Specialty vs. Premium Coffee

What does specialty coffee mean?

Specialty coffee has been there for a long time though people think it’s a new trend or new type of coffee beans. The term emerged in the 70s, and because the demand for high-quality coffee had risen, high-quality coffee was treated by people as special across the world. This kind of coffee is the grade one coffee whose scores are in the range of 80 points to up to 100 points.

Moreover, the specialty coffee is grown at high altitudes and is given much attention and care by the farmers, which they can sell it to the roasters directly or to traders. The roaster also processed it further to enhance its quality and natural flavors.

What is premium coffee?

It is a coffee with a unique flavor since it has a unique processing method that is used. Coffee is not grown anywhere but in a selected geographical area like the Caribbean. It is all about the altitude, rainfall, soil quality, and other weather conditions. Also, the other thing that makes this type of coffee premium is the infrastructure used to produce it.

For instance, they are picked at the right time, washed and dried, and then professionally; they are further processed. Therefore, this sounds like one of the healthy coffees produced organically and grown on the right soil type. Thus, the organic coffee you take is the one that is referred to as premium coffee. The grade of this coffee is graded as second-grade with a point range of 60 to 79 points.


How to know if my coffee beans are premium?

There are different ways that you can use to know if the coffee beans are premium or not. Here are some examples.

Glossy appearance

When the premium coffee is roasted, it then bursts to release natural gases and oil compounds, making the bean have a glossy appearance; however, after some time, the appearance becomes duller.


Difference between specialty and premium coffee

  • The significant difference between the two coffees is the quality. The specialty coffee is the high-quality coffee graded from 80 points to 100 points, while the premium coffee is the grade two coffee graded with a range of 60 to 70 points.

    • In terms of price, the specialty coffee is expensive compared to the premium one since it is of high quality.

    • Premium coffee is super dark, and they are bitter coffee, while the specialty ones are fairly dark and bitter.

    • When it comes to the origin of where the coffee is coming from, for the premium one, you may have little knowledge about the country of origin. With the specialty, there is a recognition of the country of origin.

    • When it comes to the processing methods, the methods are very different because the specialty coffee is roasted in small factories using the traditional methods or technology; this is done to maintain the flavor and the taste of the coffee. The premium one has its unique extraction method; however, it is with the help of some equipment. Unlike the specialty, the premium cannot be hand-processed.

    • The two coffees are also differentiated by the properties that they possess. Examples of the features they differ include aroma, body, mouth feel, flavor, and tasting after taste and defects.


Which is better, premium coffee or specialty coffee?

Specialty coffee is better than premium coffee. The specialty is the better choice because it is a high-quality coffee and is known as a grade one product. When it comes to defects with the specialty, you will not find one because the coffee is highly sorted before processing, and only the good and high-quality coffee beans are used.

Another thing that makes the specialty better is the flavor traits it possesses. They have a pleasant flavor that is amazing and unique, but it is based on the roast and where it comes from. Premium coffee has many aspects that make it fail to be the best option since it is a lower grade coffee that also has some defects. During the processing, coffee of different quality or origin with some defects. It influences the end product making it the second option after specialty.


There are differences between specialty and premium coffee that you need to know before picking any of the two. When you want to choose between the two, it is good you can compare them in terms of the quality, price, flavors, and many others.

Shop our Workshop Coffee Collection to learn more about what you can expect from Peaberry Coffee Lab - Shop Now

  • V60 Pour Over

    Pour over is the perfect brew method to understanding the nuances of speciality coffee

    V60 Method 
  • Espresso

    Turn yourself into a real home barista with our Espresso Brew Buide

    Espresso Method 
  • AeroPress

    AeroPress is a fun and very versatile brewing method

    AeroPress Method