Specialty coffee is a world apart, where, as the name describes it, the main focus is on coffee. But it is not treated as an ordinary or simply necessary drink, but attention and care is paid to ensure that it reaches the cup with unbeatable excellence.
Technically, specialty coffees can be defined as those coffees that meet the quality standards of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), which differentiates them from commercial coffee. But in addition to this technicality, specialty coffee is defined by the rigorous care that is given to each stage of coffee development, from its cultivation to its preparation.
In the specialty, the origin of the coffee is the most important thing. That coffee is traded fairly from producers to roasters, and then to consumers, is of the utmost importance in the industry. Great attention is paid to how the process of growth, development and origin impact the taste of brewed coffee.
There is too much talk about preparation methods, tools, modern and eye-catching articles, but the most important thing in the world of specialty is the origin and treatment of the coffee that we will later drink.
It is difficult to explain to someone what it is like to try a specialty coffee for the first time. Everyone has tried coffee, it is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. But in the day-to-day life of most, the repair after a day of work or some emotional fatigue is not in a cup of coffee, but in some other drink that they consider more “delicate”.
When a specialty coffee is tasted for the first time, a potential is discovered in it that was not known, it was not possible to imagine that it could have such a flavor and aroma, almost making a dessert in itself. Fruity, floral aromas, with tastes that vary from citrus to nuts or chocolates, the endless variety of varieties that abound in the world of specialty coffee ensures to surprise any palate, no matter how demanding.
Today thanks to the great expansion of this market, it is possible to take a piece of this world home. Next I am going to explain the steps necessary to prepare a specialty coffee at home.
1. Choose a method.
We all know a way to make coffee, and we use it every day without realizing what it entails. Some use a French press, others an automatic machine that prepares a jug of coffee to fill several cups, some the typical Italian coffee maker that sits on top of the fire. All of these different methods, well applied, are also capable of producing excellent specialty coffee.
Some of the most used preparation methods in the specialty are: V60, Chemex, Aeropress, French Press and Espresso.
Each of you will need to choose a method to start with and consider your budget.
There is a somewhat harsh truth and that is that trying to make good espresso at home is too arduous a task for both yourself and your wallet. If you do your research, unless you are prepared to invest thousands of dollars, it is a great doubt if it is really worth buying inferior products that will not take advantage of the quality of a specialty coffee. For example, espresso machines whose marketing is aimed at home use, can produce an almost acceptable coffee, but I really think that they are not worth it, and they never produce a coffee that expands in its flavor and aroma the range of colors of coffee from specialty.
Instead, with little investment, the world of Filter coffee is perfect for the home. Starting with a simple plastic filter holder and Melitta brand filters from the supermarket, it is now possible to create a high-quality mug.
It is up to the decision of each one.
Personally, I recommend starting with the French press or plunger coffee maker. Being an immersion method, it forgives only a little more the variation in consistency of the grinding of various home grinders, and since it only consists of filling a jug with ground coffee with water, it does not need a perfect pouring technique. In later posts, I will explain in more detail how to get the best out of a French press.
2. Choice of coffee and its origin.
Specialty coffee is bought differently than commercial coffee. First and foremost, it must be purchased from a specialty coffee shop. The baristas and employees of the establishment are probably more than happy to advise their customers on which coffee to buy according to their needs.
As for presentation, the most common is to buy coffee beans and in bags of 250gr, usually referred to as “quarts” of coffee. It can also be asked to be ground on the spot.
It is very important that the coffee is roasted as recently as possible, ideally we should consume our coffee within 2 weeks after its roasting date.