What exactly is Specialty Coffee and how is it graded?

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In this post we want to explain to you a bit about what we mean when we say our coffee is specialty coffee, perhaps you’ve seen the concept around in coffee shops or in the coffee aisle of supermarkets. Let’s break it down:

Specialty coffee is exceptional quality coffee that has been farmed to a significantly higher than average standard. It is the highest grade of coffee available. 

This grading is set through specifications by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) at every stage of the coffee production. Such specifications are compiled in the Green Arabica Coffee Classification System and their Defect Handbook, which defines exactly what are considered defects for Evaluation purposes. 

Some minimum requirements for a specialty coffee are: 

  1. Coffee should have been hand picked by selective picking of mature beans.
  2. Having scored 80 or above on the 100-point Coffee Review scale. 
  3. The number of defects in the beans: to be considered specialty, a coffee must have no more than 5 defects per 350gr of milled beans.

The Coffee Review scores coffee based on a standardized scale designating points ranging from 6-10 in ten different categories (like aroma, flavor, acidity, balance, etc). Then the scores get summed together to get a final score, as follows:

  • 90-100 is graded Outstanding 
  • 85-89.99 is graded Excellent 
  • 80-84.99 is graded Very Good

Our coffee is colombian specialty coffee that has been graded by a certified Q Grader, this is an individual who is credentialed by the Coffee Quality Institute to grade and score coffees utilizing SCA’s standards. 

Our coffees have been graded 85, this is Excellent grading specialty coffee straight from the mountains in Colombia. Try them all, pick your favorites and keep receiving them at your door every month!

coffee coffee cupping coffee grading

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