Coffee, a beverage enjoyed by millions worldwide, has evolved beyond the ordinary into a realm where each sip tells a unique story. In recent years, the term "specialty coffee" has gained prominence, leaving many curious minds to ponder: What sets specialty coffee apart from the regular cup of joe we're accustomed to? Today we aim to explore the nuances that distinguish specialty coffee from its more commonplace counterpart.
Defining Specialty Coffee
At its core, specialty coffee is a distinction earned through exceptional quality, meticulous cultivation, and a commitment to preserving the inherent flavours of the coffee beans. Unlike regular coffee, which is often a blend of various beans, specialty coffee emphasizes single-origin beans sourced from specific regions around the world. The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) grades coffee on a 100-point scale, with beans scoring 80 points or above considered as specialty.
The Journey from Farm to Cup
One of the fundamental differences between specialty and regular coffee lies in the journey from farm to cup. Specialty coffee places a strong emphasis on the entire production process, from the cultivation of the coffee plants to harvesting, processing, and roasting. Specialty coffee producers often employ sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, fostering a relationship between growers and roasters that goes beyond mere transactions.
Flavour Profile Distinctions
The flavour profile is where specialty coffee truly shines. While regular coffee often delivers a consistent and familiar taste, specialty coffee boasts a wide range of distinct flavours, influenced by factors such as the coffee's origin, altitude, and processing method. Enthusiasts can explore a spectrum of taste notes, from fruity and floral to chocolaty and nutty, enhancing the overall coffee-drinking experience.
The roasting process plays a pivotal role in determining the flavour and aroma of the final cup. Specialty coffee roasters are known for their expertise in carefully roasting beans to highlight the unique qualities of each bean. Lighter roasts are favoured in the specialty coffee world, allowing the delicate flavours of the beans to shine through, whereas regular coffee is often associated with darker roasts that can mask the individual nuances.
In the world of coffee, specialty coffee stands as a testament to the dedication and passion of those involved in its production. From the cultivation of single-origin beans to the roasting process and ethical sourcing, specialty coffee offers a rich and diverse experience. As we savour each sip of specialty coffee we celebrate the unique flavours that make each cup a work of art.