What is specialty coffee?                                       

There are many different definitions of what specialty coffee is. However, this is considered the most complete definition for Vietnamese specialty coffee:

Specialty coffee is a coffee product from a growing area with natural conditions along with a special care, harvesting and processing process. and the evaluation process of the World Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the World Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).”

Currently, with its distinctive quality and class, the specialty coffee market is rapidly developing and winning the hearts of coffee connoisseurs. But the most interesting thing about Specialty Coffee is probably not only because of its flavor value, but also the complex and closed coffee production process, to ensure crystallization of the most quintessential bitter drops in the coffee each cup of specialty coffee.


The essence of each specialty coffee bean         

Unlike commercial coffee, the beans used to produce specialty coffee are strictly selected. All stages of harvesting and processing from the coffee farm must be carefully selected by hand, to ensure only ripe red coffee berries, bringing the best beans selected.

In addition, factors such as climate, topography, soil, and origin are also paid attention, because different farming areas will produce different results different coffee flavors. Coffee varieties for production are very diverse, but Arabica coffee beans with their distinctive, delicious flavor are still used with more attention than Robusta coffee.

The process of processing specialty coffee is rigorous and elaborate

There are 3 common methods to be able to process specialty coffee

Wet processing is the most common processing technique. After being harvested, the coffee cherries will be separated to remove the seeds, and soaked in a water bath, so that the coffee is fermented and the viscous part is removed. After that, the coffee beans will be passed through a trough, once again to remove the slime, and finally dried for about 1 week. This is also considered the most expensive method when investing in many machinery systems for processing.


– Dry processing method: Started in Africa, where water resources are limited. After being harvested, the coffee cherries will be dried for a few weeks, even a month, after drying, the coffee berries will be ground and separated. This method will help the coffee beans absorb all the sweetness from the fruit, creating a sweeter, more complex coffee flavor.

– Processing method “honey”: Immediately after the fruit is harvested, the fruit pulp is removed, and the coffee beans, still covered with a slimy layer, also known as honey layer, will be is left to dry. Coffee beans will absorb the essence from the sweetness of this mucilage.

After going through one of three processing stages, high-quality green coffee products will be quality checked by the company or a qualified Q-Grader expert. Only when passing the rigorous and transparent inspection process from SCA, with a minimum score of 80, will the coffee product be truly recognized as "Specialty Coffee". This also reflects that production costs will be high so specialty coffee will not be cheap.

The flavor of specialty coffee is crystallized in each roasting batch

Along with the selection and processing process, the roasting stage is also a prerequisite for the taste of coffee. Through the roasting process, the aroma and taste of coffee are refined from complex chemical reactions. For example, the Mailard reaction, which results from the impact of heat on sugars and amino acids, creates hundreds of different flavors for batches of coffee.


From the roasting process, the acidity in the coffee beans is also adjusted, helping to prevent the coffee's flavor from being damaged by the sour taste. Compared to regular pure coffee, specialty coffees will need to be preserved more carefully before they are shipped to cafes that specialize in this segment.

Huongmai Cafe hopes this article has provided more useful information for you.