The term “specialty coffee” originated in the 70s in the United States, to describe a rare, high-quality coffee.
Erna Knutsen was the first to give a name to the movement in an issue of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. She ceaselessly advocated for the values of quality, identity, and distinction in coffee.
After what, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) also gives a very precise definition of this precious beverage:
“Specialty coffees are defined as premium coffee-based drinks to which the consumer (in a specific market and at a given time) attributes a unique quality, distinct and superior taste and character compared to an ordinary beverage at coffee base. This drink is prepared using green coffee beans grown in specific areas, and meeting the most demanding standards in terms of production, processing, roasting, storage and preparation. ”
Coffee must therefore:
-Be rated above 80/100 according to their own scoring protocol
-Be traceable to the farm
-Selective harvest, the cherries are picked when ripe and sorted manually
-By definition, specialty coffee comes from fair trade for a sustainable and responsible economy.
In the early 2000s and with the emergence of the barista profession and the development of the artisan roaster, specialty coffee arrived in Europe.
Quickly compared to great wines, specialty coffee must reveal an aromatic complexity and very strict growing and harvesting conditions.
The coffee treeis a capricious plant, its cultivation requires a soil rich in nutrients and depends on a very particular climate. Coffee cultivation is therefore generally limited to regions of the world located between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, in a band called the Coffee Belt.
On an constantly evolving scene, Southeast Asia is emerging as an outsider and offering new flavours in order to take its place in a market invaded by Central Africa and Latin America. A new world of flavor is opening up to us to the delight of coffee enthusiasts.