Coffee is undoubtedly one of the world's most popular drinks. But have you ever wondered why some coffee types stand out? Join us on a journey to explore the world of specialty green coffee and discover what makes it exceptional!
Specialty green coffee is different from regular coffee. Its superior flavour and quality set it apart from regular beans. In fact, specialty green coffees are graded on a scale from 80 to 100 points. Coffees with scores ranging from 80 to 84.99 points are considered very good, while those with 85 or more points are specialty grades that will always impress.
From single-origin to microlot coffees, there's something for every coffee enthusiast. Let's take a closer look at the most popular types to find your perfect brew!
What is Specialty Green Coffee?
Specialty green coffee is a type of unroasted coffee that is produced with the intention of producing quality and unique cup profiles. It typically thrives in specific regions, where small-scale farmers cultivate it and employ traditional processing techniques.
The primary types of green coffee include Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, Liberica, and Geisha/Gesha. Arabica beans are generally considered the highest-quality type, offering sweet and complex flavours. Robusta beans have more caffeine than Arabica varieties but have less flavour complexity. Excelsa beans have a unique flavour profile that includes tartness and nuttiness. Liberica beans offer an intense aroma with ripe fruit flavours and dark chocolate notes. Finally, Geisha and Gesha coffees offer intense floral aromas with distinct notes of citrus and jasmine.
Varieties Of Green Coffee Beans
The origins of green coffee beans span many countries and climates, and this results in the development of unique characteristics in each type of bean.
Ethiopian green coffee beans are known for their fruity aroma and full-bodied taste, while Colombian green coffee beans are famous for their nutty flavour and slight acidity. Kenyan green coffee beans are described as having an intense flavour with floral notes, and Brazilian green coffee beans are renowned for their sweetness with subtle hints of chocolate.
Different types of green coffee beans have unique qualities that make them ideal for specific brewing methods such as French press, pour-over, espresso, or cold brew. This allows coffee lovers to customise their blends according to their taste preferences.
The processing methods for green coffee beans are just as important as the varietal. Different processes can bring out different flavours and aromas from the same bean. This is why it’s important to understand the differences between these methods when selecting a specialty green coffee bean.
The first processing method is called wet processing, often referred to as "washed coffee." With this method, the harvested cherries are put into tanks of water and agitated to remove the outer skin and pulp. Washed coffees tend to have brighter acidic tones, a sparkling mouthfeel, and a clean aftertaste.
The second processing method is called dry processing, also known as "natural" or "unwashed" processing. Here, the cherries are laid out in thin layers on raised beds, where they will be dried by the sun over several weeks. Workers carefully rake through them during this time to make sure they dry evenly and stop mould from growing. After drying, the parchment layer surrounding each bean is removed before it is ready for roasting. Natural coffees tend to have a heavier body, sweet aromatics with fruity undertones, and a smooth finish that lingers long after tasting them.
There is a wide range of processing methods beyond these two examples.
Because green coffee is purchased unroasted, the roasting methods can significantly affect the flavour of the coffee. Depending on the type of roast, various levels and notes of flavour can be achieved. The three main types of roasting are light, medium, and dark.
Light roasting is the shortest amount of time in the roaster and results in a milder and more acidic cup of coffee. It has a higher caffeine content but does not have as much complexity or depth as darker roasts. Lightly roasted beans are often used for specialty espresso blends.
A medium roast is slightly longer than a light roast and produces a balanced cup with moderate acidity and body. It has a less intense flavour than a dark roast but still contains some sweetness from the natural sugars found in the bean. Medium-roast coffee is great for filter brewing methods like pour-over or French press.
Dark roast is the longest amount of time spent in the roaster and produces an intensely flavorful cup with a heavy body and low acidity. Dark roasted beans are often heavily caramelised, resulting in smoky flavours like chocolate, molasses, or even burnt sugar. This type of coffee is best enjoyed using espresso machines or stovetop moka pots.
Benefits Of Specialty Green Coffee
One of the main benefits of specialty green coffee is its freshness. Unlike pre-ground and packaged coffees, specialty green coffee is kept in its unroasted state until you’re ready to roast it. This ensures that you get the freshest possible cup of coffee by preserving the beans’ flavour and aroma for as long as possible. Also, specialty green coffee can be roasted at home, which lets you make a roast that fits your tastes. See our home roasters' green coffee starter pack for the ideal home roasting solution for making your perfect blend at home.
Specialty green coffee offers a wider range of flavours than pre-ground packaged coffees do. By experimenting with different roast levels and blends, you can enjoy a variety of unique tastes that are not available with pre-ground coffee. Plus, having access to multiple varieties will give you more options when trying to find something new or interesting to try out.
When buying specialty green coffee, consider quantity, storage, organic options, and the unique tastes and aromas of specialty beans compared to regular coffee. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Once you've done your research and made your decision, get ready to enjoy the unique flavours and aromas that come from specialty green beans. Take these factors into account to enjoy a truly special cup of coffee.