What is specialty coffee?


When you look at specialty coffee you need to understand what defines specialty coffee. It's essentially how the coffee is graded on the 100 point scale for coffee. For the coffee to be considered specialty coffee it needs to score a minimum of 80 out of 100. This grading system has been designed to ensure the quality can have a standardised measurement and thus specialty coffee should not be confused with "gourmet" or "premium" coffee which are marketing terms with no defined standards.

Specialty coffee isn't down to luck on the grower's behalf. It's a fine art that is continuously developing through education and experience. Specialty coffee is grown in high altitude areas with ideal soil and the perfect climate. The specialty coffee is then traded for its quality as opposed to commodity coffee, which is traded in quantity.

There are so many factors that affect the quality of the coffee and the best way to ensure quality is through education. Working with farmers is a great way to ensure sound processes and systems are in place to harvest the coffee. With direct trade and responsible sourcing of coffee, our roasters work closely with the farmers to ensure a quality harvest as well as ensuring the farmer gets paid well to continue producing specialty coffee. Transparency and traceability are at the forefront of the specialty coffee industry. When you order coffee with an obscure name, it's usually that of the farmer who harvested it or the station it was processed in. When you buy coffee, you should know exactly where that coffee comes from!

When you buy specialty coffee you can ensure that the farmers are treated well and paid well for the harvest they produce! All of the coffees on The Coffee Exchange are specialty coffees! Our roasters are proud of showing where their coffee comes from!