Home Institutions SCA SCA releases ...

SCA releases new White Paper ‘Towards a Definition of Specialty Coffee’

SCA White Paper

MILAN – The Specialty Coffee Association has issued a new white paper titled “Towards a Definition of Specialty Coffee: Building an Understanding Based on Attributes”. The paper, co-authored by sustainability, research, standards, and executive leadership of the association, reconceptualizes the definition of specialty coffee in light of new research and understanding of the specialty coffee marketplace.

The new framework is based on the concept of “attributes” as the source of specialty coffee’s unique value and provides an improved definition of “specialty coffee” that can be used in research and sustainability efforts. It can also improve communication among the global coffee trade.

As it is said in the Introduction to the White Paper: “A persistent challenge facing the specialty coffee industry is a fundamental one: how do we define ‘specialty coffee’ in the first place? This question—which may seem to be a very basic one—has vexed the industry since its very beginnings,”

“We believe that we have found a solution to this problem by using a framework to define specialty coffee in relation to its attributes (an “attributes conception” of specialty coffee). This conception leads to a precise, useful definition of specialty coffee, which will be explored at the end of this paper.”

The new framework is the result of years of careful thought and knowledge-building and was discussed among coffee leaders at last May’s Re:co event. The SCA hopes this new definition and framework better serves the industry and helps achieve the aim of making coffee better everywhere.

Peter Giuliano, Katie Jane von der Lieth, Mario Fernandez, Yannis Apostolopulos, Kim Elena Ionescu, and Jenn Rugolo contributed to the paper.

The White Paper is available at this link.