“On average, specialty coffees are sold according to their scores, but they can reach values above 10 times the bag…”
Gelma Franco is a businesswoman, lecturer, and coffee specialist, considered a pioneer of specialty coffee boutiques in Brazil.
Franco received the “entrepreneurial woman” award from the Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises – Sebrae, was the director of the Brazilian Coffee and Barista Association and participates in the Internal Market committee of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association.
AgriBrasilis – What is specialty coffee?
Gelma Franco – Coffees are considered special when they comply with the classification criteria of the Specialty Coffee Association – SCA, in compliance with the assessment protocol for roasted coffees.
The evaluation involves aspects such as fragrance, aroma, uniformity, absence of defects, sweetness, flavor, acidity, body, and aftertaste. To be considered special, coffees must score above 80 points on this scale.
Coffees are also called special when the farmer adopts improvements in planting, agricultural practices and post-harvest processes. This is reflected in the beverage and the consumer perceives more value in the product, in addition to the sensory issue.
Specialty coffees have a sweeter taste, with more present sensorial notes, flawless coffee beans and superior quality of the Arabica and Robusta varieties.
The price of a bag of specialty coffee depends a lot on how this coffee is sold and on the relationship between supply and demand in the market. On average, specialty coffees are sold according to their scores, but they can reach values above 10 times the coffee bag, if they are champions of competitions and if they participate in micro-lot auctions.
AgriBrasilis – How does the harvest and post-harvest of the grain impact the quality of the beverage?
Gelma Franco – The quality of the coffee is influenced by genetic, environmental, and technological factors, but it is also essential to map the processes and take certain precautions, such as traceability and division of small batches to differentiate quality levels.
There are no “best varieties” of coffee. There are varieties that, combined with the terroir of the place where they were planted and with care taken in cultivation, result in greater yields and/or more quality. For example, the Arabica Geisha variety, grown in the mountains of Panama, is an exceptional coffee from the sensory point of view and highly valued economically.
AgriBrasilis – Where are the best coffee beans farmed in Brazil?
Gelma Franco – We have several “Brazils” inside our country. The largest specialty coffee regions are located between the pioneering North of Paraná State and “Chapada Diamantina”, a region in the center of the State of Bahia. Where there is a farmer interested in taking better care of the crop and improving its processes, there are chances of making coffee with a lot of quality.
We haven’t even reached 20% of the Brazilian market yet. More than 80% of the specialty coffee farmed here is exported. We have a lot to conquer.
I would say that we should keep up with the needs of a more informed and demanding consumer and monitor the consumption trends that are emerging, such as the launch of “single doses”, or coffee capsules, the emergence of “drip coffee”, accessories for the preparation of filtered products, different coffee-based beverages, and the sale of beans in small quantities to home coffee roasters, for example.
In the field, we have new post-harvest techniques, such as induced and yeast fermentations; separation by “micro” and “nano” batches of well-differentiated coffees; valuation of moka and sieves below 16; and coffees with a social action aspect and with environmental responsibility, such as carbon neutral certification.