What is Specialty Coffee?
🐐Amalthea Bean Basics📝: in case you haven’t heard, we roast #SpecialtyCoffee ☕✨ But what does that mean?
Specialty Coffee is not just some marketing term, it is a specific classification with high standards. Unlike mass-produced coffee, specialty coffee beans are meticulously sourced and chosen for their unique flavors, aromas, and qualities. These beans are generally grown in ideal climates at high elevations and are harvested with care, ensuring only the top-tier beans make the “cup”.
What are these high standards? 🌟
1. **Quality over Quantity**: To be specialty-grade coffee, coffee cherries are handpicked at the height of ripeness ensuring that the most flavorful beans are used–and that this is done so with care. These beans generally grow at high altitudes in naturally fertile mountain areas, meaning the total land area around the world that meets these conditions is already limited. Some of the most famous coffees come from mountain regions in Eastern Africa (such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda), Central America, South America, and others along the “Coffee Belt” (such as Jamaica, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hawaii, etc).
Note: mass-produced and over-produced coffee company chains might mention the country the beans are from to sound more specific or “special”, but just being from “Colombia”, for example, does not mean the coffee is specialty grade. Cheap coffees can be produced in the same countries, but in areas where the land and labor are also cheap: at the lower elevations in soils that are less nutrient-rich and by using mass-harvesting machinery which cannot distinguish between ripe and unripe fruits. They often also lack “fair trade” practices meaning workers are not necessarily entitled to proper working conditions and wages.
2. **Sustainability**: We prioritize farms that follow eco-friendly and socially responsible practices like “shade-grown” (environmentally friendly) and fair trade (worker friendly). This combination ensures the quality of the coffee plant itself and fair working conditions and wages for the workers at the farms and farmer co-ops we source from.
3. **Traceability**: You can trace the journey of your specialty coffee from the specific farms and regions they are grown in (not just the country), to us in our roastery, straight to your cup.
4. The **Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)**: This international organization sets standards for “specialty coffee” ensuring excellence every step of the way. This grants us additional resources, training, and even certifications–so you know it’s not just us saying our coffee is “special”, our beans and roasting training & knowledge really do meet specific specialty standards ✅
5. Our own experience. We’ve learned a lot through our combined decades of coffee experience. Prior to roasting, we were baristas and coffee shop owners who specifically trained and worked with specialty coffee. As such, we know how good coffee should taste and it is something we are dedicated to providing all of our customers.
6. The taste difference is real: in our opinion, specialty coffee is how coffee is supposed to taste. The natural, real taste of the coffee fruit after drying and roasting (topics for another post). They offer a range of flavor notes from fruity and juicy to nutty and chocolatey, and a huge spectrum of other taste experiences. When you sip black coffee from mass-producers, the result is usually bitter, chalky, burnt, or just dull–no wonder it needs to be masked with added sugar or milk. On the other hand, sip on a specialty coffee from a specialty roaster and you get a noticeably tastier, vibrant, flavorful beverage that’s actually intended to be enjoyed black! And while you can certainly still add to it if you’d like, many people find they can use less of those additives than they do with bitter tasting coffees…which can result in added health benefits.
So the next time you sip on your Amalthea brew, remember – it’s not just coffee, it’s a journey, a story, and a commitment to excellence–one you’re now a part of. 🌱☕️💫🐐
Stay tuned for more of our Amalthea Beyond the Beans to keep your coffee knowledge growing.
#AmaltheaRoasters #CoffeeJourney #BeyondtheBeans #specialtycoffee