Specialty Coffee: What is it? Why buy it?
Hello Everyone! In an effort to create a better understanding about what Collective Coffee does and why we do it we are hosing a three part series on specialty coffee. In this series will talk about the What, Why & How of how we work to provide high quality coffee to our beautiful city and look forward to being a bigger part of our community in the future!
What is Specialty Coffee you ask?
Arabica, or Coffea arabica, is technically a shrub that produces small fruits which hold the coffee bean that we all enjoy. The farms that grow coffee can be found in equatorial regions around the world. You have your prominent and more well known regions to the traditional coffee drinker, like Colombia & Guatemala, that produce coffee with the familiar boldness in their aroma and body. A journey to African coffee, like Ethiopia & Kenya, will take you to a "fruity cup" with notes of citrus fruits or florals bringing a new, exciting experience to the coffee we drink.
What sets Specialty coffee apart from its counterpart in a can at your local grocery store?
The answer is rather simple: quality. In order for coffee to be considered specialty grade it has to be the best of the best. This means that each coffee scores above 80 on the Specialty Coffee Associations' score sheet (our inner nerd really shows here). Because it is grown with quality in mind, there are fewer farms that grow it and less of it to send off to roasters like ourselves.
Specialty growers can be found in most countries that farm coffee. Even though these places are thousands of miles apart, they have in common impassioned growers, how they are cared for and where they are planted.
The Arabica plant is somewhat delicate so when harvesting the coffee fruit farmers usually harvest by hand to maintain the integrity of the coffee bean.These farms are generally in a mountainous region, as elevation has a large impact on how a bean develops inside the fruit.
The higher elevation, the harder & more dense the bean becomes. Hard beans tend to have a higher concentration of sugars & because of the this, they can produce more desirable and distinct flavors. Several factors contribute to the increased concentration of sugars in coffee grown at high elevations:
- harsh growing conditions slow the bean’s maturation process and provide time for complex sugars to develop
- fast drainage down the mountain reduces the amount of water the coffee plants can soak up and, in turn, how fat their cherries can become
- fewer plants survive at higher elevations, reducing the likelihood that disease will spread to coffee plants
WHAT we try to do at Collective Coffee during every single roast is to bring out these distinct and pronounced flavors. We want those flavors to create an intriguing experience for you every time you drink a cup of Collective. You will taste notes of chocolates and cherries, or apricot and cocoa, without adding anything synthetic to the cup.
If you're a coffee drinker looking for a new & exciting experience, we recommend you try a bag of the Kenya . With notes of Papaya, Grapefruit, Honey, Carmel & Dark Chocolate with a medium body, this makes one special cup of coffee for you to enjoy with a book or a small group of friends.
We are really excited to bring this level of coffee to our wonderful town! Please stay tuned for our next blog about WHY we believe so much in what our team is so passionate about!