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).
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.