Behind the scenes of specialty coffee on the GC
ORM headed to the new roasting headquarters of JOY Organic Coffee on the Gold Coast. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make speciality coffee special.
When I first got into the coffee industry, I was fascinated at how even the smallest change along the supply chain could have a huge impact on the eventual flavour of the coffee I drank. Where coffee is grown, how it is processed at origin, different roasting techniques, and finally brew methods — all can have an immense effect on the final outcome of your daily cup.
Now, almost seven years later, I’ve taken everything I’ve learnt and apply it daily to our practices at JOY Organic Coffee.
As the head roaster, my goal is to extract a certain flavour profile from a variety of different beans we use. Our First Light espresso blend, for example, uses in-season coffees from Colombia, Honduras, and Peru.
We’ve crafted First Light to be a bold, rich coffee, with a long chocolate finish. This is a perfect choice for milk-based coffees, which are popular in our café in Burleigh and among our wholesale café partners around the country.
To get this flavour profile, I small-batch roast each origin bean separately and at different temperatures/time intervals and then blend the coffees to create my desired outcome. This allows me to control the flavours of each bean and how they work together in a blend to create the perfect balance for our customers.
In my years of experimenting with different beans, roast profiles, and origins, I was able to settle on what I consider to be the best coffee for my customers — both in the café and across our wholesale family.
To me, it was clear: specialty grade, certified organic coffee was the way forward. It was a perfect combination of strict quality standards and ethics in an ever-changing market.
What is ‘specialty grade’ coffee?
Coffee is graded by professionals called Q-graders, who cup coffee (an internationally recognised method of tasting and testing the flavour/aromatic quality of coffee) and give it a score out of 100. Anything above 80 is considered specialty grade, with higher cupping scores reflecting a higher-quality cup of coffee.
At JOY Organic Coffee Roasters, all of our coffee is specialty grade, most in the high end of 85 to 90+, which is extremely rare in the organic coffee sector.
The Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel
Each origin has such a unique flavour profile, and the coffee flavour wheel helps coffee professionals to articulate what aromas we’re smelling and flavours we’re tasting. It creates a universal language that can help communicate a coffee’s unique characteristics.
Did you know there are more flavours in coffee than wine? It can be quite difficult to distinguish these flavours if you drink your coffee with milk.
So next time you’re feeling like something different, ask your local barista to make you something without milk — they might give you a batch brew or V60 to try a unique single-origin. These alterative brewing methods really bring out unique flavours without clouding the sensory experience with milk.
At the moment in our Burleigh cafe, we have an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with notes of almond, chocolate, and blueberry. We are constantly cupping coffees at the roastery, so stop by and join us — we’d love to show you the amazing world of specialty organic coffee.
Increase your coffee IQ!
Q-grader: An accredited professional coffee taster, who uses an internationally recognised system to grade the quality of coffee, giving it a score out of 100.
Cupping: The systematic tasting of coffee, focusing on aromas and flavours — first with dry grounds, then wet grounds, and finally on the flavour of brewed coffee in varying time intervals.
Roasting: Taking green coffee and applying certain temperatures at varying time intervals to achieve a certain roast profile.
Specialty grade coffee: Coffee that is graded at 80 points or higher. The higher the points, the higher the quality of coffee.
Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel: A tool used by roasters, cuppers, and Q-graders to reflect and communicate flavours and aromas of coffee.