Defining Organic Specialty Coffee
The definition of “specialty coffee” is pretty much whatever an individual producer desires it to be. It can refer to “special” blends of beans or it can refer to flavored coffee beans. Coffee labeled “specialty” comprises around ten percent of the world’s market, but true specialty coffee, coffee beans produced in optimum conditions, grown organically in the shade and processed in a way that assures the very best tasting coffee, amounts to about one percent of the world’s coffee production. As the premium for growing organic coffee becomes less and therefore the incentive to grow organic coffee disappears, and as climate changes produce smaller yields and force coffee prices in general to rise, it remains to be seen what the future holds for true organic specialty coffee. Today’s organic specialty coffee depends on growers that are concerned more with a great tasting coffee that is sustainably grown, than with their profitability. We will have to wait to see how many small producers have the ability to continue growing organic coffee which traditionally yields fewer beans and a smaller bean at a higher cost. We will also have to wait and see how many consumers are willing to pay for a high quality organic coffee and how many will settle for a cup of coffee of lesser quality.