With the third-wave coffee movement reigning the world back in the 1970s, specialty coffee has been changing the way we enjoy our daily grind. To be graded as specialty coffee, the brands need to score at least 80 out of 100 on the qualified “Q Grader” scale in the blind-tasting test using the “Brazilian Cupping method.”
For the sake of retaining freshness and wholesome flavors, most specialty coffee is roasted and shipped out within a 24-hour window. If you’re looking for the best of the best, check out our round-up of the best speciality coffee brands.
1. Blanchard’s Coffee
Founded by David Blanchard, the Blanchard’s house has been in the roasting industry for over ten years. Blanchard’s goes forward with a passion for making specialty coffee more accessible with a broad portfolio for all drinkers.
Its success comes down to the broad appeal it brings to the market, with over 15 specialty coffee products on the plate. No matter if it’s a fruit-forward, bright, and juicy coffee or a dark, full-bodied cup, Blanchard’s makes sure you don’t have to sacrifice your preferences for something your heart does not desire.
Blanchard’s sources its beans from around the world and retains inclusivity in its business. Most of their beans are supplied from farms in Nicaragua, with other selections from Colombia. You might also be interested in our round-up of the best Greek coffee brands.
2. Dark Arts Coffee
Dark Arts Coffee emerges as one of the most notable specialty coffee spots in East London. Starting with a group of friends, Dark Arts collects beans from around the world and transports them back to their small roastery in Homerton.
Today, you can find many of their seasonal coffees in various outlets throughout the UK. Alternatively, those who live abroad can select their favorite blends online. If you’re a diehard fan of specialty coffee, check out their subscriptions available for weekly and monthly deliveries, so you don’t have to pay for shipping again.
So far, Dark Arts have introduced over ten special coffee products categorized by country, with a Decaf selection rounding off the list. Each package appears in a mystic box, steeped in a jet-black hard-shell cover. The coffee itself boasts an exceptional tasting profile that caresses your palate with unique notes you barely find elsewhere.
For example, Weird Science, one of their latest surprises, uses the JARC varieties of Ethiopian coffee and delivers a subtle sweetness with a juicy mango mouthfeel and notes of white grapes and strawberries.
The UK-based roastery takes its sustainability credentials very seriously. Hasbean coffee is roasted in small batches to retain its freshness for order. By partnering with long-term, transparent suppliers, the brand guarantees to introduce an ever-changing variety of coffee in their extensive collections that include single-origins and house blends.
Each of their packages inspires you with a short, impressive description, supported by a brief lowdown of the coffee varieties, flavor profile, and process. To make your shopping experience more transparent and friendlier, Hasbean breaks down its products into flavors such as cocoa, citrus, fruity, or spicy. For the process, you can choose to have the beans natural or washed.
4. Onyx Coffee Lab
Onyx was born in 2011 when Jon and Andrea Allen left behind their guaranteed future in the coffee industry to pursue the specialty coffee dream. Starting in the dark with struggle and dedication, the couple finally established a stronghold using Andrea’s experience as a barista and Jon’s branding expertise.
Onyx has developed over 20 specialty coffee products, each of which is wrapped inside a sleek, inspiring box with the company’s slick embossed branding. Let’s take Tropical Weather, for example. This seasonal Ethiopia blend is packed with pungent fruits and natural sugars.
When the coffee washes down your throat, it sends a message of the long summer days to your brain with a floral aroma as well as notes of berries and plums.
- Onyx Coffee Lab Roaster Sample Box
- Whole Bean Coffee
- Light Roast
- Gourmet Specialty Coffee
- Four 4 Ounce Bags
- Freshly Roasted
- 100% Arabica Coffee
5. Counter Culture
With three decades of roasting beans and still counting, Counter Culture is well on its way to become a beloved specialty coffee brand with a long-establishing relationship with global farmers. Ever since the third-wave coffee movement kickstarted in the 1970s, Counter Culture has remained a stalwart of the revolution.
Ringing true to exceptional quality and sustainability, Counter Culture takes pride in its development in both scale and practice. Other than roasting coffee, Counter Culture also emphasizes its intention to educate the masses and encourage those who want to be conscientious roasters and home brewers.
Today, Counter Culture has developed 23 specialty coffee products, with their beans sourced from Africa to the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Other than that, you can also look at their Single-Origin or Organic collections, while the Limited Release is a perfect call for a special occasion gift. All of their batches are freshly roasted-to-order, making sure what you receive is roasted and shipped out on the same day for optimal freshness.
6. Muttley And Jack’s
Muttley and Jack’s, a brand for dog lovers and coffee addicts to unite, are one of the most renowned specialty coffee brands in Sweden. When going their way, you can barely go back to normal coffee. Each of their eleven specialty coffee products will be mail-ordered to your doorstep in no more than a 24-hour window.
They also regularly surprise their customers with promotional offers.
If you’re wondering what’s in store for you, think about their Mbinga-washed bourbon from Congo, Arsosala; a fully washed coffee from Ethiopia, or Daterra sweet pulped natural from Brazil. Muttley and Jack’s developed a strict focus on seasonal and sustainably produced specialty coffees from exciting origins. Their coffees are hand-roasted in small batches out of a house on the Stockholm archipelago, sourced from farms where local communities and families have been growing beans for generations.
By cutting out the middlemen to contribute a much larger profit to the hands of the native artisanal growers, Muttley and Jack’s go a long way in introducing exciting flavor profiles from lesser-known countries and regions to your palate every morning. Their micro-lots, nano-lots, and single estates score between 87 and 90 on the SCA quality scale.
Going strong since 1993, PT’s is a leader in the niche of specialty coffee with Kansas roots. The roasters behind the brand, Jeff Taylor and Fred Polzin, spend days and nights roasting the finest beans out of their Diedrich IR24, Diedrich IR5, and Gothot machines with a simple desire to deliver an excellent cup of Joe with care for long-term sustainability.
Four years after their first launch, PT’s started to forge Direct Trade partnerships. Nowadays, 80% of PT’s specialty coffee products have been acquired through this program. In order to maintain the leading position, PT has a careful approach when working with its selected partners to ensure that the mission of staying socially responsible and environmentally conscious is agreed upon and followed.
Today, you can choose from their 12 coffee products, with some exciting flavors such as black cherry, lemon zest, graham cracker, or nougat. Their coffee profiles also range from rich and balanced to vibrant, lively, and complex. If you liked this post, you might be interested in our best gourmet coffee brands.