Learn more about specialty coffee with ITSI
Coffee is more than just a method of going about our days. It can be a source of joy, a happy moment with friends, a breakfast with your family, a date with someone you like, or a way to reconnect with someone.
But it also goes beyond the moment. Coffee results from a long process before ending up in your cup.
Since it is so important to us, our first task while creating the coffee shop was finding the perfect coffee to offer our customers.
We didn’t want to sell something that you could buy anywhere. We tried to find something special and unique that would also help the community, not just our own but many around the globe.
We want to ensure that what we offer to our customers is sustainable and built with consideration for the world’s challenges.
We want to create a safe space where our clients know that what they’re drinking is good for them and the environment and is making a change.
What is specialty coffee?
Specialty coffee does not mean a specific coffee. Instead, it refers to the coffee that has gone through a process that qualifies it as specialty coffee.
It sounds complex, but in reality, it’s just a series of steps that produce the perfect brew that, lucky you will be able to taste.
It has to start with coffee beans from specific geographic microclimates, which give them a particular flavor. Our blend is a mix between Guatemala, Brazil, and Colombian flavors.
The process we are talking about consists of 6 phases that start with the coffee bean and end up with the brew.
Every phase has to follow specific standards, so the final product is considered specialty coffee.
The process: The lifecycle of the bean
The coffee farmer
The coffee farmers are the producers. They dedicate their lives to growing and picking the best coffee beans.
Coffee farmers depend solely on their harvests, they have to work all year, and their income comes once they sell the beans. This has to cover the costs they incur throughout the year.
They are constantly working on techniques, working with nature’s obstacles, and looking for suitable buyers who will pay them fairly for their efforts.
Not all coffee farmers work with specialty coffee because it is more expensive to cultivate and more complex. So fair trade is crucial for the livelihood of the farmers, and it is one of the key aspects of this type of coffee.
The green coffee buyer
Let’s call them the coffee sommeliers. They are knowledgeable on which coffee beans are of high quality. They can identify through cupping or tasting the specialty grade quality.
They go through courses on which they learn their craft. Therefore, the green coffee buyer is crucial when it comes to picking the best beans.
Usually, they will pick a selection of beans from where the roasters will choose.
They are the ones who develop the concept of coffee. They identify the notes, aroma, and taste.
So if the package of your coffee says it has notes of this or that, and it smells like happiness, that’s probably the work of the green coffee buyer.
The selected coffee beans are received by the coffee roaster.
We talked about the roasting process in our previous blog (link here), so check it out if you want to know more about this part of the process.
The coffee roaster is the one who will cook the bean to the desired flavor.
They use a roasting machine and monitor many factors to ensure that the final roasted beans meet the standard of high-quality coffee.
This part of the process is very complex. It is very easy to fail, so most coffee roasters have a lot of experience and knowledge.
The barista is responsible for the final step. To keep the quality intact, they have to make sure that the high-quality bean is brewed correctly.
They have to know about the origin of the coffee bean, flavor profiles, and how to brew specific kinds of beans.
The barista is usually underestimated, but it is not a job that just anyone can do. Instead, it is a learning process and a challenging job.
So basically, they have to ensure that the intended flavor is accomplished so you can drink the perfect cup of coffee.
It is only logical that the consumer takes a role in the lifecycle of the bean. Without the consumer, the coffee wouldn’t be bought, so there would be no profit.
The more people consume specialty coffee, the bigger the market will get, so you will be supporting farmers, roasters, and local coffee shops.
You will commit to high standards that will result in a better and sustainable way to obtain coffee.
A process that rewards the people who put their most outstanding efforts to offer you the best quality coffee.
How to brew coffee?
Coffee is exceptional because of many factors, but mostly because everyone likes it their own way.
Still, some techniques will help you achieve the best cup of coffee you will ever have.
You can dive into experimenting with different roasts and preparations.
The following are some tips you can add to your routine to get that warm cup:
- The Equipment
Whichever tools you use to make your coffee need to be cleaned every single time.
If there are any leftovers, it could affect the flavor of your next cup of coffee.
- The beans
Try different beans! You can choose a variety from different countries and regions.
Different species like arabica or robusta. The way they were roasted and the texture for your grind.
When you get familiar with all the choices, you will choose which ones are your favorites, and coffee will not just be a «wake me up.» Instead, it will be an experience.
Like picking up a new hobby, the world of coffee is limitless, and it has to do with enjoyment and is a great habit you can add to your routine.
To take 15 minutes every day to brew your own coffee and drink a cup of deliciousness is one of the greatest pleasures in life.
The best way to make sure that your coffee is fresh is to buy it shortly after it is roasted.
Some packages of specialty coffee will have the date when it was roasted on the package.
Another way to make sure that your coffee is fresh is by storing it correctly.
To preserve the flavor, you need to store your beans in an airtight container at room temperature; you don’t want any light around it.
Make sure they are not in contact with anything warm.
You can even buy storage canisters that will definitely be a great tool to keep your beans cool.
Make sure you don’t buy too much, just enough to consume it all before it starts to lose its properties.
You can freeze your beans if you do it in an airtight container, but still, it is best to not take the risk.
They could absorb moisture and odors. So it’s best to keep them at room temperature and consume it in a period of two weeks.
- The grind
We recommend you use a burr or a mill grinder and that you grind the beans right before you’re going to brew the coffee.
A burr or mill grinder are our favorites because the size of the grind is consistent, and it is not too fine or too coarse.
This could affect the flavor of your coffee, it could end up flat or too bitter.
- The water
You might’ve not seen this coming but water is essential when you are brewing coffee.
Unfortunately, tap water usually has a strong odor or tastes like chlorine.
We recommend you use filtered or bottled water so the flavor won’t interfere with the coffee.
Now let’s talk about the «Golden Ratio,» one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. Of course, this will depend on your preferences.
For the temperature of the water, there are many «rules» you can follow, but to make it easy, just make sure you don’t overboil your water.
After it boils, let it rest for a minute before pouring it on the ground coffee.
- Time to brew
In a drip system, the contact time should be a max of 5 minutes. For a french press, it should be between 2-4 minutes. For espresso, it’s only 20-30 seconds.
But, if you are making cold brew, make sure to keep it overnight.
Specialty coffee at ITSI
Just like we told you at the beginning, we only work with specialty coffee. So every cup you drink at ITSI would’ve gone through the whole process, and it is considered a high-quality specialty coffee.
Every cup of coffee we serve is made to please you and make you happy. Bring your friends, family, pets, and enjoy the ITSI experience.
In the end, coffee is just a way to gather people and share joy.
Come to ITSI
Please, come around and let yourself experience a different kind of coffee. We promise you will never go back.
The good thing is before you dare to brew your own coffee, you can come and try it at ITSI,
If you are too busy, you can always order online.
Have you come to ITSI before? You can leave us a review on Yelp or Google. We would love to view your feedback.
Last but not least, do not miss any of our events or promos. Follow us on Instagram.
If you want to learn more about specialty coffee, check out the specialty coffee association webpage https://sca.coffee.