The Benefits of Specialty Coffee

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Coffee bean belt

Premium Specialty coffee is a force for good in a sector where exploitative practices are commonplace. Premium coffee brings benefits at each stage of the supply chain, starting with the farmer and finishing with a superior cup of coffee in your business.

What’s the ‘bean belt’?

Coffee grows across our planet in a narrow region between the tropics known as the ‘bean belt’. Most countries within the Americas, Africa and Asia cultivate coffee where mountains reach higher than 1,000m. In growing countries, coffee is a crucial industry providing a significant financial GDP contribution as well as direct and indirect employment.

Most coffee farmers have never tasted their own coffee. Yes, you read that right; it’s true and this is one of the reasons a chasm of knowledge exists, separating the producer from the consumer of coffee. This gap often leaves producers with no option other than to sell their crop into the commodity coffee market, where the price paid is set on the stock exchange which is often lower than the cost of coffee production.

Growing coffee is treacherous, labour-intensive and capital-draining. To compound these factors, climate change and intensive volume-focused agricultural practices support the proliferation of damaging pests, diseases and brutal weather patterns.

The shining light and thankfully the fastest-growing sector in coffee is Speciality. However, it’s estimated that premium Specialty coffee still represents just 10% of global sales. At amamus, we only supply Specialty coffee as we believe it represents the future for the industry…and it tastes fab!

Why Specialty?

Here’s a brief summary of why premium-grade Specialty coffee should be the only choice for your values-led business.

Higher prices paid create a virtuous circle. Specialty coffee is identified to a particular region, cooperative, estate or farm. This provenance allows trained taste experts, known as Q Graders, to evaluate the parcel of coffee and provide a ‘Cupping Score’. Provided the score is 80/100 or above then the coffee qualifies as Specialty. This score is based on the quality and taste of the coffee and the higher prices paid to allow reinvestment at a farm level, which allows continual improvements.

Unique taste characteristics bring interest and enjoyment. Whilst all coffee plants are descendants of a single mother, the location in which they have evolved and grow creates unique and distinctive taste profiles.  Rather than bundle this exciting range of tastes into a single homogenised commodity we should celebrate its individuality.

A supportive and positive network is built around Specialty coffee. A whole network of people and businesses are involved as the beans travel from farm to cup. From cooperatives to processing mills, to storage facilities, to exporters and importers – it’s generally those focused on Specialty grade coffee who create initiatives focused on positive outcomes. For example childcare for families working on farms, educational projects, healthcare support, beneficial infrastructure projects, initiatives to promote female independence in the workplace etc.

There are two key health benefits to premium Specialty coffee. Ochratoxin is a fungus that grows on green beans stored with too high a moisture content. When beans aren’t processed and stored with care, the fungus can develop to levels that are dangerous for human consumption. And the fungus isn’t burned off during the 200+ degree roasting process. Specialty coffees usually benefit from more care and attention in storage and testing than their lower-quality commodity counterparts so coffee is less likely to be affected by Ochratoxins

Acrylamide forms when coffee is roasted and its presence increases when roasted to a dark profile. High roasts are often used for poor quality green coffee as the roasted flavours mask the unfavourable taste of the beans. Acrylamide develops in all high roasted starches including burned toast and are generally considered to be carcinogenic. amamus only roasts our Specialty coffees to a lighter ‘medium’ profile, which showcases the bean character as well as being safer.

Hand roasting. Premium specialty coffee is best roasted by hand in small batches to a profile designed to bring out the most desirable characteristics in the particular bean. amamus runs a network of super talented roasters all of whom are independent businesses, who share our commitment to make a positive contribution to their local communities alongside their love of beautiful coffee.

Ethical packing. Because we roast by hand we also pack by hand – we don’t have a factory approach. Where possible we deliver coffee in returnable containers, reducing bag waste.  But where we must supply in bags we use compostable, plastic-free bags to reduce our impact. Plus we brand them with an ink stamp to our clients’ businesses – a genuine bespoke approach.

Product information at the point of purchase. We work closely with our clients to provide them with all the information on their coffee. Generally, we can provide them with the names and photos of their farmers and details of the estate or co-operative. This information, as well as the cupping profile of your business coffee can be very useful for marketing purposes. An amazing, ethically sourced specialty coffee will support your broader company proposition as it’s often your first point of contact with clients or prospects. We work with your in-house marketing teams or we can design and produce materials for you.

Contact amamus to explore how Specialty coffee and the latest great value coffee machines could help drive your business forward.

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