The Benefits of Specialty Coffee: Why Choose Inka Gold Coffee?

The Benefits of Specialty Coffee: Why Choose Inka Gold Coffee?

Every day, we enjoy a cup of coffee, but do we really know the type of coffee we are drinking? Is it Peruvian specialty coffee? Tons of coffee are produced annually, coming from various countries, regions, altitudes, and with different varieties and processing methods. These factors influence the quality of coffee, which can range from excellent to mediocre.

In this article, we will delve into what specialty coffee is, what origin coffee is, and the specifics of Peruvian specialty coffee.

What is Specialty Coffee?
Specialty coffee refers to coffee beans that are carefully cultivated and processed, achieving a score of 80 or more on a 100-point scale by certified tasters (Q Graders). Only 5-10% of the world's coffee qualifies as specialty coffee, highlighting its exclusivity and quality.

Inka Gold Coffee: Our cultivation fields are located between 1800 and 2000 meters above sea level in Cusco, La Convención. This area has gained recognition since 2017 in the "Cup of Excellence," the most significant coffee competition in Peru. Notable winners include the Finca Nueva Alianza, who are part of our partners, and Finca El Diamante. These recognitions have increased the value of coffee from the region, which is now highly sought after by exporters in the United States, Europe, and Asia.


Evaluating Specialty Coffee
To determine the quality of coffee and assign a score, a protocol standardized by the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) is followed. This process applies to a sample of a batch, where defects are initially determined. It is crucial to know the origin of the coffee to ensure traceability of its process.



Cupping is another essential part of the process, where factors such as:

  • Fragrance/Aroma
  • Flavor
  • Aftertaste
  • Acidity
  • Body
  • Balance
  • Uniformity
  • Clean cup
  • Sweetness
  • Taster’s score

These are some of the primary criteria that a professional taster (Q Grader) uses to determine the score of a coffee.

What is Origin Coffee?
Origin coffee is coffee that comes from a single source, either from one producer or one farm. This type of coffee offers complete traceability. While all specialty coffee is origin coffee, not all origin coffee qualifies as specialty coffee.

At Inka Gold Coffee, we ensure that each of our labels mentions the farm, ensuring the traceability of the coffee, the score obtained, and the characteristics of aroma and flavor, so our consumers can enjoy a complete and transparent coffee experience.


Differences Between Specialty Coffee and Regular Coffee
1. Selection and Harvesting:
- Specialty Coffee: The beans are carefully selected one by one in a process called selective harvesting, as the coffee cherries do not ripen all at once. To ensure quality and consistency in flavor and aroma, only the beans that are at their optimal ripeness are picked, discarding those with defects. This process includes up to two more selections during drying and pulping.


- Regular Coffee: The selection process is almost non-existent. Harvesting is done quickly, mixing ripe and unripe beans. The selection is minimal, focusing more on quantity than quality. In some cases, beans known as discarded coffee are used for processes like freeze-drying, turning them into instant coffee. This processing method hides the true quality of the coffee used, as the final product does not allow visual identification of bean defects. Discarded beans are typically those that do not meet quality standards for direct consumption due to physical defects, incomplete ripening, or pest damage. The use of these beans in the production of instant coffee ensures the product can be sold at a low cost, but often at the expense of flavor and consumer experience. Additionally, freeze-drying and other instant coffee manufacturing processes involve the use of additives and preservatives, which can negatively affect consumer health and the perception of coffee quality.


2. Roasting Process:
- Specialty Coffee: It is roasted in small batches by experts who carefully control the roasting profile to highlight the best flavors of the beans. This results in a more refined and complex flavor.

- Regular Coffee: It is roasted in large batches, resulting in a more uniform but less interesting flavor. The process focuses more on efficiency than on quality. Additionally, in regular coffee, additives like sugar are often added during roasting to darken the coffee's color, giving the false impression of quality and resulting in negative health effects.


3. Flavor and Aroma:
- Specialty Coffee: Offers a variety of flavors and aromas, including fruity notes like orange, tangerine, and strawberries, as well as floral, chocolaty, and almond flavors. This coffee does not need additives like sugar to enhance its flavor. Additionally, specialty coffees maintain a brown color instead of black, indicating their purity and quality.

- Regular Coffee: Has a simpler and more bitter taste, often due to the use of Robusta beans and less careful cultivation and processing methods.


4. Environmental and Community Impact:
- Specialty Coffee: It is grown with sustainable practices, such as shade-grown cultivation and the use of organic farming techniques. It supports small farmers and communities, promoting fair wages and better working conditions.


- Regular Coffee: It is often produced on large plantations that may use pesticides and chemical fertilizers, with less focus on sustainability and worker well-being.


Perception of Specialty Coffee
Despite its numerous benefits, many people are not familiar with specialty coffee or do not fully appreciate it. In Peru, for example, despite being a producer country, most consumers prefer regular coffee. This is partly due to the lack of education about the differences and benefits of specialty coffee. Specialty coffee provides a unique sensory experience, allowing consumers to enjoy a variety of complex flavors and aromas without the need for additives. Additionally, consuming specialty coffee can offer greater satisfaction and energy, improving the overall coffee experience.

Conclusion
Choosing Inka Gold Coffee means opting for a superior coffee experience, with a commitment to quality, sustainability, and a positive impact on coffee-growing communities. We invite you to discover the magic of specialty coffee and join us on this journey to value and celebrate every cup.


Sources:
1. Specialty Coffee Association
2. EarthRoast Coffee
3. Craft Coffee Guru
4. The Specialty Coffee Beans

Written by Yaquelin

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