What’s the Hype About Specialty Coffee and How to Brew it at Home ?

Specialty Coffee

Coffee is loved by millions worldwide, but did you know not all coffee is equal? Specialty coffee is a rising trend. It’s super high-quality, sustainable, and ethical. Curious about it? Find out what specialty coffee is and how you can make it at home. Let’s dive in!


What is Specialty Coffee?

Specialty Coffee
Specialty Coffee

Specialty coffee is like a craft – it’s carefully chosen, roasted, and brewed to bring out the best flavors and smells in the beans. It’s not like regular coffee you find everywhere, which is made in big quantities, mixed together, and sometimes not so fresh or tasty.

Specialty coffee, according to the SCA, is exceptional, achieving a minimum score of 80/100 in assessments of aroma, flavor, and other factors. This coffee is distinct as it allows you to trace its origin, promoting ethical practices. Additionally, its cultivation involves minimal chemical usage, emphasizing a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Specialty coffee isn’t a specific kind; instead, it’s a high standard that any coffee can meet, no matter where it’s from or how it’s made. Still, certain things can affect the taste and quality of specialty coffee.

  • Terroir: Terroir is like the coffee’s birthplace, including where it grows, the soil, weather, and surroundings. It makes the coffee taste different, affecting sweetness, acidity, and fruitiness.
  • Variety: Variety is the coffee plant’s family, like Arabica or Robusta. There are lots of types, each with unique flavors. Some common ones in specialty coffee are Bourbon, Typica, Geisha, and SL28.
  • Processing: Processing is how they clean coffee cherries after picking. It affects moisture, sugar, and flavor. Ways to do it include washed, natural, honey, and anaerobic.
  • Roasting: Roasting is like cooking coffee beans to bring out their taste. It changes the body, sweetness, and bitterness. Roast levels vary from light to medium and dark.

Specialty coffee is carefully picked, cleaned, cooked, and brewed to show off its special qualities. It’s more than just a pick-me-up; it’s an experience for your senses and emotions. ☕


How to Brew Specialty Coffee at Home

Specialty Coffee
Specialty Coffee

 

If you’re aiming for delicious specialty coffee at home, grab these basics:

  • Grinder: Essential for fresh and right-sized coffee grounds. Go for a burr grinder for consistency.
  • Scale: Measure coffee and water precisely with a digital scale to perfect the strength and taste.
  • Kettle: Opt for an electric one to control water temperature. A gooseneck kettle ensures an even pour over your coffee grounds.
  • Brewer: Choose a French press, pour-over, AeroPress, or siphon based on your taste and budget. Get to know your brewer for the best results.

To brew specialty coffee at home, you will also need some basic skills, such as:

 

Grinding: Ensure your coffee beans are ground just before brewing to savor the freshest flavor. Adjust the grind size to suit your coffee maker. Finer grinding produces a faster, stronger brew, while coarser grinding results in a slower, milder brew. Follow these guidelines:

  • For French press, choose a coarse grind.
  • When making pour-over, target a medium-fine to medium-coarse grind.
  • Opt for a fine to medium-fine grind with the AeroPress.
  • Stick to a medium-fine grind for optimal results with the Siphon.

 

Measuring: Make sure to measure how much coffee and water you use. It keeps things consistent. You can follow a ratio, like 1 part coffee to 15, 16, or 17 parts water. More coffee means stronger brew, less coffee means a milder taste. Adjust to your liking, but here are some ratios for different methods:

  • French press: 1 part coffee to 15 parts water
  • Pour-over: 1 part coffee to 16 parts water
  • AeroPress: 1 part coffee to 17 parts water
  • Siphon: 1 part coffee to 15 parts water

 

Heating: Make sure to heat your water for brewing. Use the right temperature for your brewer, as each one needs different temperatures. Higher temperatures mean faster extraction and a more bitter taste. Lower temperatures mean slower extraction and a more sour taste. Adjust the temperature based on your liking, but here are some general guidelines:

  • French press: 93°C to 96°C
  • Pour-over: 90°C to 93°C
  • AeroPress: 85°C to 90°C
  • Siphon: 90°C to 93°C

 

Brewing Tip: Make your coffee just right by following these simple steps. Use your brewer and brew for the recommended time:

  • French press: Brew for 4 minutes.
  • Pour-over: Brew for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • AeroPress: Brew for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Siphon: Brew for 1 to 2 minutes.

Remember, the longer you brew, the stronger the coffee; the shorter, the milder. Adjust it to match your taste! ☕


To brew specialty coffee at home, you should also follow some basic tips, such as:

  • Use fresh and filtered water: The water you use in your coffee greatly affects its taste. Since water makes up most of your coffee, go for fresh and filtered water to avoid any weird tastes from impurities, chlorine, or minerals.
  • Pick fresh, whole coffee beans for a tastier brew. Keep them in a sealed container, away from light, heat, and moisture to maintain their freshness and flavor, preventing any staleness.
  • Clean your equipment: The tools you use for brewing can affect your coffee’s flavor. Make it a habit to clean them regularly with hot water and soap, or opt for a mix of vinegar and baking soda. This helps eliminate any dirt, grease, or odors that could spoil the delightful taste of your coffee.
Specialty Coffee
Specialty Coffee

Making special coffee at home can be a fun and satisfying experience. You get to discover and enjoy the different and interesting flavors and smells of coffee. Special coffee is really good and definitely worth trying. ☕

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