Many people think that speciality coffee is expensive, and most people who drink coffee every day only know about commercial coffee. Some people might not even know there is a difference between regular coffee and speciality coffee. They think instead that all coffee is bitter and sour.
The most important difference between the two is how they are grown and made ready to eat. Speciality coffee is made with more care and attention, while commercial coffee is usually made in large quantities.
What is speciality coffee?
Speciality coffee, also called gourmet coffee, is the highest-quality and best-tasting coffee. This means that there must be strict controls all along the supply chain to make sure that the highest quality is maintained at every step. The third wave of coffee has brought more attention to speciality coffee.
Beginning in the early 2000s, the third wave of coffee changed the way coffee is presented. Many people now think of speciality coffee as handcrafted, just like expensive wines and cheeses. This made people want both high-quality beans and cups of coffee. No longer is it only about how the coffee tastes. It’s also about how it’s grown, picked, and made into food.
Specialty coffee comes from coffee-growing countries between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, mostly from South and Central America, Africa, and Asia.
On a more technical level, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has a detailed rating scale to figure out if coffee is a speciality or not. This scale is similar to Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale in many ways. Speciality coffee has a score of about 80 out of 100, and the best coffee has a score of more than 90. Also, coffee must meet at least three of the following criteria to be called a speciality coffee:
- The coffee must be harvested by hand.
- Scores 80+ points on the SCA grading scale.
- It must have less than 5 defects per 12 ounces.
Now, the definition is changing to include more checks on things like sustainable farming and the environment. How good can coffee be if it is grown with chemicals that are bad for the environment and people?
What is commercial coffee?
Commercial coffee is coffee that is made in large quantities, roasted, and sold in large quantities by big brands. Most people know about coffee from the coffee they buy in stores. Most of the time, it comes as instant coffee.
Speciality coffee is made with more care than commercial coffee, but commercial coffee is often more acidic and bitter. Commercial coffee is more like a good that can be bought and sold. People trade it on the stock market, and big national and international brands sell it in bulk. On a scale from 0 to 100, commercial coffee gets 75 points or less.
Difference between speciality coffee and commercial coffee
There are several differences between commercial and speciality coffee:
1. Type of beans
Arabica and Robusta are the two most important types of coffee. 60% of the market is made up of Arabica, which is the most popular type. Arabica beans are more valuable because they taste better and are less bitter. Robusta beans become harder and more bitter as they grow.
Most commercial coffee is either all Robusta or a mix of Arabica and Robusta, but speciality coffee is made from only Arabica beans.
2. Speciality Coffee Production cost
The price is one of the most obvious differences between regular coffee and speciality coffee. Specialty coffee costs more because it takes more time and works to grow and process. Also, it is harder to grow because it is Arabica. So, there are fewer crops to harvest, which makes the price go up even more.
Specialty coffee costs more because every step of the process, from roasting to packaging, is done with care. Everything is done by hand and in small batches, which makes everything more expensive. This is good because it makes everything clear at all levels and makes sure that the final product is of high quality.
3. Origin of grains
Between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are the countries where most of the world’s coffee is grown. Most speciality coffees come from this part of the world. Your coffee’s taste and overall quality are affected by where it comes from. The final flavour is affected by things like the climate, altitude, type of soil, and other growing conditions.
Many people, especially those who drink a lot of coffee, care about where their food comes from. Single-origin specialty coffee is a big market, and the origin is the most important thing about it. On the other hand, commercial coffee is often bought from more than one market to keep costs down. But this makes a flavour that isn’t clear and has a lot of different tastes.
4. Collection conditions and quality control
The method of selection is one of the most significant differences between commercial and specialty coffees. To make specialty coffee, only handpicked red berries should be used. We can ensure that only the best cherries are picked and that as little damage as possible is caused by picking them by hand. However, this necessitates a substantial amount of human labor, raising serious concerns about fair trade and working conditions. Speciality coffee can help improve working conditions by placing a higher importance on fair trade than on making coffee a commodity.
Commercial coffee can also be picked by hand, but most of the time, this is done by machine to save time and money. In the selection process for speciality coffee, skilled workers take extra steps to get rid of any bad cherries. This makes it easy to keep an eye on the quality of speciality coffee.
So, which is the best? Speciality coffee is the best way to enjoy the taste of coffee. The convenience of commercial coffee comes at the cost of unfair working conditions, poor quality control, and harmful farming methods. When you buy a speciality coffee, you know exactly when and where it was roasted and what it will taste like. In the end, it’s the best choice for both coffee drinkers and the coffee business.