What is Specialty Coffee?

Velvet Ditch Coffee Roasters is a Specialty coffee roaster in Oxford, MS, specializing in sourcing and expertly roasting the finest single origin beans.

There are so many people involved in Specialty coffee.  Here are the players:

  1. The producer, aka farmer
  2. The green coffee buyer
  3. The roaster
  4. The barista
  5. The consumer

The key player is the producer who grows the plant, giving special care and attention to the plants for years even before the first harvest.  The Specialty coffee producer is highly focused on quality, not quantity.  Coffee plants are just like any other crop, they have a growing season.  Did you know that coffee is the seed of a fruit?  It’s so delicious.

Specialty coffee has certain characteristics:

  • Specialty coffee is grown in select climates with a desirable terroir, meaning everything that surrounds the tree, including soil composition, temperature and rain. The terroir gives coffee its unique flavor and aroma.
  • Specialty coffee beans are free of defects and picked at their peak of ripeness
  • Speciality coffee is graded 80 points or above on a 100 point scale by a certified coffee taster or by a licensed Q Grader, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
  • Specialty coffee is grown at higher altitudes between 3,000 to 6,000 feet or more. At high altitudes the cool nights slow down the growth of coffee cherries, allowing the plant to slowly develop its refined flavors.

The second most important player involved with Specialty coffee is the green coffee buyer who has a deep knowledge of coffee.  Once the green coffee beans have been processed, a green coffee buyer will taste and assess each coffee, giving it a score.  Beans scored over 80 points are considered Specialty coffee beans.  The buyer is much like a sommelier who is trained in tasting and judging wines.  The buyer then makes decisions on which coffees they will include in their offerings, and writes up tasting notes with descriptions of the coffees to be used on product materials such as packaging.

The roaster is the third player who has been trained and certified, having completed many hours of coursework and hands-on training to skillfully roast specialty coffee beans.  Most roasters will obtain samples of various coffee beans from different origins to roast, to cup, and then to select the green beans that meet their own standards of quality.  Roasters also select beans based on certain flavor profiles to attract customers and to meet their roasting goals.

After the Specialty coffee beans have been roasted and have finally reached the retail environment, the barista comes into play.  The barista has the very important role of finding the perfect brew technique to highlight the Specialty coffee beans’ unique flavor.  Baristas are deeply knowledgable about the origin of the coffees they serve, and understand extraction principles and how brew techniques can affect the beans’ flavor.  The baristas’ goal is to showcase the Specialty coffee beans’ true flavor potential in the cup.

The consumer is the final player who actively seeks out Specialty coffee and increases the demand for it.  The consumer who has a passion for extraordinary coffee, takes time to learn about the origin of the beans and may even chat with the barista to understand brew methods.  Consumers who buy Specialty coffees show a commitment to a higher standard of coffee, favoring quality and a memorable flavor profile in every cup.

Velvet Ditch Coffee Roasters buys green Specialty coffee beans and hand roasts each batch to perfection. These single origin coffee beans are special and each roast showcases the beans’ unique flavors and aromas. For example, Velvet Ditch Coffee’s Ethiopia Guji is an organic Specialty coffee with a score of 87, making it a very distinct cup of coffee.

About Velvet Ditch Coffee Roasters
Velvet Ditch Coffee Roasters is a Specialty coffee roaster in Oxford, MS, specializing in sourcing and expertly roasting the finest single origin beans.  Focus is placed on crafting unique profiles that accentuate the bean’s natural flavor.  Velvet Ditch Coffee is committed to the communities we serve and the farmers who grow our coffee beans.  Quality and consistency are top priorities and Velvet Ditch Coffee Roasters only sources beans with scores above 80 points on a 100-point scale.  Our goal is to make delicious coffee that offers a memorable experience for Velvet Ditch Coffee followers.