In this block every week I am answering 3 of the most popular questions about specialty coffee.
Last weeks questions – what is specialty coffee, what makes specialty coffee special, and is starbucks specialty coffee – answered here.
This weeks questions are….
What percentage of coffee is specialty?
First of all, we need to clarify what specialty coffee is, because it is indeed something that has certain rules of evaluation.
Speciality Grade: Not more than 5 full defects in 300 grams of coffee. No primary defects allowed. A maximum of 5% above or below screen size indicated is tolerated. Must possess at least one distinctive attribute in the body, flavour, aroma, or acidity.
The percentage of specialty coffee in the whole coffee market can vary, depending on the country, or whether we are counting green coffee (raw product produced) or consumed, ad if we are counting only arabica or robusta as well.
The numbers vary from 3 to 10% of all the green coffee produced.
And around 10% of the consumed coffee around the globe is specialty.
So specialty coffee is definitely a niche – but, for example, in 2016, specialty coffee cafes in Europe were considered the fastest growing major restaurant category. Which makes specialty coffee a growing segment in a pretty stable segment of coffee itself.
What is a coffee professional called?
There are plenty of professions in a coffee field. Sometimes the same person can implement various tasks (like roast master, who needs to know how to be a coffee taster and a barista, or a green buyer who needs to know how to taste and sometimes even roast coffee).
Barista – a person who brews coffee in a cafe.
Coffee Roaster/ Roast Master – a person who roasts coffee.
Coffee Taster – a person who is in charge of a quality evaluation of coffee (can be in a roastery, as a green buyer, at the origin, etc)
Coffee Trader – a person who treats the coffee as a commodity at the markets.
Coffee Importer – a person who is in charge of all the processes necessary to import the coffee.
Green Buyer – buys coffee at the origin
Coffee Sourcer/ Coffee Hunter – looks for the coffees to buy.
Coffee Farmer – grows the coffees.
Coffee Processing Specialist – a person in charge of the process of coffee fermentation – fermentation design.
And I bet I forgot a few, that I will add afterwards.
As you can see coffee employs many people.
What does arabica mean in coffee?
Check it out, a bit of biology ahead, stay with me.
Coffee, or coffea, is a genus that belongs to the family called Rubiaceae.
Rubiaceae itself is a huge family where you can also find plants like Gardenia or Ixora, and plenty of others.
And coffea, the one we are talking about.
Coffea by itself has many species, around 120, from which ones only a few became popular enough to be grown commercially. These species are coffea arabica and coffea canephora, also known as robusta. These are genetically different coffeea species.
So arabica is a coffea specie. Other not so famous coffea species are: eugenioides, liberica, racemosa, kapakata, etc
Arabica and robusta are genetically different – which means that their chemical composition and therefore the taste will be different as well. Arabica has more pronounced and noble acidity, less bitterness than robusta, more sugars and less caffeine.