Coffee is a beverage that is loved by many people around the world. However, not all coffees are the same. Specialty coffee is a category of coffee that is fast becoming a favorite among coffee lovers around the world. But what exactly is specialty coffee?
Specialty coffee is a category of coffee that refers to high-quality coffee beans that are grown under ideal conditions and handled with care at all stages of production. These coffee beans are evaluated through a process known as “cupping”, where expert cuppers taste and rate the coffee based on factors such as flavor, aroma, body, acidity, and overall balance in the cup.
To be considered specialty coffee, the coffee bean must obtain a score of at least 80 points on a scale of 100. The grading process is rigorous and only beans that meet the highest standards can be considered specialty coffee.
We are going to analyze how each part of this process of specialty coffee production is influenced.
How is specialty coffee grown?
Specialty coffee is grown using careful agricultural practices that ensure the quality and long-term sustainability of the coffee. Below I will explain some of the most important aspects of specialty coffee cultivation:
- Land Selection: Specialty coffee is grown on land that provides ideal conditions for the growth of coffee beans. Soils rich in nutrients, adequate climate and altitude are some of the important factors to consider.
- Selection of coffee varieties: There are many varieties of coffee, and each one has unique characteristics. Specialty coffee farmers carefully select varieties that suit the climatic and soil conditions of their region.
- Planting: Specialty coffee beans are planted in evenly spaced rows to allow for proper growth of each plant. Planting density is also controlled so that each plant has enough room to grow.
- Plant Care: Specialty coffee plants require regular care, such as pruning, weeding and fertilization. In addition, specialty coffee farmers often use sustainable farming practices, such as crop rotation, to maintain soil health and reduce environmental impact.
- Harvest: The timing of the harvest is crucial to the quality of specialty coffee. Coffee beans are harvested by hand when they are ripe and ready for picking. This ensures that only high quality coffee beans are harvested.
- Processing: After harvesting, the coffee beans are carefully processed to preserve their unique quality and flavor. The processing process varies according to the region and agricultural practices, but generally includes the removal of the pulp and skin of the bean and drying in the sun or in special dryers.
- Sorting and grading: After the drying process, specialty coffee beans are carefully sorted and graded according to size and quality. The beans that do not meet the quality standards of specialty coffee are discarded.
The cultivation of specialty coffee requires a great deal of care and attention to ensure that the coffee beans produced are of high quality. From the selection of the land to the sorting and grading of the beans, every step of the process is important to produce exceptional coffee.
How is specialty coffee prepared?
Specialty coffee deserves special attention not only in its cultivation, but also in its preparation. Following, I will explain some important steps to prepare a delicious and well elaborated cup of specialty coffee:
- Select the beans: In order to obtain a high quality cup of specialty coffee, it is important to select the right beans. Look for fresh, high quality beans, preferably from a reliable source. You can look for coffee beans that indicate the region where they come from or the specific variety of coffee.
- Grind the beans: The adequate grinding of the coffee beans is essential for the quality of the coffee prepared. The size of the ground coffee beans varies according to the preparation method, and can affect the flavor and texture of the coffee. For a proper preparation, it is recommended to use a quality coffee grinder and adjust the grind setting according to the preparation method to be used.
- Prepare the water: The water used to make coffee is also important. It should be fresh, clean and free of chlorine taste. It is recommended to use filtered or bottled water. Heat the water until it is just below boiling point to avoid burning the coffee beans.
- Preparation Method: There are several popular methods of coffee preparation, each with its own unique characteristics and techniques. Some common methods include drip coffee brewing, French press coffee brewing, aeropress coffee brewing, moka pot coffee brewing, among others. Each method has its own technique and specific preparation time.
Adequate proportions: It is important to take into account the adequate proportion of coffee and water when preparing a cup of specialty coffee. The general rule is to use one tablespoon of coffee for every 180 ml of water, although the proportion can vary according to personal preference.
- Tasting: After preparing a cup of specialty coffee, take a moment to taste it and appreciate its unique flavor and aroma. You can taste the coffee as is or add a little milk or sugar, if you wish.
In summary, the preparation of specialty coffee requires attention and technique to achieve a delicious and well elaborated cup of coffee. Proper bean selection, proper grinding, brewing method, proper proportions and careful tasting are all important factors to consider when preparing an exceptional cup of specialty coffee.
There are many reasons why specialty coffee is so highly valued among coffee lovers. The unique taste and aroma, superior quality and care in all stages of production are just some of the reasons why specialty coffee is fast becoming a favorite coffee beverage around the world.
If you are a coffee lover, you may want to try specialty coffee to experience its unique taste and aroma. Also, if you are in the coffee industry, it is important to understand and appreciate the importance of specialty coffee in order to offer your customers the best quality coffee possible.
In summary, specialty coffee is a category of high quality coffee that is grown and handled with care at all stages of production. While it may not be easy to find everywhere, if you have the opportunity to try specialty coffee, it is definitely worth it.