Speciality coffee is a term that is thrown around often these days. It is becoming more common to find cafes and coffee roasters that offer “speciality” coffee and if you've visited some in the last months, you’ll surely have drank one.
Speciality coffee was born out of the third wave of coffee. This third wave, unlike the second and the first, focused on a few areas that were neglected or not considered that important until the third wave of coffee came. Sustainability, quality of the coffee, freshness, technique in brewing, ethical sourcing and long term relationship with the farmer and their community. You can read more about third-wave speciality coffee here
What you will have also noticed is that speciality coffee tends to cost more than your local supermarket or big chain coffee shop. But why is speciality coffee more expensive? And should I be investing in speciality coffees? In this article, we discuss this all.
Always freshly roasted
Coffee freshness is vital to the speciality coffee community. Coffee quickly loses it's freshness and reaches peak flavour within one week of roasting. Most supermarket coffee taste hollow because the coffee is way past it’s peak flavour and freshness. So to ensure you get the maximum flavours out of the coffee, we freshly roast all of our coffees so that you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee as it should be, full of flavour, every sip of the way. We also use independent roast profiles specific to each coffee that has been carefully created to bring out maximum flavours from each coffee bean. To learn more about coffee freshness and why it's so important, click here.
Coffee Beans graded SCA 80+
Raw coffee, before roasting, is normally graded by coffee experts. It is checked for defects, like an uneven shape of the beans, signs of insects attacking it, not having perfectly matured or not being fully developed. Those exterior signs have a significant influence on the final taste of the coffee. The coffee is also tasted after roasting and a score is given, considering the original defects and the final taste. On a 100 points scale, speciality coffee status is only given to coffee batches that score above 80. Less than 5% of the total coffee produced in the world score above 80 making speciality coffee not only of the highest quality but also of limited supply. All of the beans used at Kaphi Beans are speciality coffee beans that have been graded 80+. To read more about the SCA grading of coffee beans, click here.
Speciality coffee is ethically sourced meaning no exploitative means are used to lower its price when buying coffee from farmers, recognising the utter importance of the work the farmers do and the fundamental influence they have on the final taste of the coffee. Without extreme care for the coffee plant, a rightly timed harvest and careful processing of the coffee cherries afterwards, no speciality coffee can exist.
Farmers are paid more
We at Kaphi Beans coffee, like may independent speciality coffee roasters go the extra mile to pay our farmers more than fair trade prices. We also build long-lasting relationships with the farmers so that they can produce better coffee and build a thriving community from the additional income.
Traceability is important in speciality coffee, more than in any other types of coffee: as with a good wine, it’s possible to know the vineyard, the year and the way it was produced. With speciality coffee beans too coffee can be traced back, with extreme accuracy, to the very farm that harvested the coffee cherries, the origin, the way it was processed and how it was roasted. This kind of specialist knowledge and traceability has a direct impact on the costs of producing and procuring the beans.
The speciality coffee culture isn't only interested only in taking care of the hard labour of humans behind our cup of coffee but also in preserving the environment. Therefore, most of the packaging of coffee used for speciality coffee is of recycled paper, or fully recycled and recyclable plastic/aluminium. Additionally, coffee beans are shipped rather than flown in to reduce the overall carbon footprint. This attention is to maintain the coffee cultivation as a viable industry for the future, causing minimal damage to the environment, nor an excessive waste of materials and energies.
It's not that expensive
Given all the above, it is no wonder that speciality coffee beans cost slightly more. But when we talk about a higher cost. But it’s not as high as you expect. A cup of speciality coffee at home from Kaphi Beans* cost 46p per cup whereas a cup of coffee at Starbucks may cost £2.50+.
And in any case, speciality coffee is costlier for specific important reasons. Spending more to have a quality product that doesn’t exploit other human beings, is more attentive to the environment where it’s grown and just tastes better is 100% worth the price.
At Kaphi Beans we only sell speciality coffee beans, super-fresh (consumers receive coffee within 7 days from roasting). To check our range, click here. Make sure to grab your favourite speciality coffee before it’s gone!
*Without shipping cost