There are two options on what to drink — a regular or a specialty. And here is the difference between those two and why it is so important for you:
In today’s coffee production 'regular' is often a synonym for bitter and burned taste, sugar and artificial flavors added, lack of sustainability and transparency, in a sum bad quality. This means an unpleasant experience through bad taste, not so great feeling and possible negative health side effects from head to stomach.
A major difference is that a specialty coffee means having enjoyable taste and flavor, a guaranteed quality and health benefits (using proper dosages). All is possible through the stages of the coffee production from seed process to cup.
How do you know if coffee is regular or specialty? The only way to understand is to get some knowledge about the coffee production from the plantation to cup.
First an unprocessed coffee seed is planted. It has to be a good quality seed and it has to be planted in the right place (soil, altitude, climate conditions) at the right time to produce quality coffee. There are two different species of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Roughly all specialty coffee comes from the top 10% of Arabica seeds while regular comes from easier to plant, Robusta ones.
During the harvest time, the coffee berry is selectively hand picked, as oppose to strip picked (when green and ripped berries are mixed), so only the beans that are just at the peak of ripeness are picked and raw beans left for later.
The coffee has to be processed as quickly as possible to prevent spoilage. There are methods to do this: dry, semi-dry and wet. The dry method means that coffee beans are spread to dry onto a large surface and dried under the sun. In the wet method, the pulp of the bean is removed and beans are fermented in tanks and washed with great amounts of water. This is one of the most crucial steps of coffee processing and often done wrong. False fermenting and washing can give coffee impurities and a bad bitter taste that cannot be removed afterwards.
Afterwards, they are sorted by size and weight after being dried. Damaged beans are removed, even one over ripe coffee bean can ruin your cup of coffee by giving it a sour and vinegar-like taste. Unfortunately huge part of the coffee worldwide consists of bad quality coffee beans which are sold and used to produce cheap coffee blends, without fair pay to the farmers. The green coffee beans are stored in jute or sisal bags until their shipment to a roastery.
Now, it’s time to test the coffee. The taster, also called “the cupper”, will check the color, which for a professional cupper tells a lot about the quality. After visual approval, is time for some chemist-like roasting, brewing, smelling and “slurp” sounding tasting.
It is at this point that a coffee gets its grade and the cupping test is done to evaluate aroma, acidity, body, flavor, sweetness, clean-cup, balance, uniformity, aftertaste, overall and defects. Good specialty coffee has total grades over 80.
Here your green coffee is ready for roasting. During this process, at a certain temperature and moment, the oil inside them begins to emerge. This changes the beans from green to brown and gives the coffee it’s actual aroma. The beans are immediately cooled, usually by air. Aromas begin to fade immediately after roasting as coffee is at it's best to enjoy 2–30 days from roasting. High quality coffee is often excellent after 30 days.
In the other hand, there is no hope for regular coffees as they are bad from the start. And that's why we are thought to add lots of sugar and milk, otherwise it becomes hard to enjoy the drink.