What is specialty coffee

The term “specialty coffee” was coined back in the 1970s to describe the highest quality beans. Namely, it is coffee that comes from a single geographic location, is hand-picked, and is processed with great care. If you are curious, you can get into more detailed specifications, for instance, on the website of the Specialty Coffee Association. 

In short, specialty coffee has to be handled with special care at every stage: from growing in just the right climate and conditions and being hand-picked at just the right time to being professionally roasted and then finally prepared for you by a trained barista. Being a true connoisseur of specialty coffee is not unlike being a sommelier: you get to take a sip and roll the coffee on your tongue to taste every part of its multilayered flavor. 

Luckily, the specialty coffee culture has been growing more and more popular in Russia and in St. Petersburg in particular in recent years. Now, you can get this exceptional quality coffee in multiple locations around the city and at a relatively low price. 

Credit: Karl Fredrickson (@kfred) on Unsplash

Credit: Karl Fredrickson (@kfred) on Unsplash

Finding the perfect cup 

As you can probably tell by its name, this project originally started in Moscow with an aim to aid all coffee lovers in the capital. However, as its popularity grew, the developers started adding locations in other Russian cities, our St. Pete being first on the list. Now you just need to zoom in on the city and go wild exploring all the often exquisitely styled coffee spots. And if you ever decide to travel to other Russian cities, you will know where to get your morning espresso, too.

A similar project, Goodcoffeemap was created by St. Petersburg-based developers and has even more coffee shops on offer. Moreover, they went even further and made a Telegram bot (@goodcoffeemap_bot) that will recommend you three nearest coffee shops based on your location. It is pure magic! 

Credit: Kaylah Matthews (@kaylahotto) on Unsplash

Credit: Kaylah Matthews (@kaylahotto) on Unsplash

Additional tips

Sometimes you can be certain you will get, if not an exquisite, then at least a decent cup based on the beans used at the coffee shop. Those are often on display somewhere around the coffee machine, or you can simply ask the barista about the beans they are using. Let them be your bread crumbs if the maps suggested above do not reflect your adventurous spirit. There are three most popular local roasters: 

  • Bolshe Coffee; they have bright and colorful packaging with a duck featured somewhere on each pack, so you will spot them right away;
  • Verle, with their trademark faded-lilac packages, thoughtful motivational quotes being the only decoration in the minimalistic design; 
  • Sibaristica, with black-and-white packaging featuring bright labels of different colors for beans from different locations. 

All of them also have their own coffee shops, so if you want to try the “original” taste, you can head right there. 

Enjoy your special discoveries! If you are eager to try an original Russian coffee drink, check out this story. And to learn what more to look for on Telegram, apart from coffee-finding bots, head here.