What qualifies coffee as “Specialty Coffee”? What is Speciality Coffee?

Speciality Coffee is a classification for a level of Coffee and to qualify as Specialty Coffee, it has to score at or above 80 out of 100. The Grading is a whole process where the coffee is “cupped” and a number of components / criteria get scored between 1 and 10, afterwards all the component scores are added up.


If you’re curious, a list of the Coffee Grading Components can be found on the Specialty Coffee Association’s (SCA) website.  It’s fairly long and descriptive, but the final result can score a coffee as high as 100.

Just like most things in this world, we use numbers to describe them some way or another.  When a coffee is Graded, the beans are checked for Defects, Size, Consistency, Flavor, etc. If a Bean qualifies as Specialty Garde Coffee and reaches a score of 80 or above – you can be sure to have a solid cup.

This doesn’t mean that ONLY this grade of coffee is good.  It just means that’s taken a test and passed with a high score. It’s up to YOU to decide if the Coffee is good.

A while back, I wrote a short blog post about the Coffee Flavor Wheel.  While you might not be “grading” the coffee, it’s fun to try to find the flavor of your cup on the wheel.

So this is what is considered Specialty Coffee.