Much like wine is rated on a 100 point scale, so is coffee. In fact, there are more tasting notes in coffee than there are in wine! To be considered Specialty Coffee, Arabica beans must be rated at least 80 points or higher by a Licensed Q Grader. This rating sets Specialty Coffee apart from other Arabica beans.
Bean defects like discolorations, dryness, fungus damage, presence of foreign matter, maturity, chips/cuts/breaks, hulls/husks, and insect damage all affect a bean’s rating and whether or not they can be eligible to be rated Specialty beans.
Specialty coffees have been grown at the perfect altitude, at the correct time of year, in the best soil, and then picked at just the right time and roasted to bring out the specific qualities in the bean. This translates into some of the most exciting and tasty coffee in the world.
Ideally, the coffee is brewed within 7-10 days of roasting, for optimal taste and freshness. The oil in coffee beans can go rancid if it is stored improperly or not used quickly. This greatly affects flavor as well, as does proper extraction methods.