What defines specialty coffee? Great question and we know all about it.
At Chronicle, we only use specialty coffee. This means we source our beans from smallholders around the world that realize the importance of a green been translating to a fine cup of coffee.
According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the term “specialty coffee” refers to the highest-quality green coffee beans roasted to their greatest flavour potential by true craftspeople and then properly brewed to established unique flavour profiles. Specialty coffee in the green bean state is coffee that has no defects and has a distinctive character in the cup, with a score of 80 or above when graded according to SCAA Quality standards. All of Chronicle Coffee has a score of 80 and above.
Despite this specific definition, the term specialty has been used within the coffee industry for a long time and often far too easily. Almost every cup of coffee is now sold as a ‘specialty’ coffee, however, do they have the right grounds to be using the term? We say no!
To truly call it specialty, the roaster must then craft unique blends, combining beans in the exact proportions to ensure the individual characteristics of each origin to create a full flavour and perfect balance. The test of a true ‘master roaster’ is the ability to reproduce this unique flavour profile consistently, despite seasonal variations in green bean crops.
It doesn’t stop there; roasters must also ensure that their café customers receive the coffee at the right time for optimum extraction. Fresh coffee is alive and baristas are a vital part of producing the flavour profile that was intended by the roaster, so they need to be specially trained and have the right equipment. Despite this, currently many operators in the marketplace are fixated on viewing specialty coffee as just the product, rather than it representing a whole system. Facilitating this system is what makes a true specialty coffee company.
It’s not just a bag of beans…..