WHAT IS SPECIALTY COFFEE?
The term "Specialty coffee" was first used in 1974 by Erna Knutsen in an issue of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. Knutsen used this term to describe beans of the best flavor which are produced in special microclimates.
Specialty coffee is the term commonly used to refer to "gourmet" or "premium" coffee. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded "specialty." Specialty coffees are grown in special and ideal climates, and are distinctive because of their full cup taste and little to no defects. The unique flavors and tastes are a result of the special characteristics and composition of the soils in which they are produced. The specialty segment is the most rapidly growing portion of the coffee industry.
To promote and self-regulate the industry, growers, exporters, roasters, retailers and equipment suppliers have established trade associations. These associations exist in both coffee-consuming and producing countries.