We are, to the best of my knowledge, the most south easterly place serving speciality grade coffee in the UK! Our location, in Deal on the south-east kentish coast, isn’t that significant but as part of our aim to serve the best coffee in Deal I’d like to talk about what specialty coffee is and what difference that makes to your cup of Joe?
What is specialty coffee?
Technically speaking speciality coffee refers to a batch of beans, a sample of which has been cupped (tasted) and graded by SCAA certified tasters as having a score of over 80/100 (approximately the top 5% of all coffee grown). However this score does not guarantee a tasty coffee for you - the coffee still has to be shipped, roasted and brewed. In addition to which the phrase specialty coffee is fairly meaningless as it isn't regulated so you'll find it being used pretty much anywhere. All of which isn't really much help.
Not just ‘coffee’ flavoured
For me speciality coffee is about what I taste in the cup, I expect the drink to have a distinctive flavour. Large scale producers looking to create a consistent flavour will collect coffee from various sources and pool it all together. That’s not to say all the coffee is low quality but any distinctive flavours will be lost in the mix. At best you end up with a generic flavour which is what we might call ‘coffee flavour’. Often the lack of discerning coffee selection will also result in defective coffee being included, far from optimal ripeness and condition.
Distinctive notes and what’s possible
Very specific lots of coffee create very defined flavour profiles. When a coffee is picked and kept separated from others the coffee gains an identifiable provenance and character. A coffee isn't just sorted by country but also a specific region and often even from the same farm. The same variety of coffee plant is chosen, picked at maximum ripeness and sorted by size. Together these factors all influence the flavour of the coffee and isolating them produces a unique flavour and story. After picking the coffea fruit every step has to be carefully controlled to ensure these flavours are maintained and presented with maximum clarity and without taint. When executed well this results in beverages with really pronounced flavour notes and you’ll be amazed what is possible. Without getting all Jilly Goolden: floral notes, fruity notes, nutty notes: rhubarb, blackcurrant, peanut - the list goes on and on and there’s so much to explore.
I implore you to search for more whenever possible and to discover for yourself how much more there is to coffee. At Popup Cafe we will be continuing to serve speciality grade coffee. Watch this space for announcements as we continue to develop our coffee offering and stock some very special, distinctive coffees . . .