What Is "Specialty Coffee"?

With the recent third wave of coffee on the rise – the era of increased demand by consumers for better coffee quality, better processes and an emphasis on sustainable coffee practices – it's no surprise that more and more people are swapping their supermarket coffee for specialty products.

But what sets specialty coffee apart from the rest?

Technically speaking, coffee can only be specialty if it grades above a certain score. This grading process is called "cupping", where coffees are scored for factors such as cleanness, sweetness, acidity, mouthfeel and aftertaste. According to the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), specialty coffee is Arabica coffee with a cup score of 80+ points.

Arguably though, the score a coffee gets is just the beginning of what makes it "specialty", the other important part being customer service.


“Drinking a specialty coffee that has been produced in the right way, and with all the added value that the supply chain aggregates, is the basis of a great experience. This experience is a combination of education, knowledge, and hospitality.” – Matt Milletto


The other side of specialty coffee then, is making the people who drink it feel special (that's you!) and delivering an amazing customer experience. A huge part of this is sharing where the coffee came from, highlighting why the coffee is distinctive and making the all-round experience better.

For us at Alpaca Coffee, that experience also means making sure our customers can enjoy specialty coffee that's planet friendly, meaning we take not only the coffee itself seriously, but also our plastic free coffee packaging! 

Take a look at our range of South American, single origin coffee and be part of the specialty coffee movement now!

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