Specialty Coffee

Specialty coffee should not be confused with “gourmet” or “premium” coffee.These are simply marketing terms with no defined standards.

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 with 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 Coffee Association of America, established in 1982, and with members in over 40 countries worldwide, has set very strict industry standards when it comes to scoring Specialty Coffee.

These standards are set by a Standards Committee and to borrow a quote from their website…

“It is a quantifiable and qualifiable measure, based upon scientific testing, which set values and/or ranges of values for coffee”

For a more in-depth look please click on the link below and visit the SCAA website, just CLICK HERE.

Cupping coffee is the process of evaluating and scoring brewed coffee. “It is a quantifiable and qualifiable measure, based upon scientific testing, which set values and/or ranges of values for coffee”

This is where Q-Graders (Quality Graders), or master tasters, certified by The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) blind test the coffee and award scores based on fragrance, aroma, flavor, acidity, after taste, body, balance, sweetness, cleanliness and uniformity.

Each section is analyzed and broken down in detail, awarded points from 1 to 10 and independently scored by dozens of Q Graders.

Aroma alone can be described as animal like, ashy, burnt, chocolate, earthy, floral, nutty, woody and even spicy.

Again for a more in-depth look please CLICK HERE.

There are currently over 3,500 certified Q-graders worldwide, and growing! The Q Coffee System identifies quality coffees and brings them to market through a credible and verifiable system.

This system allows Specialty Coffee farmers (like ICFC) to have their coffee tested against industry standards to ensure that they get top dollar for the coffee and are rewarded for years of hard work, with the focus on coffee Quality, not just Quantity.

This is our focus here at International Coffee Farms.

The retail value of the U.S coffee market is estimated at $46 billion dollars a year, with Specialty Coffee comprising approximately 51% volume share but nearly 55% value share. Up from only 1% almost 25 years ago and surpassing non-specialty for the first time ever.

Up from only 1% almost 25 years ago and surpassing non-specialty for the first time ever.

According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO) demand for coffee is set to increase by 25% over the next 5 years.

“Consumption is increasing as societies in India, China and Latin America continue to be Westernized,” the ICO’s executive director Roberio Silva told theWall Street Journal.

To promote and self-regulate this growing industry, growers, exporters, roasters, retailers and equipment suppliers have established trade associations. These associations exist in both coffee-consuming and coffee-producing countries.

Among the countries that are famous for producing excellent specialty coffee are Ethiopia, Kenya, and here in Panama.

How is Q Grading coffee reflected in the price?

At the end of the day coffee is a commodity. It is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world after oil (in dollar terms)!

When you are watching Bloomberg in the morning and you see coffee scroll across the bottom of your screen, this is the New York “C” market index for commercial coffee.

But Specialty coffee that scores 80 points and above when cupped by a CQI trained Q-Grader, meeting strictly set SCAA standards, sells for 5, 10, 20, and even 100 times that price.

QUITE THE DIFFERENCE FROM COMMODITY COFFEE!

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A bit about us…
In our first 2 1/2 years of operations, January 2015 until now, we acquired and now operate 10 coffee farms, totaling 100+hectares (250 acres) with plans to acquire another 50 hectares in 2018. Come and join us on this journey!