What is Specialty Coffee?

Welcome to Strider Coffee Roasters, and our first ever Blog! One of our goals at Strider is to create educational materials for people looking to learn Strider Coffee Roaster - Springfield Ohiomore about Specialty Coffee and what our objectives are. Our mission statement is: Globally Sourced, Locally Roasted, Delivered Fresh. We truly search the globe to bring our customers the best quality coffees. We roast our coffees in small-batches at our Roastery in Springfield, Ohio. We roast in small-batches to ensure quality and consistency of every roast. We roast to order, so we do not keep a large amount of bagged coffee sitting on our shelves waiting to be sold. We roast what has been ordered, or projected to be ordered from our customers and partner cafes. 

What is Specialty Coffee?
Specialty coffee is more than producing coffee to drink at home or a coffee shop. It is an art! We source the highest quality beans, create meticulous roasting plans, and taste the roasts constantly to ensure the tasting notes and quality we planned for are in each cup. 
Creating partnerships between roasters, buyers, cooperatives, sorters, farmers, pickers and workers is essential in the Specialty Coffee Industry. Having transparency and traceability of where the coffee is grown, processed, sorted, packed and shipped creates a chain of custody so everyone along the supply chain understand just how important and how much work has gone into the coffee process. 

Green Coffee Processing Methods.
How the coffee is processed and dried after the cherry is picked is one of the most crucial elements to coffee production. Farmers continue to experiment with different processing methods, but we will discuss a few of the typical processing methods you'll encounter. 

Fully Washed:
Fully Washed process is the most common method in Central America and South America (except Brazil). Fully Washed process, the fruit of the cherry is first removed using a depulper. A depulper is a machine specifically designed to carefully remove the skin and fruit from the coffee cherry. Next, the seeds will be soaked in 

Washed Process Specialty Coffee

water for anywhere from 8 hours to several days. This helps break down any leftover mucilage remains from the seeds before being dried. After dried, the seeds will move to a 'dry mill' facility to remove the papery parchment layer and sorts the goods beans from the bad. A fully washed coffee will only have inherent flavors from the coffee bean itself rather than influence from the fruit.


Natural Process:
Natural Process method is the original coffee process. Coffee producers have been using this method since coffee was first discovered. The Natural Process will skip the depulping and soaking steps and the cherries are left out to dry fully intact. The cherries will be laid out, and rotated regularlyNatural Process Coffee for weeks. During this time, the fruit around the cherry ferments and will impart a fruit forwardness to the finished coffee. Once dried to desired levels, the coffee is then milled to remove the dried fruit and parchment from the seed in preparation for export. 


Honey Process:
Honey Process is somewhat of a hybrid process, sometimes called semi-washed or pulped-natural. The Honey Process starts off similarly to the Washed Process, with a depulper removing the skin and pulp of the fruit from the seed. Instead of the seeds next going to soak and washed, in Honey Process the mucilage is left to influence the final flavor  profile of the coffee. Depending on the amount of fruit left on the bean, will determine the classification of the bean. Yellow Honey, Red Honey and Black Honey have varying degrees of fruit forwardness of the finished coffee. Yellow Honey has the least fruity and Black Honey being the most fruity. 

Wet Hulled:
Wet-Hulling is a processing method exclusively used in the South Pacific. Our Sumatra Mandheling is Wet Hulled Processed. Wet Hulling removes the fruit from the seed similarly as washed or honey, but will continue to remove the parchment layer while still at high moisture content. Next the beans are sold to small, local mills to finish drying. Wet Hulled coffees will be exported from the local mills at a much higher moisture content than other processes. 

Coffee Classification Definitions:
You may notice on our coffee bags, we have some abbreviations on the label after the origin and coffee name. These are used to help roasters and consumers to understand size of beans, quality of beans, packaging of green beans, altitude of growth, and sorting quality.

Green Coffee packaging: 
European Prep (EP)- Refers to coffee that has been sorted to remove a minimum of 90% of minor defects, 100% of major defects, and screened to size of 15+
GrainPro (GP)- Green coffee is shipped and stored in GrainPro brand bags.
Ecotact (E)- Green coffee is shipped and stored in Ecotact brand bags.

Central and South American Identifications:
Hard Bean/High Grown (HB/HG)- Refers to Central and South American coffees grown below 1200 Meters Above Sea Level - Our Mexican Chiapas carries this identifier.
Strictly Hard Bean/Strictly High Grown (SHB/SHG)- Refers to Central and South American coffee grown over 1200 Meters Above Sea Level - Our Costa Rican Tarrazu La Pastora carries this identifier. 

15/16 - Refers to coffees screened to 15/16 64th of an inch
17/18-  Refers to coffees screened to 17/18 64th of an inch - All our Brazilian Coffees carry this identifier (Cafe and Espresso Blends)

Supremo: Refers to Colombian Coffee screened 17/18 64th of an inch
Excelso: Refers to Colombian coffee screened to 15/16 64th of an inch

Grade 1 (GR1)- Refers to Washed Ethiopian coffees sorted to 13-25 minor defects per 300 grams. - Our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe carries this identifier. 
Grade 2 (GR2)- Refers to Washed Ethiopian coffees sorted to 26-45 minor defects per 300 grams
Grade 3 (GR3)- Refers to Natural Ethiopian coffees sorted to 13-25 minor defects per 300 grams
Grade 4 (GR4)- Refers to Natural Ethiopian coffees sorted to 26-45 minor defects per 300 grams

Indonesia (Sumatra)
Double Picked (DP)- Coffee sorted for defects twice
Triple Picked (TP)- Coffee sorted for defects three times
GR1 - Coffee sorted to a maximum of 11 minor defects per 300 grams
*Our Sumatra Mandheling carries both DP and GR1 identifiers.

Thank you for reading our first blog post on Specialty Coffee! This was a quick roundup of what Specialty Coffee really is, and how you can better understand some information you may see while browsing our coffee. 

Written by Eric Irwin
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