Top 10 Specialty Coffee Questions Answered!

Top 10 Specialty Coffee Questions Answered!

We're challenging you; do you know all the answers to these questions? If not, you can improve your coffee cranium in just a few minutes.


1. How much caffeine is in coffee?

It depends on the size. Coffee usually contains around 90-200 mg of caffeine depending how big the cup. An 8 oz cup can be as little as 90 mg, while a 16 oz can be as much as 200 mg. That averages down to about 11-12.5 mg per oz.


2. Do dark and light roasts have different amounts of caffeine?

If you are measuring by weight, there should be no difference in caffeine. But, if you are measuring with volume (scoops), lighter coffee will contain more caffeine because it is denser than dark coffee.


3. What is Fairtrade coffee?

Fair trade coffee has been produced by a cooperative of farmers, importers, exporters, and distributors that follow the standards set out by the Fairtrade organization. It's easy to believe that this coffee is checking the humanitarian box, but that's not always the case.

The regulations are good, but they aren't always well enforced. For example, companies can get Fairtrade certifications and not actually do what they say they are doing. They could also still find other ways to neglect their suppliers. Many of these certifications also create hoops the farmers have to jump through when they simply want to sell their coffee at a reasonable price. The burden ends up falling on them.

Not all Fairtrade companies have this problems, and it's definitely a step in the right direction. But overall, the certification isn't a cure-all.


4. How much are coffee farmers paid?

Over the past year, the price of coffee as a raw material has floated around $2.50 per pound. Other times, it has dipped as low as $1.21. However, the size of the farmers' operations, the specialty of their processes, and the rarity of their coffee trees can raise to price above the minimum.

At Native Root, we not only pay our farmers more because it's a higher quality coffee. We also pay them 10-15% more on top of what they could get for it elsewhere.



5. How is coffee decaffeinated?

There are 2 ways coffee is decaffeinated, and both processes happen when the beans are green (unroasted). One way is called "solvent-based," where the beans are soaked in chemical mixtures that extract the caffeine. The other way is called "non-solvent-based," where the beans are soaked in hot water or liquid carbon dioxide to remove the caffeine. These usually require very expensive machinery.


Native Root coffee free sample



6. What does arabica mean?

There are two main types of coffee beans: arabica and robusta. Specialty coffee is pretty much always arabica. The main differences between these is that Arabica tends to have a smoother, sweeter taste, with flavors akin to chocolate and sugar. They often also have hints of fruits or berries. Robusta on the other hand has a harsher and more bitter flavor, with grainy or rubbery overtones. Robusta also has more caffeine.

Arabica usually grows at much higher altitudes than robusta. Robusta can grow at as little as 32 feet above sea level (FASL) while arabica usually grows between 2,000 and 6,000 FASL.
On top of that, there are tons of different coffee varietals (types of trees), including Bourbon, Tabi, Caturra, Castillo, Colombia, Gesha, Typica, and 1,000+ more!


7. How and where was coffee discovered?

As the story goes, coffee was discovered by Kaldi, an Ethiopian goat farmer, when he noticed his goats coming back to his farm "dancing" (acting hyper). He followed them and discovered "magical berries" (coffee cherries) that made him want to dance with his goats. In actuality, he was just hopped up on caffeine.


8. What is instant coffee?

Instant coffee is brewed coffee that was then dehydrated into a powder. Since it was already liquid coffee, it dissolves completely in water. It usually tastes harsher and less complex than freshly brewed coffee because, well, it's not fresh.


9. What is a cupping score?

High quality coffee will often get cupped and scored by a professional taster, often educated and certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). The expert gives a 6-10 rating in 10 categories, like aroma, flavor, body, acidity, and balance. The final score basically tells you a coffee's quality, and any coffee above 80 points is considered specialty. Commercial grade coffee averages 60-80.
Native Root's coffee consistently scores within the top 5% of all coffee, consistently achieving scores of 86 and above.

Cupping score is important to discover a bean's true quality. However, the most important thing to you, the coffee drinker, is that you truly enjoy whatever coffee you're having.


10. Is coffee good or bad for you?

Anything can be bad for you if you have too much. That being said, there are many studies that show black coffee has health benefits. It is a major source of antioxidants, which are believed to be good for your long-term health. Coffee has also been shown to improve brain function and a lower your risk of several diseases.

The main thing to watch out for (other than excessive sugars, creams, and syrups) is your daily caffeine intake, which varies from person to person.


Bonus: Where can I try some amazing Colombian coffee?

All Native Root coffee is in the top 5% in the world in quality and ethically sourced. Here are some of our best sellers!

Try some now!

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