Specialty coffees are the best in the world and make up only a small percentage of all coffee produced in the world. Their existence is conditional on a chain of professionals who put quality at the top of their priorities.
These coffees are typically grown through careful production methods, the berries are often hand-picked at just the right times and are grown in special soil such as near volcanoes or in areas with special climates. But the care that is put into these beans doesn’t stop at harvest. The processing method is also often used to sort for the best beans.
After the green beans are produced they are often purchased by green coffee buyers at a higher price than normal beans. These buyers are usually licensed by the Specialty Coffee Association as licensed Coffee Tasters or by the Coffee Quality Institution as licensed Q-Graders.
Strictly speaking, specialty coffee is coffee to which a coffee taster or Q-Grader has given a score of 80 or above out of 100. In practical terms, this means that the coffee is evaluated through strict criteria by its acidity, sweetness, mouthfeel or finish, etc. This system is the industry standard introduced by the Specialty Coffee Association.
However it takes much more to create specialty coffee. It includes the whole chain of individuals, from the farmers to the consumer. Yes, you the consumer too!
The next stop on this coffee’s journey are the specialty roasters. These roasters have completed hours of training and coursework to learn the knowledge required to bring out the best flavour profile for the specialty beans. These are the people that skillfully roast each batch of coffee depending on its origin and characteristics. It is an art of its own that requires a lot of experience to get right.
Online Coffee Platforms
This is the subset that we operate in as ColdHotDrinks. We serve to aid the specialty roasters of Switzerland to reach more specialty coffee consumers and help new coffee lovers discover the best local roasters! All while educating many newcomers to the world of specialty coffee.
The barista is the final step of the quality assurance process. The coffee has passed 3 levels of quality inspection already but the process is not yet completed.
In order for the quality of the bean to be reflected and brought out effectively in the brew, the barista must have trained to gain the necessary skill and knowledge required. This includes not only using the brewing equipment effectively, but also being informed about the origin of the bean and how that flavor profile could be brought forth in the brew.
If the specialty beans are not brewed properly it’s possible that its true potential could not be brought forth. Which leads us to you, home brewers. Read more from our blog for guides on how to be your own barista!
The Specialty Coffee Consumer
You are in the value chain too, you know. It is consumers like you who make sure the other professionals in this chain can continue to produce the best coffees in the world.
By taking the time to learn about brewing at home and buying specialty coffee or listening to your barista tell you about the passionate work of everyone that made the cup in your hands possible you not only commit to a higher standard of value and taste for the coffee but also for the people who contributed along the way.