The Rise of Speciality Coffee

Speciality coffee is the pinnacle of what great coffee is all about. It sets the standard for the industry, helps to support coffee growing communities, and does nothing less than please those who drink it.  

So, what exactly is speciality coffee?

All coffee is graded against the SCA’s grading system, and for a coffee to earn the title of speciality, it must achieve 80 or above out of 100 and be free from any defects. Most speciality coffees are grown at high altitudes, with lots of care and attention from the farmers, which results in very defined flavour notes from those beans. The more defined the flavour note, the higher the score that coffee gets. For instance, some coffees might taste ‘fruity’, but in a speciality coffee you might be able to taste black cherry or peach, for example.

How does coffee become ‘speciality’?

Coffee goes through a very rigid process from crop to cup, which includes growing the coffee cherries, picking them, carefully processing them, all the way through to how they’re roasted. At every stage in its cycle, the farmer has to give the upmost care to the coffee cherries so to make sure nothing affects its quality, which even includes hand-picking the cherries rather than using machinery. Once it’s been picked and processed, the green bean then undertakes a visual inspection which checks for any defects, such as black beans and broken beans. Once the beans pass the inspection, it moves onto the cupping stage where it gets roasted to perfection and tasted by the Q grader who uses the SCA’s Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel to determine the flavours and grade within that bean.

When did speciality coffee become so popular?

According to the British Coffee Association, UK coffee lovers drink around 98 million cups of coffee every day, which has increase by 25 million since 2008. That’s a lot of coffee, and it’s only on the rise. As more coffee enthusiasts begin to learn about coffee and everything it has to offer, people are becoming more aware of the world of speciality coffee. As the demand for speciality coffee has increased, it has become more widely available within high street coffee shop chains and people are noticing the difference between that and commodity coffee, a lower ranked quality of coffee.

Top 3 benefits of speciality coffee 

If you haven’t already tried speciality coffee, here are some of the benefits to drinking great quality, speciality coffee.
  1. A fuller cup of coffee

Speciality coffee hasn’t got a high score attached to it for any old reason. The flavour notes, acidity levels and body all account for these coffees to be much more flavourful, aromatic, and well-balanced than a lower-graded coffee.


  1. Full transparency on your coffee

Speciality coffee roasters are able to know exactly where the coffee beans are from, so you’ll know which origin, region, and sometimes even farm your coffee was grown in. This helps anyone understand which origins they prefer their coffee from, as each origin’s soil affects the flavour notes in the coffee.


  1. Sustainable coffee
Working directly with the farms, roasters are able to help support the coffee growing communities through initiatives, fair living wages and any other ways which seem fit. This relationship hugely impacts the livelihoods of the farms and coffee growers, and anyone purchasing speciality coffee from roasters who support this movement is helping them do so.
At Bridge Coffee Roasters, we believe there’s so much more to speciality coffee than just great tasting coffee. We believe in helping and supporting those countries who grow our coffee beans, which is why all of our coffees, be it blends or single origins, are speciality coffee. And we believe any coffee lover should only be drinking the very best that coffee has to offer, to truly understand what it is all about. Why do we do this? For the love of coffee.

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