What's so special about Specialty Coffee.

Specialty Coffee is great coffee. Specialty coffee is considered quite holistically and includes not only the taste or cupping score but also the history and ethics of the producer. It is the equivalent of buying your tomatoes from the local farmer compared to the local Woolworths. They taste better, you are more connected to the provenance of the produce and are directly helping out the farmer.
On the more objective side Specialty Coffee must have a grading score as defined by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) of over 80.
The scoring is performed in brewed coffee by qualified Q graders who rate the coffee on attributes such as sweetness, aroma, acidity, complexity or faults such as sourness or bitterness.
The next wave of specialty coffee is the Third Wave and while not completely defined argues that a greater knowledge of the coffee you are using, should be considered and a cupping score over 84 is a more realistic target for great coffee.
The push from the consumer for better coffee is driving the third wave and resulting in positive improvements for the consumer and the producer. There has been an increased demand for heirloom varietals, benefits on the farm due to more sustainable practices, a focus on single origin development and increased awareness of community welfare in coffee growing countries..