In the face of climate change and advances in technology, what is “specialty coffee”? For nearly 50 years, our understanding of specialty has been tied to a single coffee species: Coffea arabica. Using the attributes-based definition of specialty coffee, we’ll explore how our understanding of “specialty” has widened—and will continue to widen—in the coming years as we integrate new species and new processing methods into our specialty lexicon. Now that we understand “specialty coffee” as a “coffee with qualities” (rather than simply “quality coffee”), how might we articulate a green specialty coffee standard? What can we learn from our previous experience with new approaches? Whether entirely new or newly reimagined, these species and processing methods prompt important questions of access, market development, and conservation.
Hanna is the communications director for World Coffee Research, the only organization in the world applying advanced agricultural science for coffee on a world-wide, collaborative basis. She writes and speaks globally about efforts to secure the future of coffee agriculture. Her writing and commentary has appeared in the Time Magazine, the Washington Post, CNN, BBC, and many others. She is the author of Left Coast Roast, a guidebook to coffee roasters on the west coast.
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