What is Speciality Coffee?

What is Speciality Coffee?

All green (unroasted) coffees are graded on a globally recognised scale of 0 -100

To be classed as a speciality the coffee must achieve a score of 80+



Specialty Coffee



Specialty Coffee


Very Good

Specialty Coffee


Below Specialty Quality

Not Specialty Coffee

Reasons why some coffees do not achieve this -

  • Diseased beans
  • Insect holes
  • Broken beans, Sour Beans, Black beans
  • Rotting and or rotten material

Supermarket coffee beans score between 65-80.

We use beans that score 85+

Low grade coffee is traded as a commodity on the New York Coffee exchange, Buyers secure the lowest price they can, and are unconcerned about provenance, quality, consistency.

Volatile prices produced from trading coffee this way means that farmers don't know how much they will receive for their crop and so they cannot plan. For the small farmer it is an unsustainable model.

What about Arabica? That means good coffee right?

Well, not quite. Once again, we have the 1980s advertising to thank for this misconception. There are two types of coffee. Arabica and Robusta

Robusta is easier to grow at low altitude and more disease resistant but generally the flavours are harsh and without complexity. There are few examples of Robusta achieving speciality status.

Arabica is grown at a higher altitude, which is harder to farm and nearly all speciality coffee is arabica, but not all arabica is speciality coffee. For example, the images above are both of arabica beans. Within arabica there are many varieties of bean, Catura Catuai, Bourbon and is what we list when we say ‘varietal’