Specialty coffee

At the heart of Torrefactory is the specialty coffee shop

She's known as the godmother of specialty coffee. Norwegian-born New Yorker Erna Knutsen was the first to define this type of coffee, typically respectful of all players in the chain, in the 1970s. Specialty coffee is the antithesis of coffee blends. It recognizes the distinctive taste of each terroir and promotes the value of the work of coffee farmers.

When, like us, you share a passion for specialty coffee, you're honoring this visionary woman. It was she who first took the gamble of working with small-scale roasters, who were more inclined to source and pay for exceptional coffee.

specialty coffee

First of all, what is a specialty coffee? 

A specialty coffee, as defined by experts like Torrefactory, transcends the traditional coffee experience. It's not just a standard morning drink, but a quest for perfection that touches every step of the production chain, from plantation to cup. The term encompasses a philosophy dedicated to excellence, craftsmanship and a deeper appreciation of the unique and complex aromatic profiles that coffee can offer. 

Good evaluations  

At the heart of specialty coffee is the rigorous selection of beans. These coffees are often grown in specific microclimates that encourage the development of distinct aromas. Torrefactory, for example, focuses on beans that meet and surpass a certain quality threshold during evaluations. These assessments are carried out by experts using a strict scoring system, where only coffees scoring over 80 points out of 100 are considered specialties. 


Traceability also plays a key role in specialty coffee. Knowing exactly where the coffee comes from, the type of soil it was grown in, the altitude and even the harvesting and post-harvest processing methods, is essential. This transparency guarantees quality as well as respect for sustainable and fair practices for growers. 

Quality roasting  

The roasting process is just as critical. At Torrefactory, the aim is to bring out the unique characteristics of each batch of beans, adjusting the roasting profile to perfectly balance acidity, body and sweetness, while revealing specific aromatic notes, whether fruity, floral, chocolatey or spicy. 

The final step before tasting: preparation  

Finally, the preparation of specialty coffee is considered an art. The barista's expertise plays a decisive role in transforming meticulously selected and roasted beans into an exceptional cup of coffee. Brewing techniques, water temperature, granulometry of the ground coffee - every detail counts to express the coffee's full potential. 

In essence, specialty coffee by Torrefactory is an invitation to rediscover coffee, not as an ordinary everyday beverage, but as a rich and nuanced culinary experience, capable of captivating the senses and broadening taste horizons! 

Specialty coffee: recognition of certified craftsmanship

For us, offering specialty coffees means providing our customers with unparalleled craftsmanship. We have obtained the Certified Craftsman label to formalize our expertise. In particular, it is a guarantee of the traditional know-how we apply during roasting. We proudly display this quality label issued by the Belgian Federal Public Service Economy.

The Torrefactory network, an ethical and sustainable approach

According to CBI, the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, Belgium was Europe's third-largest importer and largest re-exporter of green coffee in 2020.

At Torrefactory, we focus 100% on fair trade coffee. We position ourselves in the specialty coffee market and promote an ethical and sustainable economy in our direct collaborations or through importer Efico. The latter is dedicated to sustainable sourcing practices for all players in the chain, enabling us to market a specialty coffee in line with our values.

Torrefactory supports the Belgian economy

Our strategic partnerships also take place here in Belgium. Our labeling partner is Axedis, an Entreprise de Travail Adapté (ETA) based in Limal, Wallonia. The emphasis here is on employing disabled workers, who apply each label by hand. The company also has an ecological component, renting out reusable tableware for events.

For us, specialty coffee also means ethical practices in our local communities in Belgium.

Cultivating taste with our specialty coffee

To get back to basics, there's nothing like a specialty coffee. The "slow coffee" trend, particularly popular with Anglo-Saxons (who already like to take their time at tea time!), has been growing in popularity since the mid-2010s.

The aim is to extract the coffee's aromas using the gentle method: filtration by manual filter, piston or Aeropress coffee makers. Choose a thicker or thinner grind for a mild to full-bodied result.

What we like about this technique is the freedom to experiment and the rather organic aspect of this preparation method. It lends itself perfectly to the tasting of our pure-origin coffees.


Our additional information on specialty coffee :