Md Toy Blog



Coffee is grown in the "Bean belt" between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Specialty coffee is the highest grade of coffee available, typically relating to the entire supply chain, using single origin or single estate coffee (term first used by Erna Knutsen in an issue of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal - 1974, to describe beans of the best flavor which are produced in special micro-climates). The widely accepted definition of specialty coffee is coffee scoring 80 points or above on the 100-point Coffee Review scale. Coffee scoring from 90-100 is graded Outstanding, coffee that scores 85-89.99 is graded Excellent, while coffee scoring 80-84.99 is graded Very Good. The Specialty Coffee Association has a series of more detailed specifications (SCA is the union of the Specialty Coffee Association of American (SCAA) and Europe (SCAE)). The SCA sets standards for specialty coffee at every stage of the coffee production, including allowable defects in green beans, water standards, and brew strength. The SCA also sets clear standards on the coffee grading process.

Third Wave of Coffee, claims to be the replacement term for "Specialty Coffee". The first wave of American coffee culture was probably the 19th-century surge that put Folgers on every table, and the second was the proliferation, starting in the 1960s at Peet's and moving smartly through the Starbucks grande decaf latte, of espresso drinks and regionally labeled coffee. We are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure.

Reading the label

  • Country of origin followed by the region.
  • Grade refers to the size:
  • Altitude:
  • Good quality starts at 3000 to 3.5k ft and at the tippy top goes up to 7000 ft.


Variety vs. Cultivar

Varieties are naturally occurring subspecies, whereas cultivars are cultivated subspecies. Breed is an umbrella term that should be used in cases where the distinction between the former two terms is not clear.

Variety refers to differences between plants that are smaller than in subspecies, but larger than in forms. Cultivar any variety produced by horticultural or agricultural techniques and not normally found in natural populations; a cultivated variety. Most of the varieties we know in specialty coffee are really cultivars.

Each variety does affect the flavor of the coffee. In ethiopia there is a variety called Geisha which gives you a flavor of lemon candy and apricot. And it is clear as a bell. Very different than say a Katora or a Burbon.


Before the 19th century, arabica was indeed the exclusive producer of all coffee in the world but the first documented of CLR disease (coffee leaf rust) decimated crops around the world prompting many farmers to explore alternative crops.

While some countries almost completely replaced coffee production with alternative crops, Indonesia began introducing Robusta (which has both high yield in fruit and high resistance to CLR) considered of lower quality. During first half of 20th century, East Java pioneered systematic breeding designs in robusta coffee which would become exemplary to all subsequent breeding programmes of robusta coffee in India and Africa.

Prior to mid 1900s, arabica coffee breeding involved simple line selection with an emphasis in adaption to local conditions, fruit yield and cup quality. In the late 1970 various countries started breeding programs designed to create cultivars resistant to CLR.

Breeding selection criterias

Cup quality: refers to how well the seed tastes. Yield is the amount of fruit produced by a given plant. Resistance to disease: determining factor in not only natural selection but also in new cultivar breeding. Breeding for disease resistance has been mainly restricted to CLR and CBD (Coffee Berry Disease). Resistance to pest: is not normally a trait developed by breeding. Amount of caffeine: some consider a higher amount as bad. Maturation rate: the time before the plant will start producing new fruit again.


The grade basically refers to the size. The larger the bean, usually means that they are more ripe.

They are measured by the diameter (of a hole in a screen) in:

  • 1/64" (from 8 - 20)
  • mm (from 3.2 - 8.0)

There are many gradings depending on the origin and usage:

  • Industrial
  • shell (3.2 - 5.2 mm)
  • small (5.6 mm)
  • medium (6 - 6.4 mm)
  • large (6.8 - 7.2 mm)
  • very large (7.6 - 8.0 mm)
  • Central America
  • caracolillo (3.2 - 3.6 mm)
  • caracolli (4.0 - 4.4 mm)
  • caracol (4.8 - 5.2 mm)
  • terceras (5.6 mm)
  • segundas (6.0 - 6.4 mm)
  • superior (6.8 - 8.0 mm)
  • Colombia
  • Caracol (3.2 - 5.2 mm)
  • UGQ (usual good quality, 5.6 mm)
  • excelso (6.0 - 6.4 mm)
  • superemo (6.8 - 8.0 mm)
  • East Africa (a.k.a Kenyan) & India (excl. Ethiopia)
  • T (Triage, 3.2 - 5.2 mm)
  • C, T (5.6 mm)
  • B, AB TT (light weight) (6.0 mm)
  • A, AB, TT (light weight) (6.4 mm)
  • AA, TT (light weight) (6.8 - 7.2 mm)
  • E, HE (Elephant, Hulled Elephant, 7.6 - 8.0 mm)
  • Others: PB (Peaberry, usually single bean in the cheery rather than the usual two half beans), C, MH/ML, UG-1 (ungraded light), UG-2 (ungraded heavy)
  • Robusta (Africa)
  • T (Triage, 3.2 - 5.2 mm)
  • FAQ (Fairly Average Quality, 5.6 - 6.0 mm)
  • superior (6.4 - 7.2 mm)
  • over 18 (7.6 - 8.0 mm)


The green bean in itself does not taste anything



Low altitude (3000-3500 ft - 1050 m)

Lower altitude growing usually give you earthier coffees, good chocolate flavours and nuts.

High altitude (up to 7000 ft - 2133 m)

Higher altitudes give colder temperatures during the night that means that the bean gets more dense which brings more acidity. Acidity is called the liveliness which is the pizzazz that the coffee has. You start to get more fruit flavours, even floral notes.


Hawaian Kona is growing at much lower altitude because it is so far north from the equator.


It's only the roasting that puts the flavor into the coffee. First (light), second cracking, 5 seconds after second cracking

Light roast

If the coffee is a light floral kind of coffee, we want to retain that. The way to keep that is by enhance the acidity and the brightness.

Long roast

If the coffee has a lot of caramel aromas or natural sweetness, we might want to enhance that by increasing the caramelization. Roasting for a longer period of time will have that effect.

A dark roast will be really heavy and chocolaty and coco, and nutty (earthy)

Cooling phase

It is really important to be able to cool down the coffee beans once they have attained their roasting peak. If not cooled properly they may even burn.



  • Maragogype (Grand Terroir)
  • Characteristics:
    • Slight acidity
    • Cocoa
    • Balanced
    • Well rounded
    • Discreet
    • Soft
    • Creamy
  • Country:
    • Nicaragua
  • Drying
    • Sun drying
  • Roast:
    • Medium
    • Slow
  • Treatment:
    • Washed coffee
  • Variety:
    • Arabica
  • Nyeri AA (Specialty)
  • Characteristics:
    • Acidity: high
    • Green apple
    • Citrus
  • Country:
    • Kenya
  • Grade:
    • AA
  • Rating: SCA 89.5
  • Region:
    • Nyeri
    • Mihuti - Volcanic soil, rich in nutrients.
  • Monsoon Canephora (Specialty)
  • Characteristics:
    • Bean color: yellow
    • Exceptionally smooth
    • Caffeine: high
    • Aroma: medium high
    • Sweetness: medium high
    • Acidity: very low
    • Finish: high
    • Balance: medium
    • Body: high (full body)
  • Country:
    • India
  • Drying:
    • Raised beds
    • Inside open warehouses in order to get moisture from the monsoon season.
  • Grade:
    • AA
  • Harvest:
    • Hand picked
  • Region:
    • Kerala Region
  • Roast:
    • Medium
    • Slow
  • Variety:
    • Robusta
  • Guji Hangadhi
  • Altitude:
    • 2100 - 2200 m
  • Characteristics:
    • Fruity taste
    • Citrus notes
    • Fine acidity
  • Country:
    • Ethiopia
  • Drying
    • Raised beds
  • Growing:
    • Under orchard
    • Organic Polyculture Model which is basis for local food made from :
    • Beans
    • Cabbage
    • Enset
  • Harvest
    • Hand picked
  • Region:
    • Hangadhi, near Shakisso
    • Guji (High Altitude Forest)
  • Variety
    • Arabica Heirloom
  • Bio Sidamo (Pure origin)
  • Characteristics:
    • Touch of acidity
    • Floral
    • Spicy
    • Vanilla
    • Pepper
    • Bergamot
    • Honey
    • Exceptional complexity
  • Country:
    • Ethiopia
  • Drying:
    • On racks
  • Harvest:
    • Hand picked
  • Treatment:
    • Washed coffee
  • Variety:
    • Range of Arabicas
  • Italia Mocca (Blend)
  • Characteristics:
    • Aromatic
    • Rich
    • Ample
    • Acidity: a touch of
    • Body: well rounded
    • Typicality from the exceptional mocha from Ethiopia
  • Country:
    • Colombia
    • Central America
    • Brazil
    • Ethiopia
  • Roasting:
    • Medium
  • Variety:
    • Arabica
  • 333
  • Characteristics:
    • Intensity: very high
    • Body: high
    • Aroma: medium
  • Country:
    • Latin America
    • Asia
    • Africa
  • Roasting:
    • Long
  • Variety:
    • 50% Arabica
    • 50% Robusta
  • Kopi Luwak (Grand Terroir)
  • Characteristics:
    • Body: heavy
    • Smoothness: exceptional
    • Syrupy
    • Hazelnut
    • Chocolate
    • Caramel
  • Country:
    • Indonesia