Northshore Specialty Coffee
About "Specialty" Coffee
Specialty Coffee is the highest classification of coffee that, according the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), scores 80 points or above on a 100-point scale. By contrast, “gourmet” or “premium” coffee scores well below that level.
Most of the beans we roast are Arabica beans, which take, on the average, about 2 years to mature to harvest. These beans have deep root systems and are grown in mountainous regions where mechanical harvesting is difficult. Therefore, most are harvested carefully by hand. The flavors are delicate, and absorb the taste and fruits of the flowers and plants around them and are enriched by the soil content, sun, rain and climate levels. The flavor body and acidity levels can change greatly from region to region—even from farm to farm. These are the beans we buy and roast them to perfection, having tested each variety for its most flavorful roast.
Our coffees are made from 100% specialty arabica beans sourced from Walker Coffee Trading in Houston, TX and then roasted in their prime in Jackson, MS.
Specialty coffee differs from commercial, including "gourmet" and "premium", in several key ways:
Species: There are two primary species of coffee, Arabica and Robusta. All specialty grade comes from the top 10% of Arabica, whereas most commercial-grade coffee comes from Robusta and lower grade Arabica.
Location & Altitude: Specialty coffee is grown at high altitudes, 2000-6000 feet above sea level, and flourishes in an equatorial climate with abundant rainfall and sun, and mild frost-free temperatures. Commercial-grade (Robusta) coffee is grown at low altitudes.
Labor & Handling: Specialty coffee is hand-picked on mountain terraces and laboriously sorted by size and appearance for grading. Commercial grades are mass produced and mechanically harvested with less stringent screening methods.
Flavor: Arabica trees produce a more delicate flavorful coffee. Specialty coffees, like wine grapes, derive their flavor from the soil conditions, micro-climate and preparation methods of their region – producing a more nuanced and ‘special’ experience.