Living in a tropical country with a culture engraved with drinking coffee, my mornings are not complete without a cup – may it be the classic warm brewed cup of coffee, the cooling effect of an over-iced latte, or a sweeter treat of a blended mocha with extra whipped cream on top! But for someone who likes drinking coffee, I am unaware of the technicality behind the bittersweet goodness we all love.
We have all heard of first wave, second wave, and even third wave coffee. But the question still remains: what does specialty coffee mean? For some, it means a “pa-sosyal” version of coffee; some say it’s very hipster. Raul, the head Q-grader of Toby’s Estate, enlightened us on the meaning of what specialty coffee really means. A Q-grader has 36 scents that they should master.
Based on international standards, specialty coffee has a score grade of at least 80. The higher the grade, the beans have more complexity and brilliance in it. The score is based not just on the physical attributes of the bean, but also on (but not limited to!) its taste, aftertaste, body, and acidity.
How do we, then, know if there are coffee bean defects? Based on visual characteristics and inspections, the following can’t be considered for specialty coffee:
1.Floaters or Quakers.
It is color white, light, and hollow. It is a coffee fruit that didn’t develop as a coffee cherry. Or it may have come from a sick tree.
It is a foreign object that was included in the bunch. The cue grader will not taste the produce anymore. These beans may include plastic, stones, or dried-leaves.
3. Sour smell or taste. This may indicate the level of acidity.
4. Full blacks or stinkers.
You will know if a coffee is brewed from a full black if you roast it and it smells bad.
5. Coffee fruits with insect damage from tree borer insects.
A good cup of specialty coffee, just like Toby Estate‘s Cafe de Costa Rica El Jaguar (which has a grade of 82), has beans with a fresh green smell. Why the name El Jaguar? A portion of the proceeds that the farm gets is given to the Jaguar Zoo and Conservation.
Single origin coffee is roasted to bring out its delicate characteristics. As for the Cafe de Costa Rica El Jaguar, expect vibrant coffee with the sweetness of chocolate, the fruitiness of lemon and lime, the acidity of pineapples, and the undertone of caramel.
Watch out for Cafe de Coasta Rica El Jaguar – the first of the Single Origin Espresso series and Cold Brew Variants. Taste it in its purest form across Toby’s Estate branches now!
Toby’s Estate Philippines