You’ve probably noticed that we mention that all of our coffee is ‘specialty-grade’.
Yep… We say it a lot.
For those curious as to what it actually means and how it translates to better coffee in your cup, this article is for you.
Ok! Let's dive in:
Why We Grade Our Coffee
Quality assurance is an essential aspect to the way we run our business.
The purpose of evaluating each of our coffees to ensure it meets a certain standard, every single time, and so we can be confident that you, the consumer, are getting what you paid for and be compelled to say:
“Wow, that’s some damn good coffee”
Having a set standard makes the subjective become objective.
Grading coffees helps ensure:
- Quality (and determines imperfections)
- Consistency, and
- Allows us to better profile and combine coffees for exotic (and delicious) flavours
If a coffee makes the grade, a rigorous process as we’ll explain next, it has a much fuller and complex taste with little to no defects compared to non-specialty coffee.
Oh and specialty coffee should not be confused with 'gourmet’ or ‘premium’ coffee. The latter being marketing terms with no defined standards.
Thank you, Wikipedia.
(If you want to learn more about what makes specialty coffee so special, then click here.)
Our Grading Process
For this we turn to the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s cupping protocol (a fancy way of saying coffee tasting).
These guys are the real deal.
They set the worldwide standard to determine all coffee lucky enough to be considered specialty.
Our coffee is graded across nine areas.
Check out our example below using our Costa Rican bean:
Each cupping session takes around 30 minutes.
Repeat this process twice.
And do it across three different coffee experts and average the scores using the SCAA criteria...
Which looks something like this:
That’s six individual cuppings just for a single coffee!
We follow this process with every single one of our coffees. If it manages to meet the specialty grade criteria, then and only then do we consider offering it to you.
What is the specialty grade?
Any coffee with a cupping score equal to 80 or above can be classed as specialty.
And that's a wrap, folks.
We hope you enjoyed this little insight into our world and prompts you to think next time you see labels like gourmet and premium on your coffee..
"Does this actually mean anything?"