In the world of coffee the word 'specialty' is not a term that is used lightly. If used correctly it applies to any green bean that has been assessed by a Q Grader and given a Q score greater than 80. The Q score system was introduced by the Coffee Quality Institute as a way of getting skilled individuals who were capable of grading and assessing specifically Arabica green bean and improve the product they had available.
Similarly, the Q score is a way of giving farmers feedback on where their product sits in the market. The majority of coffee beans never reach the cut-off point of 80 and not all coffees actually get graded because its not worth the investment to have it assessed.
Take the example of Q Roasters' latest single origin Honduras Montecillos microlot that has a Q score of 86. Because there was an area on the plantation that was doing particularly well, the farmer would have closed off the area and focused here more than anywhere else on the plantation. Microlots, as the name suggests don't produce commercial quantities of coffee, but they produce high quality grades of coffee that fetch a higher price. These coffees are worth getting assessed to secure a Q score and be classified as a 'specialty' coffee.
At Q Roasters we are fortunate that our master roaster, Lachie is a qualified Q Grader, and has a nose for a great bean. While we certainly keep on eye on technicalities like Q scores we also rely on our experience and taste to create sustainable coffee blends and single origins that keep our coffee loving community coming back for more.
If you would like to find out more about what we do, drop-in for a coffee at our Wolverhampton St roasting house on the north side of Brisbane.