• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google +
  • Blog

What’s So Special about Specialty Coffee?

What’s So Special About Specialty Coffee?

Growing up, I remember drinking coffee one of two ways: black or with cream and sugar. It was my basic “Cup of Joe” and I loved it. I still do, but today I have hundreds of varieties of coffee to choose from as the industry has grown to be $100 billion large worldwide. More than 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. That’s 400 million in the U.S. alone – and specialty coffee accounts for nearly half of that as its popularity continues to soar among coffee drinkers who are looking for something extra special in their cups.

Passionate About Coffee

The making of specialty coffee begins with a heaping helping of passion. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) says that specialty coffee is considered the highest quality in the world. That’s because the SCAA and its member companies are passionate about it. They see specialty coffee as something that takes a whole community of people – the farmer, green coffee buyer, coffee roaster, barista, and consumer – to create and enjoy. From seed to cup, everyone has a role to play.

Championed by the SCAA

Specialty coffee must also adhere to a stringent set of standards. The SCAA was founded in 1982 by a small group of coffee professionals who were looking for a set of common standards, as well as a way to share knowledge and information with everyone at every step of the coffee-making process.   Today, the SCAA is the largest coffee trade association in the world with over 2,500 company members. It champions and promotes specialty coffee, provides members with resources and education, conducts research, and remains committed to meeting the challenges of this ever-changing industry.

Supporting Coffee Farmers

One of specialty coffee’s most important challenges is supporting the farmers who grow the plants and harvest the beans that make up the world’s coffee supply. Historically, many small-scale coffee farmers in developing countries like Peru, El Salvador and Columbia, weren’t getting a fair price for the product they grew. This left them suffering from hunger, poor working and living environments and poor health — making it difficult to care for their farms or families.

Thanks to the Fair Trade movement things are improving as alternative markets now exist that guarantee small farmers fair prices and sustainability. In addition, much of the coffee world has rallied around Fair Trade and is working with the Fair Trade Organization and other advocacy groups worldwide to provide support.

Created in the Coffee Belt

Many experts believe that coffee was first discovered in the mountains of Abyssinia, known today as Ethiopia, more than 2,000 years ago. Today, most coffee comes from a part of the world called the Coffee Belt, which includes countries like Ethiopia, Brazil, Kenya, Haiti, Peru and dozens more. This area was made for making coffee as it provides the perfect combination of rich soil, mild temperatures, rain, and shade needed for coffee trees to thrive. As you might expect, each region produces beans of different flavors and aromas. For example, beans grown in Brazil tend to be dry, spicy and sweet, while those grown in Guatemala are richer with hints of chocolate and smokiness. The flavor and aroma combinations are seemingly endless.

That’s how it’s possible for so many different types of coffee to come from only two main varieties – Arabica and Robusta. They make up the lion’s share of the coffee we consume. Arabica coffee beans are sweet, sugary and acidic. Robusta coffee beans tend to have a stronger taste and contain twice the amount of caffeine than Arabica coffee beans. Arabica beans are used to make about 70 percent of the world’s coffee.

Unlocking the Magic Within

All coffee beans begin green. It’s not until they are roasted that their true flavor and aroma are revealed. According to the National Coffee Association (NCA) roasting causes chemical changes in the beans as they are brought very quickly to high temperatures. Once the beans are properly roasted, they are quickly cooled to stop the process. Most roasters have their own names for the coffees they produce, but they generally fall by color into four categories:

  • Light – light brown in color, used in milder coffees, no oil on the surface of the beans
  • Medium – medium-brown in color, a stronger taste than a light roast, a U.S. favorite
  • Medium Dark – dark in color, small amount of oil on the surface of the beans, a hint of bittersweet
  • Dark — very dark in color, an oily surface, bitter taste
  • Click here for an infographic that provides more detail on each of these roasts, and click here for a video that takes you “inside” the coffee roasting process.

 No Shortage of Choices from Grande Kaffe

From four categories of roasts come countless varieties of coffee – and there’s no shortage of options when ordering from Grande Kaffé. This specialty coffee brand was created out of the desire to deliver the freshest gourmet specialty coffee direct to the doors of people who want and expect the best.

We source green coffee beans from every coffee-growing country in the world. The beans are roasted locally in small batches to exacting roast profiles to ensure ultimate freshness.   Once roasted the coffee is air cooled and promptly vacuum packed to maintain the richness, flavor and aroma that is unique to Grande Kaffé.

Once only sold in retail specialty stores, Grande Kaffé is now available online in 23 flavors. Our coffee is packaged in 1 pound bags. A special collection of five flavors is also available in single-serve cups. Find your favorites and place an order today.