What is Specialty Coffee?

January 20, 2017

What is Specialty Coffee?

So what is the actual meaning of specialty coffee? You have most likely heard about “premium” or “gourmet” coffee before, but it is not exactly the same.

The term “specialty coffee” was first used in 1974, by a woman called Erna Knutsen. It describes coffee beans made of the best flavor and are produced in special microclimates. A microclimate is a local set of climate, but it is different from the other climates in the surrounding areas. It could be as small as a few square meters such as a cave. Microclimates actually exist in most places, and they are not as rare as you might think.
The microclimates help the coffee beans to achieve a unique flavor due to the special and different climate. That is why the specialty market has risen its market share from 1% to 20% during the last 25 years. That is a huge growth, and the more new producers and retailers the better.

Specialty Coffee Trade Associations

Specialty Coffee Trade Assocations are made to promote and self-regulate the industry. Let us take a deeper look into Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). The US market is the most developed market at the moment, and the SCAA really helps the market grow.

Itzalco Fine Coffee Association of El Salvador in 2007

Itzalco Fine Coffee Association of El Salvador was a diverse group of Salvadoran coffee producers, processors, and exporters.
They promoted coffee with a focus on exceptional quality, environmental concern, and social empowerment. The Arabica coffee was grown along mountain ranges with volcanoes. They produced arabica species only, such as Bourbon, which was 80% of the plantations in 2007. Pacas was grown at 15% of the plantations and the rest included Pacamara and other varieties such as Caturra, Catisic and Catuai.

Specialty Coffee Association of America

Specialty Coffee Association of America rate from a scale of 1 to 100 points, and coffee rated between 80 or 100 points are considered “specialty” coffee.
It was founded back in 1982 and has members representing them in over 40 countries. They recognize, developing and promote specialty coffee in this industry. Their market research helps the industry define a quality standard and assist education along with other services for their members.
The community organize events and activities, and if you want to know more, then head over to their website at SCAA.org or at their Wikipedia.

Where can I get Specialty Coffee?

If you are interested in purchasing specialty coffee, just do a quick search on Google, and there will most likely be several local growers and retailers near you.

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