Defining Specialty: An Origin Perspective

By Emilio Lopez Diaz, Coffee Producer, Cuatro M Single Origin Coffees

Long gone are the days when coffee was just a commodity, when only big corporations would have access to coffee at origin, and when just a few exporters had access to roasters. There had to come a crash in the industry for many to wake up and realize the potential that remained in coffee. It doesn’t matter what the size of your operation is as a roaster or importer, you can easily get in touch with the producer of your favorite coffees and pay a visit to check out their operation. As a producer, the same holds true, no matter your size, quality opens any possibility to be able to contact and supply the most recognized specialty roasters throughout the world. The pursuit and commitment to quality is what forms and shapes the specialty industry at both ends of the production chain.

Led mainly by young entrepreneurs, the specialty coffee industry has developed into a network of producers, millers, exporters, importers, roasters, baristas, and now the end consumer, all talking and demanding quality coffee, which can only be produced at very specific regions in the world.

But what does it take for a farmer to become a specialty coffee producer today? Is there simply a line drawn between a commodity coffee farm and a specialty coffee one? Does a farm need to go through a transformation process to become a specialty coffee supplier?

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