The Specialty Journey - Part 1

It's a prerequisite for our wholesale accounts to want to become "specialty" or to push the boundaries into greater levels of specialty coffee. 

Like our call to action  - Join The Journey - "specialty" coffee is all about the pursuit of excellence. We delight in this pursuit. We live to empower it. However it is often a challenge to articulate what specialty coffee really is.

So, in this first blog post in the "specialty journey" series I define what specialty is using the analogy of fine-dining. 

5 characteristics of a specialty coffee cafe:

  • They use specialty beans - Coffees are graded above 84 out of 100. 
  • Quality is the highest value - evident by the equipment, culture and language communicated. 
  • Human Resources - Staff are trained, informed and professionals in their craft 
  • Processes - operations and systems are turnkey for quality, consistency and repeatability
  • Complimentary products - direct trade tea, dark chocolate, unhomogenised milk support and augment the above. 

Let's look at the same 5 characteristics for a fine-dining restaurant: 

  • Ingredients - Herbs are grown in store. Yeast used to bake in house may well be 400 years old having been brough in from underground cellars in France. Chef visits the farm to see the cows and may even know their names. 
  • Focus on Quality: Cookware is of the utmost importance. Preparing mostly by hand.
  • Human Resources: There is a clear chain of command and professional trained and motivated team of staff including: a head chef, sous chef and not just a cook. (Waiters understand the menu in depth even to studying the french terms of ingredients and may have travelled there). 
  • Processes: Everything follows a recipe.  Everything. 
  • Complimentary products: ice, wine, atmosphere. No expense is spared. 

Funnily enough while many cafes like the idea of specialty, few give themselves over to the journey. If your coffee company gave you chairs, an umbrella and a machine you probably haven't got the right company. If you're paying less than $25-28 per kilo it's likely you are not receiving the freshest and most delicious product. If you are not following a recipe with objective and clear research data to support it you are definitely not getting the most out of your bean. 

At Promised Land Coffee we're giddy about specialty but we're also excited about the journey.

In part 2 of this series I will go in to great detail about how to bring specialty tea and chocolate to your cafe, home or office. I will go through nine teas and two hot chocolates with specific recipes for each and the reasoning behind it. 

Glad to be on the journey together.