Specialty coffee is a term for coffees that meet high standards of quality, flavor, and processing, usually from single-origin farms and small producers. Hand-picked and carefully roasted to reflect the origin and terroir (environmental factors affecting growth) of the beans, specialty coffee offers unique flavor profiles that are a step above your typical coffee chain brews.
It's also about the craft, passion, and ethical sourcing. Forget about generic Joe and explore the world of specialty coffee.
In many cases (not all, of course), by choosing to drink specialty coffee, you can enjoy a delicious, high-quality brew with a taste profile that generic coffee can’t match, and you can help to empower small-scale farmers, roasters, and retailers who are committed to providing an outstanding quality product.
Specialty coffee is an investment in sustainability and ethics that supports producers, roasters, and consumers, so don't be afraid to pay a bit extra for a bag of quality beans. The aroma of coffee can be attributed to one of the 36 aromatic profiles, which determine its quality.
Specialty coffee is generally more expensive than faceless, low-quality store brands, and, to be honest, it can seem exclusive. But don't let the seemingly inaccessible world of specialty coffee aficionados intimidate you. Experiment with different origins and flavor notes and you enjoy your cup of coffee the way you want to.
Learn the basics and your coffee drinking experience will go a long way. Simple V60-style drip coffee makers are selling in larger numbers and more complex home espresso maker sales are also on the rise. It’s not hard to start experimenting with third wave coffee roasts. And with modern roasting machines for home use, you can even fine tune the roasting process to suit your particular taste and style.
Sophisticated coffee drinkers may judge your brewing choices or jargon, but you do not need to be a connoisseur to love the experience.
Experiment with coffee bean origin, flavor notes, brewing methods, and roasting time (if possible) to find your ideal style and taste of specialty coffee.
The next time you're in a coffee shop, try something new. Ask for a specialty coffee recommendation and be ready to explore the world of flavor, community, and craftsmanship. Enjoy the journey and you may become a coffee connoisseur.
Specialty coffee is the creme-de-la-creme of the coffee industry, representing 37% of the US market and is widely considered to be the highest quality coffee in the world. With a staggering value of $30-32 billion, it has a sizeable market share of nearly 50% in the US coffee industry. Arabica, the primary coffee variety used in the specialty industry, dominates the US and emerging markets, such as China, Brazil, and India, where coffee consumption is on the rise.
The flavor of coffee is affected by factors such as soil, altitude, and climatic conditions. There are reportedly over 10,000 varietals of coffee in Ethiopia alone. The Specialty Coffee Association of America has developed strict protocols to ensure that there are no defects in the beans and has established quality standards for transportation, storage, roasting, packaging, and preparation.
The specialty coffee industry also has close ties with coffee farmers, positively impacting over 125 million people. Brazil surpassed the US as the largest coffee-consuming country and has remained the world's biggest coffee consuming and producting nation.
Coffee consumption is highest among 18 to 39 age group, with 40% of people between the age of 18 and 25 and 54% of 25 to 39-year-olds drinking coffee daily.
Specialty coffee's popularity is on the rise, and with its high quality, ethical, and sustainable practices, it's no wonder that coffee lovers are gravitating towards this premium coffee experience.