The cost of specialty coffee – and why we decided to offer you a bigger range

Posted on Posted in Direct Trade, Origin stories, Pact News

A photo of the range at Pact coffee

Beans Got Talent

Specialty coffee is the industry term used to describe coffee made from the highest-quality beans on the planet. But what does it take to become a special bean? The competition is pretty fierce with less than 1% of the world’s coffee making the grade. So it’s fair to say that winning the coveted title of ‘specialty coffee’ is no easy feat for a coffee bean.   

Let the taste contest begin!

Producing specialty coffee is definitely an A* team effort. The grower, the buyer, the roaster and the drinker all play a part in the lifecycle of the budding bean and it is the quest for quality and flavour that unites them.

When the big tasting day finally arrives, the beans know they must achieve a taste score of 80 or above if they are to achieve their dream of reaching our customers’ coffee cup.

The cuppers get ready to judge the tasting contest but before they begin their tasting, they make sure all the beans have been treated fairly and have been prepared in the same way.

It’s then time for the beans to take centre stage. First, the beans present their fragrance and aroma. Next up is taste and flavour. The judges score them on their clarity, acidity, sweetness and balance of taste. Then it is time for the judges to confer and decide on that all important cupping score. The beans can do no more. They must now wait anxiously to hear the specialty coffee equivalent of “it’s a yes from me!”

What goes into producing specialty coffee?

Behind this one moment lie many months of preparation. The hard work obviously begins on the farm. Many of our growers have been farming coffee for generations and are they are dedicated to producing incredible tasting beans.

We want to be part of the A* team so we choose to trade directly with our growers.

Trading directly with growers also shortens the supply chain and this is much better for the two communities which we care about most: the farmers and their families and the coffee drinkers we serve.

Graphic showing shortened Pact supply chain compared with traditional steps

Balancing the beans

We also like trading directly with our growers because it means they get paid the true value of their beans, not the middle man. But, coffee is a global commodity that is traded worldwide and the currency of coffee is the dollar. Since launching Pact in 2012, the pound has fallen 20% against the dollar. Importing commodity goods to the UK now costs more.

As a young business, we were faced with some very tough, grown-up questions. How could we continue to provide our customers with the best coffee in the world for a great price for years to come?

We definitely didn’t want to pay our farmers less than their beans are worth. We definitely didn’t want to adopt sneaky shrinkflation tactics. But, like our competitors, we needed to find a way to balance the books.

After much head-scratching, the answer, as with most things, came from our customers. More choice.

The Big Three launch

Instead of offering our customers only one subscription plan there are now three different ways to taste the best coffee in the world: House; Select & Micro-Lot.

We decided to expand our coffee range because our customers asked us to. When you fall in love with coffee, you start getting very particular about aromas and flavours. Quite right too. Our new range lets our customers choose the specialty coffee they love, the way they like it, at a price that suits them.

The new expanded range also means we get to buy more coffee at source from our talented partnership producers at a good price. Win-win all round. Explore our new range to see which awesome Coffee Plan tickles your fancy.

4 thoughts on “The cost of specialty coffee – and why we decided to offer you a bigger range

  1. Why can’t we join more than one plan? I like the micro-lots but my husband likes the special coffees, so we’d like to receive some of each?

    1. Hi Patricia,

      You can indeed join more than one plan by setting up a ‘new’ plan in your account. A few people have already signed up to a regular ‘Select’ plan as well as a ‘Micro-Lot’ treat too.

  2. I can’t leave my comment as your site is saying I’ve already left what I said – but I haven’t! Frustrating!

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