What is Specialty Coffee?

What is Specialty Coffee?

In recent decades, there has been a significant shift in the way we perceive and enjoy coffee. What once was consumed mostly out of convenience and utility, is now revered and considered to be a sophisticated beverage. Specialty coffee emphasizes the quality and craftsmanship in the curation and brewing of coffee beans. Rather than mass producing coffee, there is a focus on supporting farmers and sustainability within the industry.

At its core, specialty coffee is distinguished by its exceptional quality and meticulous attention to detail at every stage of production. From the cultivation of the beans to brewing, every step is carefully managed to ensure the highest standards are met. Specialty coffee often begins with the careful selection of coffee beans that are graded anywhere from 80 to 100 points in a cupping score. Sourced from specific regions known for their unique qualities and flavor characteristics, these beans are then roasted to highlight their distinct flavors. Resulting in an array of tasting notes ranging from floral, fruity, fermented, chocolatey, nutty, and many more notes.  

One of the defining features of specialty coffee is its focus on sustainability and ethical practices. Unlike conventional coffee production, which often prioritizes quantity over quality, specialty coffee places a premium on environmental stewardship, fair labor practices, and community development. This commitment to sustainability extends from the coffee farm to the coffee shop, where consumers can enjoy their coffee with the peace of mind knowing that it was produced with integrity and care for the planet.

Specialty coffee also delves into innovative practices within the coffee industry. Unique processing methods have arisen in recent years, which have opened new doors in palate exploration. A notable producer working with these unique processing methods is Jairo Arcila’s farm in Colombia. 

With specialty coffee growing as an industry, Jairo Arcila and his sons were able to begin producing exotic and experimental coffees. Processing coffee beans with the addition of orange peels or peaches, and experimenting with fermenting coffee beans for extended periods of times, or even freezing the coffee during the processing. This form of innovation within the industry arose from a shift of perspective in what coffee could be to consumers.

Beyond the advancement of remarkable coffee being produced, specialty coffee has fostered a culture where people come together and create meaningful connections. Coffee shops and cafes have become communal spaces where friends gather, conversations flow, and ideas flourish. Whether you are a coffee aficionado or a casual enthusiast, there is a place for you in the vibrant world of specialty coffee.