What’s The Difference Between Supermarket Coffee and Specialty Store Coffee?

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. From light to dark roast and cold brews to cappuccinos, there seems to be something for everyone. Many of us may enjoy a cup of coffee at home in the morning, that’s most commonly purchased at the supermarket. It makes sense – it’s convenient, ready to go and there are various flavours from plain coffee to salted caramel stocked on supermarket shelves. Most instant coffee is made from Robusta coffee beans, which also produce a higher yield than other commercial beans. As a result, they’re less expensive and may prevent consumers from purchasing coffee from coffee roasters when they can easily access it in a supermarket.

But what about the quality?

A common similarity in coffee which is purchased from a coffee roaster and coffee which is purchased from the supermarket include the region in which it is produced, but rarely will it have the same origin. John Steel, CEO of Café Direct which sells roaster coffee in supermarkets in the United Kingdom, says that he thinks there’s a surge for better quality in private label coffee and supermarket brands, with some starting to move into single origins. Single origin coffee refers to coffee that is from a single place, such as a farm (single farm/estate coffee) and coffee that is available in smaller quantities each harvest (single cooperative). Quality measures can be strict and harvesting methods and members’ production is regulated.

Coffee is also not roasted the same way from a roaster as from a supermarket due to the roasting methods. Traditional roasting varies from roasting with gas or woodfire where temperatures range from 180ºC to 200ºC and takes about 20 minutes. Industrial roasting methods uses two types of roasting methods. The first is rapid roasting and the second is flash roasting, both of which make use of hot air flow. The temperature is 800ºC with roasting time between 1-5 minutes for flash roasting and 4-6 minutes for rapid roasting.

While coffee from a coffee roaster may also be more expensive, there is a better development of aromas, the roasting quality is better, and the origin of the coffee is more likely to be traced. Quality is also better, and the demand for it is increasing as more single origins and blends are stocked on supermarket shelves. Lastly, sustainability practices are also being taken into account as more consumers demand traceability and look into certifications for products.

What your coffee preference? Join us on the 16th June at 12.00pm CET for our Instagram live session on what is the best brew for you.