What's the Difference Between Specialty Coffee & Grocery Store Coffee?

What's the Difference Between Specialty Coffee & Grocery Store Coffee?

Something happened in the coffee world during the pandemic. People started entertaining themselves by learning how to brew a really good coffee from home. 

Many of us turned to YouTube and found videos from the likes of James Hoffman, Sprometheus, and European Coffee Trip to improve our home barista skills. Through trial and error, we learned a very important lesson...

You can have the best coffee equipment in the world and professional level barista skills, but if you are using bad coffee, you will never have a good cup of coffee.

There is a big difference between the grocery store coffee we're used to getting and specialty coffee.

What's the Difference?

The first big difference is the freshness. Most of the coffee you see on the shelves have gone through a lengthy process. It could be six months or more for the green coffee to be purchased, roasted, bagged and shipped, delivered to stock rooms, and shelved for your purchase.

While coffee is basically shelf stable for a year, the window for optimal flavor is around 2-3 weeks from the roast date. Let that sink in. Optimal flavor is 2-3 weeks, but what you get from the store is closer to 6 months old or more. That amount of time dramatically impacts the flavor of the coffee you bring home.

With specialty coffee, the roasting process doesn't begin until your order comes in. Once it's roasted, your coffee is bagged still warm and shipped directly to your door arriving at peak flavor. You get perfect freshness.

The second and biggest difference between specialty coffee and store bought coffee is the actual coffee bean. For coffee to be labeled specialty grade it must have a cupping score of 80 or higher. The testing is quite rigorous with some requiring a zero margin of error.

What you find on the grocery shelves is a commodity coffee. It's bought at a low price, roasted in giant batches, ground, then shipped out. It has to be cheap coffee for big companies to pay all of the middlemen and still turn a profit. There isn't a standardized scoring method for coffee like this.

Specialty coffee comes from smaller farms, has fewer middle men, and doesn't genetically modify the bean. It is as it's named - Specialty. 

You can read all there is to read about specialty coffee and store bought coffee, but the proof is in your cup. Try it for yourself. Grab a bag of your usual coffee and compare it side by side with a bag of specialty coffee. Be prepared to become a coffee snob.

If you're ready to try small batch, roast to order, specialty coffee goodness, then let us recommend our Best Selling Sample Pack. You'll get six individually wrapped 2oz bags of Drip Ground coffee:
  • I am Energetic (6 Bean Espresso)
  • I am Empowered (Peru)
  • I am Strong (Cowboy Blend)
  • I am Optimistic (Bali Blue)
  • I am Awesome (Mexico)
  • Our Roaster's very own Breakfast Blend

Use code THANKYOU for 20% off your first purchase. 


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