WHAT IS SPECIALTY COFFEE?
Specialty coffee is recognized for its numerous distinctive attributes and, because of these attributes, has significant extra value to consumers who regard their coffee as experiential.
The term ‘Specialty Coffee’ is used to refer to coffee graded 80 points or above on a 100-point scale by a certified coffee taster (SCAA) or by a licensed Q Grader (CQI).
Specialty coffee has been cultivated for years, grown at the perfect altitude, at the correct time of year, in the best soil, and then picked at just the precise time. For a coffee to qualify as “specialty” it must have zero Primary defects and less than five Secondary defects. All this translates into the most delicious and exciting coffee in the world.
Equally important is the Specialty Coffee value chain and the focus on equitable pricing for farmers.
Meet the People Who Devote Their Life’s Work to Specialty Coffee
Specialty coffee consistently exists through dedication of the people who make it their life's work to continually keep quality as their highest priority. This is the work of many people and processes in the lifecycle of a specialty coffee bean. Specialty only occurs when all those involved in the coffee value chain work in congruence, while maintaining a primary focus on standards and excellence from start to finish; quite literally, from seedling to cup.
The Coffee Farmer
Specialty coffee begins with the small producer - likely a family who has spent generations perfecting their approach to farming the highest quality beans possible.
Grown in select altitudes, climates, and soil – then cultivated for years before even the first harvest - the producer who creates specialty coffee devotes his or her life to refining and perfecting, literally, the highest quality coffee on the planet. For these farmers, it is quality not quantity that is most important. Only beans free of defects, and picked at peak ripeness, continue to the next set of hands that continue to shape them. For the farmer, being able to connect and transact with conscious, quality-minded buyers provides sustainable and critical income, ultimately ensuring their ability to continue to maintain a viable business.
The Green Coffee Buyer
From the farmer, “green coffee” is next transferred to the green coffee buyer who has been certified, typically through the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). They have a palate as distinguished as a master sommelier, and can keenly identify coffee quality via “cupping,” a systematic tasting of brewed coffees. Through cupping, the coffee taster will assess a bean's score, ultimately determining whether it is specialty grade quality, then creating the tasting notes and descriptions for the coffee’s next phase. The green coffee buyer plays a critical role in communicating the characteristics of the beans to the roaster (the next phase).
Specialty grade beans are next transferred to the coffee roaster who likely has also been certified by the SCA completing hours of coursework and rigorous hands-on training to learn the art and science of skillful specialty bean roasting. Coffee roasting is an art that requires a high degree of knowledge and experience to produce specialty level roast profiles. Coffee must be closely monitored throughout the entire roasting process. Scientific principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics and coffee chemistry are applied to ensure the highest standard of quality and flavor come through in the final roasted bean.
Us (High Vibration Coffee Company)
Once the specialty coffee beans are ready for our customers, they have already passed three levels of inspection, ensuring the highest level of quality control; however, the process is not yet complete. We are the final “coffee professional” in the supply chain to guarantee the lifecycle of our specialty beans is complete. We, too, are members and students of the SCA, continually on an education and knowledge. We partner very closely with our Roasting Partner to remain deeply connected and completely informed as to the origin of our beans, including how their flavor profiles will be revealed in brewing. It is our job to communicate coffee characteristics as well as the grinding and brewing procedures that will ultimately allow your cup of coffee to reach its full brewed promise.
You (Our Customer)
Of course, it is YOU who completes the lifecycle of the specialty coffee bean by actively seeking out and choosing specialty coffee options that appeal specifically to you. When our customers take the time to find a coffee company dedicated as much to bean quality as they are to the people whose hands, passion and dedication produced the cup you enjoy so much, it demonstrates not only a commitment to a higher standard of quality of taste and flavor, but also a commitment to a higher standard of living for every person who contributed along the way!