What is Speciality Coffee?
It starts with a good quality coffee bean that is planted at the right time and the right place to produce a quality coffee. Like wine, where you speak of a terroir, you'll have the same with coffee, every region, soil, climate, the variety of coffee gives a different flavour to the coffee.
After 3 to 4 years, the coffee plant gets the first ripe red fruits that can be picked up.
Coffee is generally picked by hand. This can be selective (one by one) or strip picking (when the picker put their hand around the base of the branch and then pull their hand along it, taking all berries off the branch). The last method is faster, but it means that unripe berries are picked too, which must be sorted out later. Picking by hand (selectively) only the ripe berries are picked and the immature berries are left behind to be picked when they are ripe. It may also be that the coffee beans are picked mechanically, in this process the immature berries will be sorted out in a second step. This because it's too expensive to let people manually harvest, or because people want to live in the city, go to college and do not want to work on farms.
After picking, the berries are processed as quickly as possible. Three common ways of processing are the dry method (Natural), the semi-dry (Honey) or the wet (Washed) method.
After the coffee is dried, it is sorted by size and weight. Damaged, defected and discoloured beans are removed. When sorting and other quality checks are done, the coffee is packed in 60-kilogram bags (this may vary by coffee and land).
After this, the coffee is tested for quality. This test is called cupping. Cupping is a standardized method for determining the quality of the coffee. When the coffee reaches a score of 85+ points, it can be called Speciality Coffee (according to the SCA (Speciality Coffee Association) standard).
Then the coffee beans are roasted, this is the slow roast method. Slow roasting is roasting coffee in a traditional way, this takes between 10 and 15 minutes and ensures that the coffee bean is given the time to properly develop all aromas and flavours. There is also the so-called Flash roasting, which makes great industrial burns; In a very short time, sometimes in 90 seconds, the coffee is roasted at high temperatures. This flash roast will have a negative impact on the taste because the coffee does not get the time to develop.
After roasting, the coffee must degas (carbon dioxides and other gases) and then packed as quickly as possible to maintain the aromas and flavours. A little loss of carbon dioxides and other gases is good for coffee, coffee can also be too fresh. The coffee is at best up to 3 months after the date of roasting.
To get the best out of the coffee, it is wise to buy whole beans and grind the beans at home just before you make your coffee. This is to ensure that the aromas are also in your cup of coffee or espresso. About 60% of the coffee aromas will disappear within 15 minutes of paint. When you buy grounded coffee, you might consider buying a coffee grinder, manually or electrically. Of course, we keep on grinding the coffee for you! But keep in mind that the taste is less than freshly grounded coffee.
Brewing coffee is an art by itself, the proper water-coffee ratio is important. You can make a whole coffee brewing study, but just making a cup of coffee is enough for most people. Make your coffee with love, and before you take the first sip, think about the journey the coffee made for you.