Most people have heard the phrase ‘speciality coffee’ (specialty if you prefer the US spelling) but what is speciality coffee exactly?
So.. there are lots of different types of coffee produced across the world – Robusta, Arabica etc- but all coffee beans are graded in the same way. Coffee is graded on a 100-point ‘Coffee Review’ scale and the people who are qualified to grade coffee are known as Q graders. They ensure that coffee can be graded in a consistent way all over the world and in all stages of its journey.
The accepted definition of specialty coffee is coffee scoring 80 points or above. Coffee scoring from 90-100 is graded Outstanding, coffee that scores 85-89 is graded excellent, while coffee scoring 80-84 is graded ‘very good’ but all are accepted as Speciality grade coffee. Only 6% of all the coffee produced in the world is classified as speciality coffee.
It takes a lot of hard work and energy to produce speciality grade coffee which is why only a small percentage of all coffee produced is of this standard. While the farmers have to work harder to produce it they will earn a significant premium for the high quality coffee that they produce, this is one of the reasons that it costs a little more. Supporting the coffee producers is incredibly important within speciality coffee; ensuring a fair price is paid and protecting the producers livelihoods is critical to the supply chain and protects the quality of the final product.
Fresh ‘Speciality’ coffee may seem expensive compared to what is found in the supermarkets but the difference in quality, freshness and ultimately the taste is incomparable. The industrial methods used to produce coffee in such large quantities for supermarkets does not produce the best quality outcome and, as such, a lower quality coffee is used to begin with. In addition coffee off the shelf is also many months old due to stock management requirements and purchased in such quantities that producer protection can not be assured.
While the definition of what classifies a coffee as ‘Speciality’ is its grade, the term ‘Speciality Coffee’ generally refers to something wider – incorporating the entire supply chain. The roasters who buy speciality coffee will pay more attention to the roasting of it; ensuring they understand the characteristics of a specific bean and trying different roast styles to draw out the best flavours. People who supply the coffee to the consumers work hard to ensure that it delivered as fresh as possible to ensure it can be enjoyed as intended. It’s about a community of passionate people working together to deliver a superior coffee experience and we’re proud to be involved in some small way.
If you’re wondering how to know if your coffee is speciality or not there are a few key things you should look for on the bag (If the bag does not contain this information is safe to say that it won’t be speciality coffee):
The roasted date is very important
The bean origin(s)
The flavour, or tasting, notes
All Beans Coffee Club coffees are speciality graded and hand-roasted to order for the ultimate freshness. There’s no easier way to explore a variety of coffees from some of the UK’s best roasters. You can be confident that you are enjoying an artisan product which protects and supports the coffee producers, for as little as £0.46 a cup.
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