We have explored the importance of a great cup of coffee, but what about the coffee bean itself?
Coffee Roasting has been around for well over a century, recently consumers in all aspects of the market are no longer settling for basic or ordinary coffee and demand choices, more information and a far more transparency between farmers, green coffee merchant, roasters, resellers and consumers. Savvy businesses have identified the gap in the market and begun ramping up coffee roasting, namely specialty in order to cater for the coffee consumer demanding the best quality coffee bean.
Basic Explanation Coffee Roasting
For the unaware reader, roasting Coffee is the transformation of fresh green coffee beans into a roasted bean. Prior to a coffee bean becoming the beautiful tasting beans we know, they begin as either Arabica or Robusta. The farmers pick the raw beans and leave them to ripen. To reach a particular flavour profile , coffee connoisseurs of the world partake in what is called ‘roasting’. After being exposed to a rapid increase in temperature the coffee beans begin excreting oils & flavours from inside. The 3 types of roast are light, medium & dark roast
Over time roasters worldwide have identified the demand for a varying and often newer approach of ‘specialty’ coffee beans. Although there is no definition of what exactly makes a coffee roast ‘specialty ‘, it is widely graded using the Specialty Coffee Associate of America’s (SCAA) grading system. Usually beginning from 75 up to a maximum of 100. Some of the key grading aspects include:
- Fragrance / Aroma
- Overall Impression
What makes specialty so unique?
Usually speciality coffee is derived from a single origin, meaning the overall quality of the coffee beans are consistently similar instead of being sourced from multiple locations. What this does is ultimately caters towards a selected consumer. This is hugely beneficial for the coffee drinker looking for a specific aroma and flavour profile coffee since they are going to receive a consistent coffee bean.
In turn, what this then does it creates value to the coffee beans instead of a generic black bag coffee bean meaning buyers are happy to pay a premium. Now consumers are being given options which for so long they have demanded. This is becoming the industry trends with in other markets specialty products have exploded. Simply look at the growth in craft beers and you will understand the importance in catering to a specific specialty customer.
What does all this mean?
What does that mean for you, the coffee drinker? Well since competition has increased, roasters are striving to have the best quality roast. Meaning, consumers are now beginning to have a large vary of options and an increased quality.
Manufacturers are also now beginning to produce machines far more complex to suit the requirements of the specialty roast. Pressure profiling, multiple boiler group heads, temperature adjustments and bigger baskets, all of these are just some of the features traditional machines didn’t have.
The consensus is really an exciting one for all of us in the coffee industry. Every aspect of the industry is growing. The difference is the producers and roasters are shifting towards the values of the consumer and reacting to cater for them.
Look around Melbourne and you will find an abundance of specialty coffee being supplied to consumers in cafes at a premium price. Ultimately, consumers are happy to pay more for a specific coffee they enjoy and roasters should be paying attention to this.