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Talk “Coffee” Like a Pro!

Gourmet Coffee? Premium Coffee? Specialty Coffee?

The world of coffee is ever expanding and more, and more people are interested in brewing a better cup of coffee at home. Sure we all love to support our local coffee shop but because we are working from home or watching our budget we still want to be able to brew a great cup of coffee in the convenience of our own kitchen.

There are so many terms for coffee that it easy to get confused and frustrated. What is the difference between gourmet coffee, premium coffee and specialty coffee? Do all these phrases mean the same thing? Nope! Let’s talk about some of these terms so you can purchase, brew and talk like a coffee pro!

First we need to understand how coffee is graded.

Most people don’t know there is an official way that coffee quality is graded all around the world. People train for years to become professional graders of coffee. It takes many hours of training to be considered a Q-grader. If you know how this quality system works you can make better decisions when purchasing coffee.

Coffee is given a score by these professional Q-graders from 0-100.

Coffee is graded according to the following attributes:

– Fragrance and Aroma
– Body and Mouthfeel
– Acidity
– Flavor and tasting notes
– Aftertaste
– The coffee might lose points for unpleasant qualities or “defects”

All the Specialty coffee gets a grade of 80+ on this scoring system. Silver Bridge Coffee only purchases specialty coffee to roast and sell from our website. By choosing a quality coffee and working to bring out the best flavor we allow you to brew a cup of coffee at home that rivals any coffee shop you visit.

There is much more to a great cup of coffee than just the score. We work with each coffee we bring into our roastery to bring out the best possible attributes. I think we all understand getting a score on a test right? So you got an 83 on your test but you are allowed to take it home and see if you can bring up your score. That is what we do. We know the score of our specialty coffee but we work to “tutor” it in our roasting process to make it even better before it reaches our customer.

Premium coffee is also scored according to the same scale but receives a score of 70-79. It is allowed to have some unpleasant characteristics and defects Does this mean that premium coffee is bad? Not necessarily. These coffees when roasted by a master roaster can still produce a great cup of coffee but we suggest that you stick with Specialty coffee because your mornings are worth it!!

Gourmet coffee is more of a marketing word or a buzz word.

There are gourmet items all over the store and it’s a term that marketing people like to add to coffee as well. If you see gourmet coffee make sure that it is 100% Arabica coffee. Arabica coffee is grown at higher altitudes and has a much better flavor when brewed. All premium coffee and specialty coffee can be considered gourmet coffee, but just because a coffee is referred to as gourmet coffee in marketing material does not necessarily mean that it is premium coffee or specialty coffee.

All the coffee that we roast at Silver Bridge Coffee is specialty coffee. We sample roast our beans before we choose them to bring into our roasting facility. We look for the high score and weigh the price and quality as we purchase. Once the coffee arrives at our roasting facility we work to choose a roasting process that brings out the very best cup for you to brew at home. Once we choose that perfect process we set that into our computer system so that we have consistency every time we roast that coffee. We want to respect and bring out the best in every coffee we roast.

Now if someone says, “Oh I have gourmet coffee here!” You can respond with I need more information. Is it a specialty coffee or a premium coffee? You can navigate through these coffee terms and choose the very best to brew at home.

This article was written by Lorraine Walker, Owner of Silver Bridge Coffee, and an expert in coffee terminology and all things coffee related.