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Speciality Coffee

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Specialty coffee is a term used to refer to coffee that has scored over 80 points on a 100 point scale by the SCAA (Speciality Coffee Association of America). Specialty coffees are marked differently from regular coffee beans as they are grown at higher elevations, they can be traced back to it’s origins. Specialty coffee is carefully monitored after harvesting it, from growing them to brewing a cup, this is to improve the quality at every step of the way, rather than cutting corners.

Coffee growing countries are now focusing on improving their quality at the farm level in an effort to improve their cup scorings. Countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Columbia are considered the Mecca for specialty coffee, but there are also smaller countries like India and Japan who are avidly picking up on the trend. Chikamagalur, in Karnataka, is home to some of the best arabicas in India.

In 1974, the term ‘Specialty’ was first used in a Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, to describe beans of the highest quality, which are produced in special microclimates. These beans are grown at the right time, and the place, i.e. high altitudes with good soil and at the right time of the year. These beans also get special care even while harvesting it. Because of the attention and care that they require, specialty coffees are sold at a premium and bought by roasters or coffee traders directly.

Do not confuse ‘Specialty coffee’ with ‘Gourmet Coffee’ as there are no standards that gourmet coffee has to adhere towards. In order to qualify as a ‘Specialty coffee, the beans have to be graded by certified coffee tasters, they’re known as Q Graders.

Just as the demand for single-origin coffee is showing a significant increase, likewise, the market for specialty coffee has grown from 9% to 34% in the span of a decade in America. The UK market for ‘Specialty Coffee’ is also seeing a 13% growth every year.

But wait, there is good news for North American, European lovers as well! Due to better coffee education and introduction to the new micro-roasters, demand for India’s specialty coffee has also seen significant growth.

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