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Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

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  • Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

    Hi to all CS members.... and guests...

    This is a topic which i have asked several collegues to comment on over the years..... as you can imagine the response varies.....

    I am interested to seek opinions, comments, discussion, arguments etc etc... as to what exactly the term specialty coffee means to you!

    I will start...

    In our company specialty coffee as a roaster means that we carefully select Estate Coffee from around the world and then carefully roast, package and distribute... now this is very broad i know so far...

    We go on to ensure that we do not supply mass coffee market... ie super markets, McDonalds, donuts chains etc etc.. not because it is wrong to do so... but we have not positioned ourselves in that market...

    I believe in Speciatly coffee and the Coffee Beverage.. there is a market for both.... but there should be a clear distinction.... i believe coffee lovers are becoming much more discerning and therfore are in seek of specialty coffee... whether it is origins, blends, hard obtain, rainforest, utz etc etc...

    Again... my opinion stands that there is no wrong or right but needs to be clear parameters for when people talk about or advertise or sing the song of speciatly coffee.....

    Happy blogging... looking forward to reading the responses......

  • #2
    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

    A full copy of the article i wrote in Cafe Culture 2008 about Specialty Coffee versus Coffee Beverage explains a lot more in detail......

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    • #3
      Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

      The first thing that pops into my mind is
      Different from the norm

      KK

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      • #4
        Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

        - High quality
        - Fresh roasted
        - Variety of blends & single origins

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        • #5
          Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

          I would think specialty coffee is coffee that is not mass-marketed e.g. not available in supermarkets. Typically sold by cafes and coffee roasteries to more discerning coffee drinkers.

          Its a bit of a subjective term as Ive seen what some might consider as specialty coffee on supermarket shelves.

          Also, specialty coffee does not always mean high quality even though it implies it.

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          • #6
            Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

            Special Coffee! Usually it takes training, equipment, consistency in roasting, freshness of the beans, friendly service to the customer etc. To my mind an approach which controls the process from the tree to the cup to achieve a special coffee. (This is from a consumer perspective)

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            • #7
              Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

              So then we all agree:

              There is no such thing as "specialty coffee" in itself.

              But there are "specialty...coffee roasters".

              All roasters have access to the same coffees. Its up to them what grades or qualities they buy and how they present themselves with the types of coffee they choose to be involved with. That is what makes them specialty...coffee roasters, or not.

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              • #8
                Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                I would actually say there are "specialty coffee roasters" and "specialty coffee cafes" all part of a chain, throw into the mix "specialty coffee growers".

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                • #9
                  Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                  I agree with you wrt cafes as well, but not wrt the growers. To them there is nothing "special" about it.. whatever it is that they grow in their area on their home turf, is their normal stock in trade.

                  It is the end market that decides whether it is "special" or not, and all markets differ. EG what is promoted by roasters and cafes as a great coffee variety in turkey, may well be looked upon as rubbish here.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                    Mmmm dont know any coffee growers but I know quite a few farmers in Australia and the difference in quality from one farm to the next can be very significant, I would think that some in an area would produce a better quality product than others. Hence the cup of excellence.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                      Specialty Coffee is graded, it is the highest grade available and under Scaa guidelines, which are quite complex, is basically (full) fault free in a 300 gram sample. So in reality coffee such as yirg etc, sumatrans and most naturals have a hard time getting in. Much debate and gnashing of teeth goes along with the whole concept however most coffees are not specialty especially here in OZ, CS excepted, as we are a blended market.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                        EggsZackary, the point being there is much gnashing of teeth ie disagreement - over the concept.

                        You can grade coffee beans to their standard if you wish ("...basically (full)  fault free in a 300 gram sample....) but it still has to "make the grade" of a decent cup of coffee at the end of the line in Joes cafe.

                        The proof is still - always - in the cup.



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                        • #13
                          Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                          i find it amazing how often the term specialty coffee is talked or used ....... but there is no exact parameter or definition for it....

                          this raises the question.... should there be a set parameter? or is there no meaning or difference to coffee and specialty coffee?

                          my thoughts lie in agreeance with all that has been posted so far.... in one way shape or form.... would love to know what the consumer feedback is with all coffee CS coffee drinkers... does the work specialty mean anything different to you rather than specialty coffee?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                            Specialty coffee to me is coffee that comes from an establishment that cares about the product they are producing, using quality beans, well cared for and calibrated equipment, a hands on approach to their business and a passion for coffee.
                            I think most CSers would come in this category as we are always striving to learn and improve from each other and have a passion for what we are doing.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

                              To me speciality coffee is coffee that has actually passed the roasters approval of what they would like to drink. Something they could be proud of, it has to be special.

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