What Is Specialty Coffee? All You Need to Know

What Is Specialty Coffee? All You Need to Know

If you are a coffee lover, you have two options to choose from: regular coffee or specialty coffee.

But, What Is Specialty Coffee? 

The term “specialty coffee” refers to any coffee that is rated 80 points or higher out of a 100 point scale by a licensed Q Grader (CQI) or a certified coffee taster (SCAA). 

Specialty coffee is held to higher standards and is of higher quality than regular coffee. It all depends on:

  1. How the coffee was grown.
  2. At what altitude.
  3. At what time of year.
  4. When it was picked. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about specialty coffee

Where Did Specialty Coffee Originate? 

Specialty coffee dates as far back as the early 1900s. The phrase “specialty coffee” was first used in the 1970s in an issue of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal to describe coffee beans of the best flavour - right after the opening of the first Starbucks store. 

Since then, coffee has been transformed into a unique, pleasurable drinking experience. Improvements in roasting technology and the growing demand for superior coffee have made coffee lovers around the world crave the specialty coffee taste. 

What Differentiates Specialty Coffee From Other Coffee?

Want to know what specialty coffee’s secret is? Specialty coffee is created when all those involved in the coffee value chain work together to focus on the highest quality standards from bean to cup, whereas regular coffee is usually mass-processed. The common process of specialty coffee production is as follows:

Specialty coffee is largely grown in South and Central America, Asia, and Africa because of the ideal altitudes and climates. 

The distinctive flavours of specialty coffee are a direct result of the different soils in which they are produced. The farmer who produces specialty coffee beans dedicates his entire life to perfecting the best coffee in the world. For them, it is about quality over quantity and connecting their carefully-grown coffee with the finest buyers. 

The coffee is then transferred to a green coffee buyer who assesses its quality and taste, gives it a specialty grade, and develops tasting notes to be placed on the coffee’s packaging. 

Then, the coffee is distributed to a specialty coffee roaster who may hold an SCA certification to ensure they have the skills necessary to extract the highest standard of flavour from the bean. 

After the coffee has passed all inspections, it is passed along to the highly skilled baristas to deliver delicious, tasty, and special coffee the consumer will love. Finally, you complete the lifecycle as the consumer who is committed to delicious coffee. 

What Is Specialty Coffee Consumed Predominantly? 

Specialty coffee is considered mainstream in Australia and New Zealand largely due to a long history of espresso consumption. Even though specialty coffee is hardly ever sold in major coffee chains in North America, consumption of high-quality coffee has significantly increased across the seas.

Europe, accounting for one-third of global coffee consumption, has seen a spike in demand for specialty coffee. In 2016, Europe’s fastest-growing restaurant category was specialty coffee. Asia is also expected to soon represent the world’s largest consumer of specialty coffee. 

Where Can You Buy Specialty Coffee?

Di Stefano offers a wide range of specialty coffee beans that are roasted fresh to provide you with the highest quality flavour. 

Our specialty blend is perfect for your morning or afternoon coffee with a bold taste paired with notes of cherry and lemon for a one-of-a-kind drinking experience. 

Shop our collection of specialty coffees today!