03/10/2023 - Bona Coffee

COFFEE TALK: Specialty Coffee Industry

Specialty Coffee is a growing industry that promotes high-quality produced coffee and places value in every stage of the supply chain, highlighting the importance of farmers, consumers, and the environment. The term, ‘Specialty Coffee,’ was coined by Erna Knutsen in 1974 and includes any coffee that receives a quality grading score of 80 or higher. Different classifications of coffee range from commodity (0-60), to gourmet (60-80), to specialty (80-100) (Bona Coffee!). Specialty Coffee is evaluated through a graded system that is based on a variety of factors including appearance, aroma, flavor, acidity, body, and aftertaste. The Specialty Coffee Association created a recommendation of standards to guide an accurate assessment of the coffee. Coffee is tasted and assessed through the process of cupping and the evaluation results in a quality rating on a 100 point scale. Bona hosts cuppings at the roastery each month as an opportunity to share the unique tasting process of high quality coffee with everyone.

learn more about Bona Cupping here

The quality of taste stems from using natural, sustainable methods of production which include techniques such as shade coffee. Shade grown coffee is cultivated under a canopy of trees and is often integrated with other types of crops. The quality of the soil is strengthened through the limited use of pesticides or chemical applications. Shade coffee promotes a healthier environment and enhances the biodiversity of both flora and fauna. As the coffee matures more slowly in the shade, natural sugars increase and enhance the sweet, tea-tasting flavors that correlate with specialty coffee. Sustainable coffee is grown in a way that conserves nature and provides better livelihoods for the people who grow and process it. Traceability is another key aspect of the Specialty Coffee Industry centering on the countries the coffee is coming from and the people who are growing it. Over 75% of the coffee sourced for Bona is through direct trade, meaning we have established and cultivated direct relationships with the farmers. Bob-O-Dark and Women From Caparaó are two examples of coffees that are directly sourced from our friends in Brazil. Transparency also ensures equitable and fair wages for all people involved within the supply chain process, especially the farmers. Valuing traceability facilitates a space for consumers to know the story and people behind their cup of coffee. Bona Coffee chooses to source high-scored, Specialty Coffee because it facilitates greater sustainability, enriches a global community for appreciating quality coffee, and celebrates the cultures of coffee-producing countries (especially Brazil!).    
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