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Why you shouldn’t miss out on Grade 1 Ethiopian coffee

We demand more from our cheese, wine, music and movies—so why do we settle for mediocre coffee?

Have you ever stopped and wondered about the quality of the coffee you drink every morning?

For many of us, coffee is just a bitter vessel to deliver the precious caffeine we need to jumpstart our days. It’s a powerful stimulant that helps keep us alert. But the taste itself is more or less an afterthought in the pursuit of quick energy.

When preparing a Specialty Grade 1 Ethiopian coffee of this magnitude, your automatic drip machine will not cut it. The paper filters will absorb and rob much of the sought-after flavours of blueberry and almonds that Ethiopian coffee is known for.

The truth is, when it comes to coffee quality, most of us don’t know any better. We drink what we’re given. But it’s not our fault that our coffee palettes are lacking. Each year, corporate giants work tirelessly to serve billions of cups of coffee to billions of people. So it’s no surprise that mass-produced corporate coffee is all any of us know.

But what if coffee could be more? What if coffee could be an experience?

Imagine tasting coffee that awakens your tastebuds with exotic flavour notes of blueberries, citrus and even chocolate. A coffee so good and pure that it begs you to stop and enjoy it. The highlight of your morning instead of an accessory. A reason to savour instead of sip.

Let me introduce you to Specialty Grade 1 Ethiopian coffee.

In this article, you’ll learn how all coffees are not created equally — that a formal rating system exists to separate mass-produced coffees from premiums, gourmets and the highly prized Grade 1 coffees. Come read and elevate your tastes.

How is Coffee Graded?

Two grading processes determine the official coffee grading score. The first process assesses coffee beans when they are still unroasted green coffee beans on criteria such as size consistency, moisture content and defects like insect damage and water damage.

The second process involves evaluating coffee beans after roasting for characteristics like aroma, taste, acidity and body. This professional scoring practice is known as coffee cupping.

Although different standardized tests exist, The SCA Coffee Beans Classification is widely recognized as the definitive grading system.

What are the different grades of coffee?

Specialty Grade Coffee 1

This category is the highest grade of coffee bean.

  • Specialty Grade coffee beans can have no more than five full defects per 300 grams of coffee with absolutely no primary defects present.

  • A maximum deviation of 5% above or below screen size indicated is acceptable for size consistency in green coffee beans.

  • Specialty Grade 1 coffee must have at least one defining characteristic: flavour, acidity, body or aroma.

  • The moisture content is between 9–13%. Specialty Grade 1 coffee cannot contain any “quakers” or otherwise known as blemished and disfigured beans.

Premium Coffee Grade 2

This category is what most corporate coffees fall under.

  • Premium coffee can have no more than eight full defects per every 300 grams.

  • Unlike Specialty Grade 1, primary defects are permitted like large sticks, medium stones, pods and cherries.

  • Like Specialty Grade 1, 5% above or below screen size indicated is acceptable

  • Premium coffee Grade 2 must also have at least one distinctive characteristic in the flavour, aroma, body or acidity.

  • Unlike Specialty Grade 1 coffee, Grade 2 may contain only three quakers.

Exchange Coffee Grade 3

Now, we’re starting to wade in undesirable and low-tier coffee.

  • Grade 3 is allowed to have no more than 9–23 full defects in every 300 grams.

  • At this quality, you’ll find coffee beans of wildly different sizes as beans are allowable up 50% by weight above screen size 15 with no more than 5% of screen size below 14.

  • No cup faults are permitted, and a maximum of 5 quakers are allowed.

  • Moisture content is between 9–13%.

Below Standard Coffee Grade 4

Simply put, this category of subpar coffee is undrinkable. With an allowable 24–86 defects in 300 grams, it’s not recommended to drink any coffee at this quality level. Off Grade Coffee (5): More than 86 defects in 300 grams.

How does Grade 1 coffee taste?

Specialty Grade 1 coffee tastes like no other coffee because it grows in drastically different conditions from any other coffee. Where most coffee is picked at low elevation, Ethiopian Grade 1 is harvested at 7000 feet above sea level from Ethiopia’s lush mountaintops. Because of this, Ethiopian coffee is considered to be “strictly high grown.” And higher elevation means higher quality.

High elevation Specialty Grade 1 coffee beans need more time to mature than other beans. This extra time infuses the coffee cherries with wonderfully complex fruity and floral flavour notes like apricot, strawberry, almonds, and wine.

Why should you care about Specialty Grade 1 coffee?

The reason why you should care about Specialty Grade 1 coffee is the same reason why you yearn and expect more from life’s rich offerings such as music, art, drink, books, cinema, fashion and other creature comforts. Part of enjoying a good life is possessing good taste. To be human is to deepen the connection with the things we love

With corporate coffees, coffee lovers were led to believe that they had a choice in drinking. But in favour of commercial mass-production, the reality is that most coffees are Grade 2 coffees blended on a massive scale. This indiscriminate mixing results in coffee that is missing some of its soul.

By comparison, Specialty Grade 1 Ethiopian coffee is sourced from single-origin plantations, which means its taste and aroma are entirely unadulterated and exceptionally authentic.

If coffee is something you drink every day, why not choose to enjoy coffee initially intended in its purest, most natural, and exquisite form?

You’ll immediately know what you’ve been missing when you try your first sip.

Where can I buy Specialty Grade 1 coffee?

Coffee as perfect as Specialty Grade 1 coffee doesn’t mean that it’s exorbitantly expensive. As Paramount Original Coffee, our goal is to provide the best Grade 1 coffee at the best prices.

Our six unique coffee flavours include:

  • Honey washed Dawi

  • Yirgacheffe

  • Wild Sidamo

  • Organic Sidamo

  • Oromia Gomma Microlot

  • Organic Bekama Solinté

Ready for your first sip?

The Final Word

Without question, coffee is one of the world’s most well-loved offerings. But much of its quality has been diluted from being mass-produced by corporate coffee giants.

At Paramount Original Coffee, we are restoring coffee to its former glory with an unmatched authenticity and impeccable Grade 1 quality.

Don’t sip your coffee — savour it.