Crops grown all over the world come in various qualities, depending on factors such as the climate, region, as well as the amount of care taken in growing them.
For example, the Japanese Yubari King melons, are some of the best, most delicious (and most expensive!!!!!) melons in the world – simply because farmers take extreme care and dedication in growing and nurturing them (ok sure, the ‘breed’ of the melon aka ‘cultivar’, is already of a certain ‘deliciousness’, but the amount of care and love it receives matters more than you think!).
SIMILARLY, coffee plants that are properly tended to and cared for produces coffee cherries (and beans) that are sweeter and tastier than those that are not.
To this end, coffee is objectively (as objectively as they can) graded on a 100-point scale by certified coffee professionals known as “Q-graders”. Q-graders are professionals that have gone through vigorous training so as to be able to accurately and precisely “cup” and grade coffee (“cupping” is a process used to determine the taste and aroma of the brewed coffee).
Coffees that are given a score of over 80 are termed “Specialty Coffee”, whereas coffees with scores below 80 are just…not…specialty coffee…
There is actually no proper term as to refer to ‘non-specialty coffee’ because it’s just…regular…coffee… but some of the common ones you may have come across are commercial, commodity, premium, or gourmet coffee.
These terms may be slightly misleading as it merely suggests that the coffee is not specialty grade, but this does not mean that they taste bad!
That said, there is definitely a spectrum of coffee bean qualities in ‘regular coffee’, with many different factors that could affect the quality of the resulting bean – most notably, the care that was taken during the growing and harvesting process. The lowest of the lot is usually used to make instant coffee.
Ok, so now what? Objectively speaking, yes, specialty coffee will taste better than regular commercial/commodity grade coffee. BUT! All of us perceive aroma and taste differently – one man’s meat is another’s poison! So really, specialty coffee may not necessarily taste better to us.
At the end of the day, what is most important is that we enjoy the cup of coffee that is in front of us.
If you are interested in venturing into the world of Specialty Coffee (or at least “better-than-kopi” coffee)… do consider trying our #dYScover collection! The #dYScover Collection aims to bring you on a journey of delicious, good quality coffee from around the world – specialty or not. This month, we visit the birthplace of Coffee – Ethiopia! Shop here for a taste of specialty beans from the region of SIdamo!