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What is Specialty Coffee?

Have you ever wondered what is specialty coffee? Why has there been such an uproar over specialty coffee in the past decade? Let us explain to you what it is all about.

The technical definition of specialty coffee is Arabica coffee with a cup score of 80 points and above.

All coffee beans are graded out of 100 before export. This grading is done by certified professionals called Q Graders. They grade the coffees through a process called “cupping” where they taste and analyse the coffees according to a specific score sheet formulated by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

SCA Cupping Scoresheet

In addition, the presence of defects in the green, unroasted coffee beans will detract from the scoring. If there is a full defect present in a 350gram sample of the coffee, the beans are automatically disqualified from specialty status.

Specialty Grade samples must have zero Category 1(primary) defects and no more than five Category 2(secondary) defects.

SCA Defect Guide

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