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WHAT IS SPECIALTY COFFEE?

Specialty coffee is a category of coffee that is formally rated. In order for a coffee to be considered "specialty" it must receive a score of at least 80 out of 100 points.

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HOW IS SPECIALTY COFFEE GRADED?

This grading scale is structured as follows:

90 -100 points: Outstanding

85 - 89.99 points: Excellent

80 - 84.99: Very Good

Below 80: No Grading and NOT considered to be a specialty coffee.

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THE COFFEE GRADING Q SCALE

The scale that is used to determine whether or not a coffee is considered a specialty coffee was designed by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). This coffee grading scale establishes ten specific, desirable attributes within coffee which includes the following:

• Aroma - Descriptors for coffee aroma may include flowery, nutty, smoky, and herby.

• Taste - Descriptors for coffee taste may include acidity, bitterness, sweetness, saltiness and sourness

• Aftertaste - Both the aroma and taste of the coffee after swallowing it.

• Acidity - A primary flavor in coffee that is usually noted as a pleasant sharpness in flavor towards the front of the mouth but has a numbing sensation on the tongue and/or a dryness at the back of the palate.

• Body - Sometimes referred to as "mouthfeel," a coffee's body refers to the weight or viscosity of a coffee on the tongue.

• Balance - Seeks to define whether or not one quality of a coffee overpowers all others.

• Cleaning - This refers to whether or not the coffee is free of defects. It does not at all refer to anything related to sanitation.

• Sweetness - A mild flavor that is not considered harsh. This is usually first perceived on the tip of the tongue.

• Uniformity - This refers to the consistency of a coffee's flavor across multiple cuppings.

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WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPECIALTY COFFEE AND COMMERCIAL COFFEE?

In many ways, specialty coffee is the antithesis of commercial-grade coffee that is available to buy at places such as major grocery store chains. While specialty coffee does tend to be, on average, more expensive than its commercial-grade counterparts; we feel the difference in cost is much smaller than the difference in the quality of the coffee.

We believe that this exchange in value is more-than equitable and is why we choose to only serve specialty-grade coffee that we roast in-house at our flagship Roastery location in Phoenix, Arizona.

Whether you choose to visit a specialty coffee shop each day or brew your own coffee at home, the rising popularity of specialty coffee means that the days or drinking bad coffee are over if you want them to be!

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THE SPECIALTY COFFEE SHOP

You’ll often hear the term “specialty coffee shop” which refers to a cafe that exclusively serves coffee that scores at least 80 points or higher. At PRESS, we are considered a specialty coffee roaster and cafe (with multiple Arizona locations).

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MAKING SPECIALTY COFFEE AT HOME

With all of the above in mind, remember that the quality of the coffee you drink at home isn't going to be entirely safeguarded by the Specialty Coffee Association's grading system alone. Brewing with coffee beans that have been roasted fresh, are properly ground for your preferred brewing method, using quality water, and ensuring that your coffee to water ratio is accurate and correct will each add to (or take away if wrong) from the quality of the coffee that is brewed.

If you're just getting started with brewing specialty coffee at home, you may find our brew guides helpful.

VIEW OUR BREW GUIDES
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IS PRESS COFFEE A MEMBER OF THE SPECIALTY COFFEE ASSOCIATION?

Yes, Press Coffee is a proud member of the Specialty Coffee Association. We only source the finest green coffees that are expertly roasted in-house and served in our cafes and offered for order online. If you're unable to visit one of our cafes to experience a specialty coffee shop firsthand, consider starting a specialty coffee subscription or browsing our specialty coffee below.

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