Imagine you're a Guatemalan coffee producer, traveling to the states during the greatest pandemic in a hundred years to visit family. Now imagine that family lives in the local Rhode Island area and you're looking to sell some of your coffee to a local roaster while you're in town.
When you walk into your local coffee roaster or café, it may be confusing to see strawberry or s'mores listed as flavors on a bag of beans. Is someone adding marshmallows to the drum as these beans are roasted? In true specialty coffee, that is certainly not the case.
We see labels like “gourmet” and “premium” thrown around every end of the food and beverage industry. Customers become desensitized by these poor advertising attempts until well-defined indicators begin to lose their weight. The phrase “specialty coffee” is not just some cliché. So when used properly, what does it really mean?