Speciality coffee and the coffee beans used can technically be grown in most regions with favourable conditions, however, what makes it unique and a true speciality coffee, is the process that it goes through from berry to through to roasting before it lands on your counter. Coffee lovers, enthusiasts and anyone who enjoy's a cup of joe every day, will find coffee has different tones, texture and after-tastes. If you think you’re regular coffee is good, you may well be surprised at what speciality coffees can bring, it truly is a whole new experience!
One of the things that set speciality coffee apart from the rest of the coffee out there is that it is made with a rich history. A region can have its speciality coffee inspired by its culture, origins, climate and other elements that make the particular area unique from the rest of the world. Therefore, if you want a taste of say Colombia, get a speciality coffee in or from Colombia. The unique attributes that make up our speciality coffee is always on the label as well as the card insert with all the vital information which makes it unique such as the process, altitude and varietal.
The next most significant thing that makes speciality coffee “special” is its process. There are many different processes such as natural and washed, each with their own nuances. Whatever the process, you can be sure it involves a passion for quality, along with the dedication to process the perfect coffee bean, all to ensure that your cup of coffee and every sip is as good an experience as the last.
The first step of the speciality coffee process is production. It begins with the farmer who will nurture, grow and finally harvest the beans. Coffee farmers are usually backed by generations of perfecting coffee farming to harvest the highest quality coffee possible.
Coffee farming is already a process in itself — factors, such as altitude, climate, among others, are heavily considered for cultivation to begin. It could take years of effort and nurturing before farmers are able to harvest a speciality crop of ripe and ready coffee berries, which means farmers take a lot of time to refine and perfect the coffee before they take it to the next step.
Coffee farmers then take their harvested coffee to buyers. These buyers aren’t just people who enjoy coffee, but instead, they are certified and some cases licensed, to taste, test, evaluate and grade the coffee depending on the quality of the beans. With that said, they of course have a distinguished palate, and they can quickly yet thoroughly identify the quality of coffee via a systematic approach. Buyers will then distribute the coffee and communicate the information about the coffee to the next buyer who will sell it in global and local markets.
Coffee roasting is an absolute art and an experienced and certified roaster is able to bring out flavours and tones which would otherwise stay locked away. It's the coffee roaster who will also ensure that the beans are roasted with the correct roasting profile depending on how it will be used (espresso, filter, pour-over, cafetiere etc). During the roasting process, the coffee will be closely monitored and protocols and scientific principles such as how quickly heat is increased and for how long, will be applied to the coffee to ensure the highest quality.
Once the coffee passes through the roasting stage, it goes through several levels of inspection until it reaches the frontrunner in the retail market — the barista!
The barista, unbeknownst to some, doesn’t only make coffee, but they play a vital role in the process of speciality coffee. Baristas ensure that the lifecycle of the bean is completed. Additionally, the barista is the one responsible for making sure that the coffee bean fulfils its specific brew. An experienced barista will use the right amount of beans, with the ideal grind, correct pressure and heat which together ensure that all the flavour tones are just right for the specific type of of coffee bean, creating a perfect coffee experience.
This part of the process is where you finally see the coffee enthusiasts and coffee lovers. These consumers are an integral part of the process because they help the people in the higher coffee value chain determine if speciality coffee is worth the process or not.
So, if you’re looking for the best speciality coffee beans online and in the UK, get in touch with us to see how we can help. We’re always happy to help! ☕