What's Special About Specialty Coffee?

What's Special About Specialty Coffee?

Cupping scores are a reliable measure of the quality of coffee, an internationally recognised measure by the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America). The system, based on a 100-point scale allows coffee lovers to gain insight into the quality of the roast through classifications from very low "off-grade" coffees through to "super premium speciality coffee". The SCAA defines specialty coffee as "the highest quality green coffee beans roasted to their greatest flavour potential by true craftspeople and then properly brewed to well-established SCAA developed standards".

To be classed a speciality coffee, the roast must score 80 points or above, a standard that only 5% of coffees worldwide meet. We are proud that our cupping score averages above 84, reflecting the speciality quality of our coffee. 

Speciality coffee refers to the complete process from farmer, to cup, to roasting, to extraction. Speciality coffees are generally grown at higher elevations (in our instance, the Andes Mountains in Peru) in traceable locations and processed carefully once harvested. Every production component from growing to brewing is carefully monitored, to produce the best cup of coffee possible. 

The cupping process uses a standardised methodology to assess a coffee's cup characteristics, which in turn allows consumers to evaluate prices based upon genuine quality. In its' simplest form, cupping involves pouring hot water over ground coffee, and evaluating it based upon its aroma and flavour. Modern cupping processes are highly precise, requiring perfectly ground coffee, exact water temperature, and other specific conditions to ensure an accurate flavour profile and aroma is produced.

 Image: Water being prepared for one of our cupping sessions in Peru

The scoring process involves the cupper rating specific attributes of the coffee:

Image: Essential attributes rated during the cupping score process (coffeechemistry.com)

Assessment of specific aspects of the coffee means that a balanced total score can be reached. Any defects are then subtracted from this score to calculate the final score, which is a comparable measure against other brands to assess overall quality of the coffee. We are proud that our coffee score sits competitively against our competitors, reflecting our true Peruvian flavour and genuine high quality.

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