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When is speciality coffee not speciality coffee?

A recent article in Melbourne newspaper Broadsheet examined the rise of the term ‘specialty coffee’ (or speciality) and its subsequent overuse.

It seems like everywhere from coffee chains to service stations are now offering their own ‘speciality coffee’ and it’s leading many coffee producers to feel like this has diluted the term.

Talking to Broadsheet, Andrew Kelly of Melbourne’s Small Batch Roasting Co. explains ‘It’s like we decided long ago that everything better than ‘not complete s**t’ should sit in the same category.’

And he makes a good point. There are technical specifications that this term originates from that appear to have been lost along the way.

The article goes on to say:

‘So what do people mean when they talk about “specialty coffee”? Mostly they’re talking about “specialty-grade coffee” – a classification from The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) – meaning Arabica beans that score 80 or above out of 100 according to its strict criteria.’

While this level of detail is likely lost on your everyday coffee drinker, it’s true to say that lots of the ‘speciality coffee’ we’re coming across is not the quality level it claims to be.

As The Barista’s Operations Director, Matt, explains:

‘There has been such a level up in cafés that the ‘markers’ we used to look for have moved, and a decent café is harder to spot just from the kit they have. There has been an increase in start-up café owners buying the best kit, even if they have no idea how to use it, which again, makes it difficult to pick between a great café and a bang average one.

‘This must be a worry for roasters who want to be in cafés but want their product to be served well. As the standard increases they may have to withdraw from some of their older stockists if they’re not moving with the times.’


So, how can you tell you’re getting quality?

Well, start by choosing a mobile coffee provider who is 1) a coffee expert and 2) an events supplier. This is the only way to ensure that the coffee will be served to a standard that will set your business apart.

We are a team of trained baristas who know coffee – and we know our coffee. We blend, roast, grind, serve and drink our own coffee, day in day out.

Whenever we attend an event we are serving our own signature blend, roasted especially for the occasion. That means we know exactly how it should be served for the best possible experience. And made fresh to order, we believe there’s nothing better than good coffee served right.

Got an event coming up? We love working with new companies at their conferences, exhibitions and events. Get in touch for a quote or to find out more about what we do.


13 April 2017 - The Barista


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