João Marques Vilar is a lawyer by day and a coffee fiend during every other minute.
A MULTICULTURAL COMPANY WITH A PORTUGUESE SOUL
SO is the Portuguese diminutive for the word "southwest"; The cardinal point where Portugal and his hometown of Porto are in Europe. In Portuguese, Porto means harbor. A place to dock, stop, relax, discover, and meet new people. SO Coffee Roasters is like a harbor, forever changing itself, giving and getting back. Working with a highly diverse and passionate group of coffee farmers, So Coffee was created to share a little bit of that passion.
SUSTAINABLE COFFEE FARMING
SO Coffee Roasters cares about every single person behind their coffee. They respect the farmer's environment, culture, and climate change and aim to work with their individual partners to source the highest quality beans at a fair price.
WHAT IS SPECIALTY COFFEE?
Speciality coffee has existed for a long time, in one form or another. We tend to think of speciality coffee as being a new trend, yet even as far back as the early 1900s, discerning customers like the Hotel du Crillon in Paris specified that their coffee was to be bought from select micro-lots on specific farms in certain regions of Guatemala. The term “specialty coffee” was first used in the 1970s in the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, just a few years after the opening of the first Starbucks store. Thanks to stores like Starbucks and Peet’s, coffee went from a modern convenience to a drinking experience. Since then, improvements in agricultural, roasting and brewing technology, and an increased demand for high-quality coffee have put speciality coffee in the hands of coffee lovers across the globe.
Speciality coffee is defined as any coffee that scores above 80 points on a 100 point grading scale.
Typically, speciality coffee is grown at high altitudes, with much care and attention from the farmer. From there, it is sold at a premium to coffee traders, or direct to roasters.
The roasters then create custom profiles for each coffee, enhancing and highlighting their natural flavours.
Baristas then use the carefully grown and roasted coffee to produce quality beverages, often with high precision and specialized equipment.
Green coffee is graded via visual inspection and cupping. Visual inspection involves taking a 350g sample of green coffee beans and counting defective beans. Defects can be Primary (e.g. black beans, sour beans) or Secondary (e.g. broken beans). For a coffee to qualify as “speciality”, it must have zero Primary defects and less than five Secondary defects.
Cupping involves roasting the coffee and brewing simply with hot water, and relies on the skill of the taster to assign scores to each of the coffee’s attributes, such the acidity, body, flavour and aroma.