What Is Specialty Coffee?

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) created the term specialty coffee which allows coffee to be scored and graded.  The scale ranges from 1-100. Anything over 80 is considered specialty coffee while anything below 80 doesn’t receive a score. The beans have been graded by certified coffee tasters, also known as Q graders. 

There are a number of different physical defects that can effect the score (and flavor) of coffee beans including climate, harvesting and poor processing.

Evaluating physical defects:
“Full Blacks”- Dark and Shriveled beans can be caused by over ripening or poorly fermented cherries. 
“Quakers”-Wrinkled or pale beans after roasted, likely caused by under developed cherries. 
“Broken or Chipped” -Damaged beans are cause by machines that are poorly calibrated when removing the cherry from the bean. 

After physically examining the beans, a Q grader will taste each coffee. This tasting is referred to as a “cupping” and is the most important factor before giving a final score. A “cupping” includes a basic three phase format.

Cupping Process for Evaluation:
“Dry Sniff”- An evaluation of the coffee fragrance before any water is added.
“Wet Sniff”- After the grounds have been soaked in water there’s an evaluation of the aroma. 
“Tasting” -After the coffee has cooled, the “crust” is pushed away using a spoon, and then slurped to evaluate taste. The tasting process evaluates Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, Balance, Body, Uniformity, and Sweetness. 

Specialty coffee accounts for about 3% of all coffee produced world wide. That means if you’re drinking Ama Coffee, then you’re sipping on coffee that’s the top 3% of all coffees made worldwide. 

At Ama Coffee Co. it is very important to us that we source and deliver only the best quality beans. We only use high quality coffee to promote focus, clarity, and awareness. Using coffee that scores above 85 (even though anything above 80 is considered specialty coffee) Ama Coffee fuels your mission in life. We only deliver freshly roasted specialty coffee, because it's what you deserve.