The specialty coffee industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with demand increasing and new cafes popping up worldwide. This is great news for coffee lovers who’ve long been disappointed by the taste of cheap or standard versions of their favorite brew. However, with so many specialty options, you might wonder if it’s worth spending more on a specialty version of your favorite drink. After all, it’s not exactly cheap to buy a cup that costs three times as much as the standard stuff. Does a more expensive cup of coffee taste that much better? Fortunately, the answer is almost always yes. Specialty coffee tastes much better than standard versions of the same drink because it’s not just more vital – It’s also prepared in different ways to bring out its natural flavors and aromas. Here are some other pros and cons to help you decide if spending more on premium brews is worth your time or money.
What Is Specialty Coffee?
Specialty coffee is simply coffee that has been carefully processed and produced to a certain standard. It’s been roasted and brewed to highlight its unique flavors and aromas, and the finished product is very different from the standard coffee you can buy at supermarkets. Typically, specialty coffee comes from small-scale producers who focus on quality over quantity. They use better growing and harvesting practices and carefully select the best beans to produce a product that tastes great and has a high price tag to match. Specialty coffee can come from almost any country, but the most common places are Central and South America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. Because these regions have favorable growing conditions, they produce some of the tastiest coffee. There’s no single type of coffee that’s considered a specialty. Coffees are graded based on their quality; some are considered specialty grades even if they’re commonly sold as standard brews.
Special preparation techniques
One of the main reasons specialty coffee tastes better than standard brews is that it’s prepared in different ways. This can include everything from harvesting the beans to grinding them, filtering them, and brewing them. Most of the time, specialty coffee is roasted longer than standard coffees. This is because the beans are first dried using rotating drums or a hot air process, so the moisture is removed. Then, the beans are roasted at a lower temperature for longer to bring out the natural flavors. Standard coffees are often roasted at a high temperature to speed up the process, resulting in a bitter taste. Rather than being ground right away, specialty coffee is usually aged in more relaxed environments to allow it to develop and ferment. This is called natural aging, which can help bring out the flavor and aroma of the beans. Standard coffee is often ground very finely, but this can result in a gritty texture and less flavor. Specialty coffee is ground much more coarsely, so it has a smooth surface with a full flavor.
Image credit > Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash
Specialty Coffee will taste a lot better
We’ve already discussed that specialty coffee is carefully processed to bring out its best flavors. While standard versions can taste bitter, sour, or watery, the same bean roasted and brewed with the same care will taste much different. Standard coffees are often roasted quickly, without much attention paid to the process. On the other hand, specialty coffees are carefully selected and roasted to allow the beans’ natural flavors to shine through. After roasting, specialty coffee is often cooled slowly to prevent it from losing flavor. If it’s cooled too quickly, the coffee will taste sour and more like roasted grain. After grinding the beans to brew a smoother cup, more time is also required.
Quality control and transparency
The coffee industry is vast and growing every year. Unfortunately, that means there’s also a lot of poor-quality coffee. It can be challenging to know what you’re buying because coffee producers don’t have to be transparent about the quality of their beans. They can sell you a standard product and label it as specialty grade, or they can use marketing to convince you that coffee is high quality when it’s not. Specialty coffee growers are often more careful about what they sell. They have a reputation to maintain and have to prove to buyers that they’re growing high-quality beans. They can do this by sending samples to independent labs that test the beans for their quality and levels of caffeine and taste. This means you can buy specialty coffee confidently because it’s certified to be high quality.
Potential Health Benefits of Specialy Coffee
All coffee is a natural source of caffeine and antioxidants, but specialty coffees are often grown and processed better than standard brews. Specialty growers often focus on quality, while standard producers are more concerned with quantity. This can mean the coffee is naturally higher in antioxidants and other healthy compounds. Higher levels of antioxidants can help prevent certain diseases. Research has shown that the more antioxidants people consume, the less likely they are to develop conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Although more research is needed, some evidence is that drinking more coffee can reduce the risk of certain types of liver disease. This might be because antioxidants improve liver function and reduce liver inflammation.
Specialy Coffee has less waste
The specialty coffee industry is also more sustainable than the standard coffee market. Specialty growers focus on quality and producing high-yield crops, while standard growers are often driven by profit. This means they can use cheaper fertilizers and pesticides and don’t pay as much attention to the soil where the coffee is grown. Both types of coffee impact the environment because they need plenty of water, but specialty growers are generally more careful about how they use it. They also use less fertilizer and pesticides, meaning they have less waste to dispose of.
Image credit > Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash
Is the specialty coffee worth the price?
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to choose a specialty coffee over a standard brew. Specialty coffees are often grown in better conditions and carefully roasted and brewed to highlight their natural flavors. Most specialty coffee beans are also certified to be high quality and sustainably grown, meaning they’re grown without harming the environment. This doesn’t mean you should buy any old specialty coffee. It would be best if you always looked at the packaging to ensure the beans came from a good source. And if you’re buying whole beans, make sure they’re fresh. Specialty coffee isn’t always more expensive but is usually more consistent in taste and quality.
Specialty coffee is essentially a higher-quality version of regular coffee. Specialty growers are more careful about the conditions in which their beans are grown and pay attention to the details during the harvesting and roasting process. This can lead to a more consistent product that tastes better, is healthier, and has less waste. Specialty coffee is an excellent choice for anyone who loves coffee, but it’s essential to choose the right beans. Look for a seal that says “organic” or “fair trade” to ensure you’re getting an eco-friendly, high-quality product. And remember, it’s essential to store the beans properly so they taste as good as possible. They can lose flavor quickly, so you should keep whole beans in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Main image credit > Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash