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Is Specialty Coffee Worth the Price? | Make Better Coffee

What is specialty coffee? Why do you need to spend more on it? Ultimately is specialty coffee worth the price?

Specialty coffee has become a trend for people all around the world. They love to invest in this coffee even if it costs more.

But if you are going to buy specialty coffee for the first time, then you would most likely want to know if it is worth the price or not.

Is Specialty coffee worth the price?

In our opinion, yes, when purchasing specialty coffee, you can expect to get what you pay for. It can be expensive as it demands extra energy, research, and time, but the results are of very high quality.

If you are still not sure, then this is where we come in.

We have done the research so you do not have to. This article will help you save time and money.

As coffee has become a part many peoples daily life, many of us cannot imagine a morning without coffee.

Right now you can explore many more options than ever before, with 100’s of unique flavours and different aromas.

Price is going to be the determining factor as you are going to spend more on the quality.

Therefore, you should do proper research before going ahead with your decision. We will try our best in answering to your curious mind to make it easier for you.

What is Specialty Coffee?

espresso shot in white espresso cup

Specialty coffee is different from your normal commercial coffees.

It is believed to be of the highest-quality coffee and more expensive than the commercial blends.

The term specialty is used for those coffees that score more than eighty points on a hundred point scale by the American Specialty Coffee Association.

The score itself proves the quality of the coffee. Specialty coffees are traceable, and they are processed very carefully after harvesting.

Also, the coffee beans are grown in unique climates at a higher elevation. Each step starting from growing to the brewing is observed carefully to boost the quality of the coffee.

In 1974, the term specialty was first used in a journal (Tea and Coffee Trade Journal) to focus or describe the quality of the beans produced in some specific microclimates.

The specialty coffees are grown at the right time and at the perfect altitude in good soil to maintain the quality.

They are charged more for the attention and care that they receive during harvesting.

You should not confuse specialty coffee with gourmet coffee. Gourmet coffee does not meet any specific quality standard. Where as specialty coffee needs to be tested by the certified coffer tasters.

What Does Specialty Coffee Cost?

According to recent studies, in the first quarter of 2020, the Specialty coffee retail price index (SCRPI) rose 7.1%.

The average price for roasted specialty coffees at the end of March 2020 was $25.36 per pound.

This breaks down into an average of $17.61 per pound for the lowest-priced coffees (+0.7%), and $33.12 for the highest-priced coffees (+10.9%) sold on the websites of the SCRPI roasters.

“The year-over-year change in specialty coffee prices – from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020 – was +14.8%. This breaks down into a 3.1% increase for the lowest-priced coffees, and a 22.1% increase for the highest-priced coffees”.

Transparent Trade Coffee.Org

What Are The Main Features Of Specialty Coffee?

professional coffee tasting

As discussed earlier, specialty coffee is popular around the world for the highest quality and the specific harvesting process.

All these factors contribute to the end cost of the product.

Here are some key features that make specialty coffee worth the price and has become a favourite choice for coffee lovers all over the world.

Unparalleled Quality

The quality is worth mentioning and is the most discussed feature since you will find a major difference between the quality of the specialty coffee and regular coffees.

From one sip itself, you can notice the difference. Once you will taste the specialty coffee, you will certainly find it worth spending.

It will make your day and will prepare you for all the challenges ahead.

You will love the rich flavours that include dark chocolate, crisp green apple, and even sweet berry. You should at least try this coffee to know it is worth spending or not. The difference is significant and certainly noticeable”.

Different Brewing Process

The quality of the specialty coffee is better than any coffee in human history.

In addition to the quality, you will find a great difference in the brewing process.

Espresso machines, pour-over cones, and French presses have been around for a long time before the beginning of the specialty coffee movement.

However, you can prepare the best specialty coffee without any of these. You might be thinking how? Let’s uncover the secret!

For even better results, you can use some tools that many of us find unnecessary to prepare our favourite coffee.

This includes kettles with gooseneck spouts to get excellent precision while preparing your coffee.

Manual methods will also allow you to try different variations, and you can experiment to suit your taste.

Remember to get the best quality and best flavours, it is worth going that extra mile as specialty coffee certainly deserves time and money.

coffee making accessories, specialty coffee

Different Sources

Roasters, a part of the specialty coffee industry, are involved in the Direct Trade sourcing.

They go to the farms to build a long-term relationship with farmers. There they choose the best coffee directly from the farmers instead of checking the catalog. What do they exactly do to choose the premium quality coffee?

They buy the best thirty percent of the crop at an expensive price. As they take all the premium quality crops, the farmers sell the remaining seventy percent at fewer prices.

However, next time, they focus more on the quality to get a better price. Over time, the quality goes up. As a result, roasters find premium quality, and farmers make more money.

The Direct Trade Model is beneficial both for farmers as well as roasters. More importantly, buyers will find the best quality product at a higher cost.

Roasts Differently

The specialty coffee roasters do not follow the conventional or old roasting process.

In the traditional process, the roasters mostly burn the beans to the crisp. The smoky and ashy flavour that you experience in low quality coffees is not the real flavour.

These flavours act as a cover-up of real flavours. You will not experience this problem while having specialty coffee. The smoky low quality flavour will be missing.

With a bad quality green coffee, roasters would roast these beans to cover up or change that bad flavour. The practice is understandable.

However, specialty coffee grade green coffee, roasters do not need to follow the same practice to cover up the natural taste.

In the current condition, you can expect many subtle flavours that include mangos, honey, star anise, milk chocolate, cane sugar, blueberries, and beyond.

coffee cupping, coffee flavour, coffee tasting, specialty coffee

All these options enable roasters to choose or bring out the desired flavour.

By roasting lighter, they can bring out the original flavour.

Many factors will decide the flavour that includes plant health, humidity, soil, type, and a few other factors.

The roaster will have a great role in developing a rich flavour in the specialty coffee.

These are some key features of the specialty coffee that make it different from regular and commercial coffee.

In brief, you can say that specialty coffee is popular for the premium quality, careful harvesting process, and unique roasting.

Is Specialty Coffee for Everyone?

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Specialty coffee is certainly worth trying. However, your budget might not support you to have it every morning.

Also, if you are satisfied with your regular coffee, you should not need to spend more on specialty coffee frequently.

Your choices will depend on your preferences. For example, some people like caffeine. They want to have it in many different ways by adding creams and even sugar. If you belong to this category, you do not need to spend more on specialty coffee all the time.

If you are also not interetsed in experimenting with different coffee beans and flavour profiles, it may not be worth putting extra energy, time, and money that specialty coffee brews generally require.

So if you find that the specialty coffee benefits do not outweigh the negatives of your money and energy, then it may not be for you.

After all, you are going to spend more on the specialty coffee daily. Therefore, you should not spend your hard-earned money if you believe that it is not worth spending.

However, I would still recommend you can try it occasionally to have a different experience.

In brief, we can say that you should certainly give it a try if you are a true coffee lover.

You should drink high-quality coffee at least a few times to have a unique experience. You are going to love the experience for sure.

Why You Should Purchase Specialty Coffee?

person holding roasted coffee beans in hands, specialty coffee

If you are looking for the original flavour and unique taste, then specialty coffee is a must for you.

More importantly, your budget is going to play a role. It can be expensive, and if you want to have it daily, you will have to be prepared to spend more, as well as spending more time and energy to prepare your coffee.

Therefore, if you think that you can afford the coffee and you have the energy to prepare it every day, then it is a must for you.

You will love the experience. Once bring specialty coffee into your coffee addiction, you might not prefer your regular coffee anymore.

Specialty Coffee F.A.Q’s

Q: How big is the specialty coffee industry?


A: According to a consumer survey conducted by National Coffee Association of America, 48% of U.S. coffee cups are perceived by the consumer to be specialty.

Q: What is a coffee sommelier?


A: Coffee sommeliers assess the taste and quality of the raw coffee product, focus on the coffee bean and judge the roasting, aroma, taste and smell. Coffee tasting, also known as coffee cupping, is a key part of their job.

Q: Where does the best specialty coffee come from in the world?


A: Ethiopia. Thanks to the high altitude growing conditions, the country is known to produce the best coffee in the world.

Q: Are Arabica beans the best for specialty coffee?


A: Despite containing less caffeine than Robusta, Arabica beans are often considered superior in taste. Arabica tends to have a smoother, sweeter taste, with flavour notes of chocolate and sugar.

Conclusion: Is specialty coffee worth the price

coffee beans roasting, specialty coffee

Overall, if coffee is part of your daily morning routine, then absolutely specialty coffee is worth the price

Now you are armed with all the required information including the harvesting and roasting process, you should have an idea if specialty coffee is worth the price for you.

You are free to decide. However, if you want high quality coffee every time, then the answer is specialty coffee.

It will make a difference for sure. However, if you have never tried this grade of coffee, then at least give it a try once to experience the taste and to experience it first hand.

Remember practical experience is certainly better than online research.

If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Beginners Guides