Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    82 Abbotsford Road, Bowen Hills, QLD, 4006
    Posts
    179

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

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    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. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    82 Abbotsford Road, Bowen Hills, QLD, 4006
    Posts
    179

    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...... :)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    5,113

    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

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

    KK

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    539

    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

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

  5. #5
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    4,027

    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    921

    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)

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    69

    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.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    921

    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".

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    69

    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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    921

    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.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    18

    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.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    69

    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.




  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    82 Abbotsford Road, Bowen Hills, QLD, 4006
    Posts
    179

    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?

  14. #14
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
    Posts
    3,156

    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.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Werribee, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    737

    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.

  16. #16
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Internet
    Posts
    16,685
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

    Great topic Phil!


    Per SCAA (because AASCA dont create these types of standards) the grading of "specialty coffee" is:

    Specialty Grade Green Coffee
    Specialty green coffee beans have no more than 5 full defects in 300 grams of coffee. *No primary defects are allowed. *A maximum of 5% above or below screen size indicated is tolerated. *Specialty coffee must possess at least one distinctive attribute in the body, flavor, aroma, or acidity. *Must be free of faults and taints. *No quakers are permitted. *Moisture content is between 9-13%.


    Primary Defect Num. = equal 1 full defect.
    Full Black 1
    Full Sour 1
    Pod-Cherry 1
    Large Stones 2
    Medium Stones 5
    Large Sticks 2
    Medium Sticks 5

    Secondary Defect Num. = equal 1 full defect.
    Parchment 2-3
    Hull/Husk 2-3
    Broken/Chipped 5
    Insect Damage 2-5
    Partial Black 2-3
    Partial Sour 2-3
    Floater 5
    Shell 5
    Small Stones 1
    Small sticks 1
    Water Damage 2-5

    And while thats a good starting point for the grading its far from perfect. *

    For example, the secondary defect of "Insect Damage" being 2-5 beans in a 300g sample is crazy for an organic coffee. Less than 5 secondary defects would if it has 25 insect damaged beans in 300g its no longer specialty grade. *Often I joke that "organic" translates to "full of worm holes". *Does that stop it from being a specialty coffee? *I dont think so.

    Another example of the SCAA grading problem is that a 300 gram sample of coffee could contain all of this muck:

    1 Large Stone, 1 Medium Stone, 1 Large Stick, 4 Medium Sticks, 1 Parchment, 1 Hull/Husk, 4 Broken/Chipped, 1 Insect Damage, 1 Partial Black, 1 Partial Sour, 4 Floaters, 4 Shells, 1 Water Damage


    ...and still pass specialty coffee grade even though it looked like floor sweepings.

    Is Jamaican Blue Mountain Specialty coffee? *For sure.

    Is the Yemen Bani Ismail Specialty coffee? Not according to the above but I think it is.

    Can a roaster produce specialty coffee from something that does not meet the specialty coffee grade? *Sure.

    I think the term specialty coffee is often tossed around by anyone that can identify the source of their coffee. *

    I do like some of the replies in this thread that view specialty coffee as a mind-set, a level of care, a desire to get the best from a bean. *

    Its a little fluffy but maybe that is what true specialty coffee is?


  17. #17
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Internet
    Posts
    16,685
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....


    Quote Originally Posted by 25040F08122B2C610 link=1234225091/8#8 date=1234242977
    ... not with 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.
    I dont quite agree. The Cup of Excellence is a great example of many growers having a "special" part of their plantaion dedicated to producing amazing coffee. From pruning and crop management to sorting and grading, this coffee has often had double or triple the labour to try and make it excellent.... and the payback can be huge to a farmer if their 20 bags of coffee end at the top of the auction heap.

    Of course the very same farms will produce tonnes of standard coffee which might also be specialty grade but maybe not quite as "excellent".

    ;)

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    437

    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

    Before I found CoffeeSnobs, as an average occasional coffee drinker, it meant nothing to me.

    Now, Id look at a specialty coffee twice and tick a number of checkboxes in my head (my own list) before considering whether to buy it. So, I guess, it still doesnt mean much to me, but it gets my second glance.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    82 Abbotsford Road, Bowen Hills, QLD, 4006
    Posts
    179

    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

    Andy your a star....... the gren bean standards will not always match whats in the cup if the rest of the process is not strictly adhered to... ie. roasting, storage etc.....

    what has been great with this discussion is that the mindset of the consumer has been addressed...... in my experinece so far in this industry i believe the consumer is the key to ensuring that coffee companies lift their game.... if drinkers demand better (whatever that may mean to the individual)... then we roasters must lift the bar.....

    how exciting when things get better and better 8-)

  20. #20
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Internet
    Posts
    16,685
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: Specialty Coffee.... What exactly is it....

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 664B60474E4E43220 link=1234225091/18#18 date=1235621791
    how exciting when things get better and better
    ....and a CoffeeSnob can get a drinkable coffee when they are away from home.

    8-)



Similar Threads

  1. coffee specialty shops in sydney.
    By lachier in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 24th May 2012, 06:59 PM
  2. Good Value Specialty Coffee
    By jerrycl in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 5th February 2012, 08:48 AM
  3. Good specialty coffee beans in the UK?
    By Chuck in forum General Coffee Related...
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24th March 2010, 07:49 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •