What Is Specialty Coffee

You hear me talk about specialty coffee a lot, but what does it really mean?  There are two answers to that question; there is a technical and a philosophical answer.  

The technical answer as quoted from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is:

To be considered specialty grade, green coffee shall have zero category one (1) defects and five or less category two (2) defects.

Their green coffee standards are well documented.

The philosophical answer is that specialty coffee is the responsibility of everyone involved in the "chain of custody" of a coffee and that includes the consumer.  Specialty coffee is about quality, which involves traceability to the source, the means of processing the coffee, the cultivar or varietal that produced the coffee, the importer who carefully transports the coffee to it's destination country and stores it appropriately.  It involves the distributer who works with roasters who in turn select and roast the coffee always with quality in mind.  And finally, it involves a conscientious, informed consumer who chooses specialty coffee to support the entire chain and to preserve the concept that quality should be sought and encouraged.  And for the consumer it goes beyond just purchasing specialty coffee — it includes properly brewing the coffee using the right gear and the right processes to achieve a truly delicious and unique cup of coffee. 

Here at Oil Slick, we're dedicated to helping inform and educate the consumer on what it means to be a part of that chain of custody.  It would be easy to simply provide specialty coffee for purchase but our passion is fueled by the opportunity to share with others what we learn about coffee so that others can enjoy coffee as much as we do.  

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