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The Emperor's New Beans: The Buzz on Specialty Coffee

How to choose the best coffee beans, and how to avoid stale coffee and overblown coffee marketing. Support your local coffee roaster community.

How do you choose the best coffee?

In 2017, specialty coffee will make up over 50% of the $48 billion dollar coffee market in the United States, and ~30% of coffee-drinking adults will make their daily cup a specialty roast. Coffee is considered “specialty” when it exhibits a flavor profile from its geographical origin, is freshly roasted, and properly brewed.

Demand for quality coffee is on the rise: these days, even grocery store shelves contain some hidden gems! But beware, any diamond in the rough is, by definition, surrounded by a lot of "rough". Other than being familiar with a local roaster or cafe, how can you know you're buying the best, freshest beans?

When you're buying coffee in the wild, here are a few things to keep in mind so you bring home the very best beans, every time:

Follow our cheat sheet whenever you buy coffee, and soon you'll be sipping pretty. And isn't that what it's all about?

I'm a great cup!

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