Let us give you some insight into specialty coffee vs commercial coffee, as you might be missing out on the world of brewing and great experience! 

Yes, we know that the price of specialty coffee has you thinking is it worth it?

Coffee is coffee? Right?


Specialty coffee is not just for coffee snobs, and yes commercial coffee is still popular and large part of the global market. 

But don’t limit yourself! Especially when it comes to experiencing delicious food and drink! Coffee is the same, there are so many flavours don’t deprive your palate from an amazing experience! 

Let’s understand the difference:

What is commercial coffee?

Coffee sold by large brands, roasted in bulk. These are available at any of your local grocery shops. 

What is specialty coffee? 

Specialty coffee is best sold in beans and needs to be grounded before your next brew therfore it is normally sold from the rosters, Deli’s or specialty grocery shops. You don’t find it in the local grocery store. 

All coffee is graded with a quality score out of 100 points. Professional and certified tasters called Q Graders note every particularity of a coffee (aroma, taste, texture, uniformity, etc.) in a process called “cupping”. If rated over 80 points, it can be classified as specialty coffee.

Let’s address the cost (that is always on everyone’s mind)

Cost is a focus throughout commercial coffee production process. Therefore, using beans with a lower production cost makes sense. 

Commercial coffee is made up of a mix of coffee beans, Thus, minimize or destroy some of the flavour profiles that you will find in Specialty coffee. Although this is not a bad thing, because commercial coffee drinkers prefer that taste. 

Commercial coffee comes from plants that are placed in direct sun with no thought given to altitude or other beneficial factors, because the focus is on providing an affordable coffee, not high flavour product. 

Only selects the top-quality beans are used for Specialty Coffee.

Producing specialty coffee is labor intensive.

Every stage, from plant, harvest, selection, processing, roast to cup, is more meticulous. The handle and care for each phase product is crucial, packaging needs to be pristine, and brewing culminates a chain of excellence. Price covers all nuances. – SCA

 If farmers (and we’re talking about the 25 million smallholder farmers who produce 80 percent of the world’s supply) can’t make a profitable (or even liveable) wage from coffee, future generations will be less likely to enter the industry, and specialty coffee will be a thing of the past, unable to compete with the commodity coffee producers in Brazil and Vietnam, which turn out decent-quality coffee at a high volume and low cost.

Specialty coffee roasters are at the forefront of this movement to better compensate farmers putting in the extra effort to cultivate beans and ensure economic success at all levels of the production and supply chain. “When specialty coffee is at its best, it’s recognizing each of those actors as a craftsperson worthy of celebration and worthy of prospering for their work,” Peter Giuliano, chief research officer at the Specialty Coffee Association, told HuffPost

It is important for Speciality coffee brands to be transparent with their consumers by placing the information on the packaging. Which is a selling point as coffee connoisseurs often love a certain type of coffee (like a wine or whiskey) and want to continue to buy it. 

Another difference is the traceability of the coffee! 

It is vital for specialty coffee beans to be transparent about where exactly a bean is grown: 

  1. The country of origin 
  2. The region 
  3. The Farm 

This is part of quality control, consumers preferences as they may prefer a certain country’s beans or variety. 

In conclusion, to us at Big Bay Beach Brew, Specialty Coffee will always be our choice of coffee (call us coffee connoisseurs). But at the end of the day, it depends on your taste and choice of coffee beverage. 

We do encourage that you, at least try specialty coffee. If you need help with recipes on how to brew check out our “Home Barista” tab. 

Also try to always purchase specialty coffee from brands that are transparent about where they got their beans from. After all “We shouldn’t call it a specialty coffee if there are people within it that have been exploited or ignored.”


Photo by Livier Garcia from Pexels

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