Broadly speaking, coffees can be divided into three commercial categories.

Exemplary quality coffees have a high intrinsic value with a fine or unique cup. Usually of quite limited availability. Mostly retailed under the straight estate or origin names. Usually very well presented washed coffees, including some superior washed Robusta’s, but also includes some naturals (Ethiopian Harare, Yemeni Mochas, and some Indonesian Arabica’s) and top organic coffees, which are usually, but not always, roasted by comparatively small firm and marketed through fairly exclusive outlets, e.g. retail coffee shops or bars and upmarket delicatessens.   

High quality or premium brands, good cupping coffees, well presented, but not necessarily visually perfect. Retailed both as straight origins and as blends. Includes good quality, well prepared organic coffees, and washed as well as superior quality natural Robusta’s. The market for this quality band is much broader and includes a good percentage of today’s specialty coffee. Also produced by leading multinational coffee companies and marketed through normal retail outlets such as supermarkets.

 Mainstream quality, average quality, reasonably well presented, but certainly not visually perfect. Will offer a decent, clean but not necessarily impressive cup.

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