“Specialty coffee” was first used in 1974 by Erna Knutsen in an issue of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. Knutsen used this term to describe beans of the best flavor which are produced in special microclimates. Specialty coffee is the term commonly used to refer to “gourmet” or “premium” coffee. According to the SCAA, (Specialty Coffee Association of America), coffee which scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale is graded “specialty.
The term specialty coffee has extended to include all steps in coffee handling and preparation from growing and harvesting to brewing. Specialty coffee beans need special treatment and handling in order to offer the consumer the best experience.
Here are the most important steps in the specialty coffee supply/preparation chain: