations such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Colombia are well-known for their specialty coffee production. However, many underrated countries compete to generate some of the world’s finest coffee.
For example, Panama has established a reputation for itself in the past few years. This results from highly educated agricultural producers, a focus on increased biodiversity, and an array of differing microclimates due to the country’s small diameter and the implications of two neighboring oceans.
Specialty Coffee History
Now that it is becoming trendy, have you ever wondered how specialty coffee was made in history? It has actually existed for a long time now. In fact, ever since the 1900s, specialty coffee has been produced for wealthy customers in the Hotel du Crillon Paris. Though, they referred to it as a limited coffee selected from micro-lots in specific farms of Guatemala regions.
“Specialty coffee” became the term for this type of coffee during 1970 when it was introduced by the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal. It was only several years after Starbucks’ opening. Stores like Starbucks and Peet’s have also been known to record the modern changes in coffee over time. They have shared unique and limited-edition drinking experiences with customers, making specialty coffee more widespread.
Since then, more and more agricultural companies have focused on the new brewing and roasting technology. The need for specialty coffee has also been growing surprisingly to date.
Recommended Specialty Coffee
Mayorga Specialty-Grade Coffee
Mayorga specialty-grade is a whole arabica bean dark roast coffee. It is a Cuban-style coffee with a smooth consistency and hints of smoky syrup and sweet vanilla. Rest easy because this bold finish contains low acidity. It has three different flavors for you to try: Muy Macho, Winter Blend, and Café Cubano Roast.
It is harvested from certified organic farms with well-inspected quality in Latin America. It is topped with certifications and licenses from USDA organics, Kosher, and Direct Trade. Also non-GMO. The coffee was roasted slowly in small batches to ensure fair heat in beans. Then it is transported directly to the USA to be packed.
You'll experience a fresh 100% arabica coffee from experienced farmers who care for people and the planet. This coffee product by Mayorga Organics is processed and grown according to the standard water and soil quality. They manufacture the product responsibly and meticulously.
Charleston Coffee Roasters (Ground beans)
This specialty organic coffee from Charleston is a great drink to start your day. It is a breakfast blend providing bright and crispy hints of citrus. It is a flavor that coffee enthusiasts will find irresistible. The coffee is crafted by experts who delicately roast the beans in a medium to dark consistency.
The taste is a new wonder, for it is surprisingly smooth but not bitter. You can sense the freshness of the coffee in just one sip. It is also grown in organic and sustainable farms with particular farming practices to keep the coffee of good quality. In fact, it is guaranteed by the USDA and acknowledged their bio-diversity goals.
Charleston specialty organic coffee is packed in grounds, pods, and even whole beans for customers' distinct preferences. You can get it in diverse flavors such as breakfast blend, organic Columbian, espresso dark, and Charleston organic. On top of it, the customer ratings are very high. It's a definite must-try!
Don Pablo Specialty Whole Bean Coffee
Don Pablo specialty whole bean coffee is a natural Kentucky Bourbon caffeine drink roasted to perfection. It is infused with an intense flavor of honey, cocoa, and butterscotch without the alcohol. It is a whole bean coffee that creates a golden blonde color with a smooth finish.
This coffee contains low acidity and has no residual sweetness. It comes in a foil-lined special cardboard barrel which makes it look more appealing. Don Pablo is known for its bourbon flavor with hints of sweets, spice, nuttiness, and fruitiness. Like a mash-up of flavors, this product has gained popularity among coffee lovers.
It is indeed a one-of-a-kind coffee that gives you energy throughout the day. You can brew it in traditional drip machines, french press, cold brew, or even hand-drip. The coffee beans were processed by being soaked in Kentucky bourbon for days and nights and then let dry until they reached a golden blonde color.
Gobena Certified Nicaraguan
Gobena's Nicaraguan specialty coffee comes from small farmers during the optimal season. It is then roasted in small batches to bring out the natural flavors. The specialty coffee is not just remarkable in its distinct taste but the mission itself.
It has a balanced flavor of Arabica coffee and notes of chocolate. The USDA Organic approves it as the processing takes only a day. It is roasted evenly and packed on the same day. That fulfills their aim to bring only fresh specialty coffee to their customer.
Gobena, in partnership with Lifesong for Orphans, brings you a fresh cup of coffee while assisting the children in need. It is also well-supported by coffee lovers for its pledge of putting 100% of the profit towards the vulnerable and orphans worldwide. It's a win-win, as they say.
Mayorga Mayan Blend Specialty-Grade Coffee
Another high-quality coffee from Mayorga Organics - this Mayan specialty-grade coffee is mediumly roasted to reach the perfect taste. It has subtle hints of floral undertones and chocolate, topped by a silky smooth finish. The coffee is processed by Roastmaster from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.
It is 100% Arabica and made in specialty-grade shade-grown. It has become one of the crowd's favorites since it is slowly roasted in small batches for even bursts of flavors. After being processed, the Mayan coffee is transferred to the USA for the best packaging.
As stated earlier, Mayorga coffee products are approved by USDA Organics, Kosher, and Direct Trade. They are also verified as non-GMO. The product is quality inspected and comes from sustainable sources. The taste of these medium-roast beans will bring you back to the ancient Mayan civilization.
Specialty Coffee is a reward to the coffee-growing community: The farmers, the cooperatives, and the whole industry. It’s the fruit of the labor of all those who work in the industry.
There’s so much more to say about this topic, but we hope this post helped you understand specialty coffee and its history. If you’re still curious, you can find many research information and historical graphs online.