According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), 48% of all cups of coffee ordered in the United States are perceived as being "specialty" in nature, and this figure totals nearly 55% of the overall coffee market share, which is estimated to be at $48 billion.
In short, specialty coffee comprises about half of this entire market share, and according to many of their studies, this number is continuing to rise. Just consider the number of shops. In 1993, there were just 2,850 specialty coffee shops in the United States. Twenty years later there were 29,300.
With this level of competition comes the need for differentiation, so let's take a quick look at a few factors to perfect coffee:
SOURCING THE BEANS
What, where, and how are the beans grown? Like wine is to grapes, coffee is to beans. What types of beans is a farm growing? Where is that farm? How are the farmers growing the beans? All of these factors involve sourcing, and they're some of the most important when it comes to impact the overall flavor.
PROCESSING THE BEANS
The next step is looking at how those beans are processed before the all-important roasting stage. Are they the product of a blend between several varietals? And lastly, how are beans roasted? While good roasters can't make bad beans great, it is possible to recognize certain qualities in coffee beans and select a roasting profile that will draw out the best in those beans.
BREWING THE COFFEE
When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, you first must start with the question, "What type of cup do you want?" The methods with which we seem to brew coffee these days are growing as quickly as the industry itself. There's the pour-over option, the French press, drip coffee, traditional beverages like cappuccino and lattés, and even one of the latest trends, nitro coffee. Brewing the perfect coffee also requires the right equipment. In some types of operations, traditional espresso units work best. In other places, perhaps a super-automated coffee machine is the way to go. It's all a matter of preference -- and profit.
SERVING THE COFFEE
Speaking of profit, this is where we arrive at that ultimate moment. Coffee has been grown and sourced from across the globe. It's been roasted by our favorite, local roasters. The shop runs it through that amazing machine. And now it's time to sit down with the paper and enjoy. How you serve coffee matters, too.
Whether someone enjoys that cappuccino or just wants the quick power and aroma of a good shot of espresso, coffee has become an art, and on the tabletop it should be framed that way. If you own a specialty coffee shop or serve specialty coffee, you'll love the new options available in the Coffee Tasting collection from Tafelstern, where each piece is designed specifically for the perfect coffee service.