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Speciality Coffee: A Guide to a Better Brew

Speciality coffee has taken the world by storm, with coffee lovers everywhere seeking out unique and high-quality coffee blends. But what exactly is speciality coffee and why is it worth seeking out?

In this guide, we'll explore its history, the different types of coffee beans, and how to taste and evaluate coffee like a pro. (If you live in the US or Canada, you will know this coffee as speciality coffee)

Barista Pouring Coffee
Speciality Coffee: A Guide to a Better Brew

What is Speciality Coffee?

Speciality coffee is defined as any coffee that scores above 80 points on a 100 point scale. This term is used to describe coffee that is grown and processed with care, using high-quality beans and roasting techniques to produce a unique and exceptional flavour. Usually produced in smaller quantities and with a focus on quality, unlike regular coffee, which is often grown in large quantities and subjected to mass-production techniques.

The History of Speciality Coffee

Speciality coffee has its roots in the early days of coffee production, when beans were grown and processed in small micro-lots by local farmers. However, it wasn't until the 1980s that the term "Speciality Coffee" was coined, and the industry began to take shape. Improvements in agricultural, roasting and brewing technology, along with an increased demand for high-quality coffee due to growing numbers of daily consumption of coffee and the growth of speciality coffee shops on the high streets, has seen the industry grow rapidly, with coffee lovers everywhere seeking out the unique and exceptional flavours that these coffees have to offer.

Types of Coffee Beans

There are two main types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are known for their mild and nuanced flavours, while Robusta beans are known for their bold and robust taste. In the world of speciality coffee, Arabica beans are the most commonly used for high-quality coffee as they are grown in a variety of regions and climates, producing a wide range of flavours and aromas.

How to Taste and Evaluate Coffee

Tasting and evaluating coffee is an art form in itself, and it takes time and practice to develop the skills needed to do it well. When tasting coffee, it's important to focus on the aroma, flavour, and body of the coffee. Aroma is the first thing you'll notice when you smell your coffee, and it can provide clues about the type of coffee beans and the brewing methods used. Next is the flavour, think about the broader flavours you are tasting, is it earthy, nutty, floral or sweet? The Body refers to the texture of the coffee, and it can range from light to heavy.

When evaluating coffee, it's important to consider the entire sensory experience, taking into account the aroma, flavour, and body of the coffee.

You may also want to consider the roast level, which can affect the flavour of the coffee, and the origin of the coffee beans, which can provide insight into the distinctive flavours and aromas of different regions.

Coffee Flavour Wheel Featured Photo By: The Specialty Coffee Association of America

In conclusion, speciality coffee is well worth exploring. Whether you're a coffee lover or just starting to discover the world of speciality coffee, this guide will help you appreciate the history, types of coffee beans, and techniques for tasting and evaluating coffee.

So, next time you're in the market for a better brew, consider seeking out a speciality coffee and delve into some of the most exciting and tasty coffee in the world.

Do you want to learn more about speciality coffee? Chat with one of our team today and learn more about coffee and how we can work together.


Please get in touch. You can call on 0845 355 3388, or send us an email

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