Specialty Vs Premium Coffee: Everything You Need to Know

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Do you know that feeling when you go shopping and see two types of goods that seem to be almost the same? And to complicate things, you are stuck not knowing which one to buy.

This is the same case when it comes to coffee. You are stuck between which drink is good or tastier than the other. Though finding the right coffee is harder, knowing the specialty and premium coffee differences can help you when strolling in the grocery store or buying online.

By the end of this post, you will be able to know what specialty and premium coffee means and which one is the best.

What does specialty coffee mean?

Specialty coffee has been there for a long time though people think it’s a new trend or type of coffee beans. The term emerged in the 70s, and because the demand for high-quality coffee had risen, the 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?

On the other hand, premium coffee is another category of coffee that is also popular in today’s coffee status. But what does premium coffee mean?

It is a coffee with a unique flavor since it has a unique processing method that is used. The 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 condition. 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 professional; 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’s 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.

Reading the label

Do not rely on the appearance of the bag design, but the labels have the correct information that you will be able to know if they are premium coffee or not.

Glossy appearance

When the premium coffee is roasted, it then bursts to release natural gases and oil compounds, making the bean to have a glossy appearance; however, after some time, the appearance becomes duller. Therefore check on the date of roasting, and if it was recent and they look gross, you will know that it is premium.

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. However, if the premium coffee is improved, it can come as a high-priced coffee.

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

• 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 coffee 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?

It is one of the questions that most people ask about what grade of coffee to pick. Different things can help you which of the two will be the better choice for you based on your preference.

However, in general, specialty coffee is better than premium coffee. The specialty is the better choice because it is a high-quality coffee and is known as 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 possess. They have a pleasant flavor that is amazing and unique, but it is based on the roast and where it is coming 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.

Sometimes artificial flavors can is added to customize the drink flavor; however, they may not suit your health. However, it is also cheaper than specialty coffee; although it’s of low quality, many people prefer premium coffee.


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.

However, choosing it will depend on what flavor you prefer and the amount of money you want to spend on the coffee.

There you have it! The comparison between specialty and premium coffee. Hopeful you have learned a lot and buy now you do not have any confusion about the two grades of coffee.

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