Skip to main content

Purchasing a specialty coffee to serve in a hotel or restaurant is a quite an adventure: one needs to research a lot more than just the costs! A good research should be carried out of the seals and certificates of the seller, the manner in which the planting processes is done, harvesting, transporting, and roasting of the beans are executed, the aspects and consistency of the beans during all of the various deliveries among other practices.  With our own experience, we guarantee that this adventure is worthwhile.  When the buyer finds the perfect coffee for their establishment, their eyes sparkle, the heart flutters, and the customer satisfaction reach levels never imagined.  You can believe!

In thinking about contributing in some way to your purchase, I developed what I consider a brief guide for the process of choosing and acquiring specialty coffees for hotels and restaurants.  I hope you like it.



Each buyer has their preferences, and each business has their particularities. Despite this, following specific steps before deciding which specialty coffee to buy and serve can be of great value beyond contributing to economies of time and money.  What are these steps?  Let us go to them!

1. Comprehending: What is, in fact, a specialty coffee

To the contrary of what many people think, this function of understanding what a specialty coffee is, does not only pertain to the barista of a hotel or restaurant.  It also pertains to the buyer.

To guide you, you need to do some research about the beans and their suppliers.  Access and visit the site of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)complete the download of their protocols and archives; have them always close by, in hands or saved on your phone or computer.  Follow what is disclosed on the Lucky Hills site, to be up to date with news and discover what our specialists have to say.

The reward of all of this new knowledge will bring you access to more people that are a part of you daily professional life and even in the application of your chances of making good alliances and partnerships.

2. Analyze the prices

If this is one of your priorities, it is ok to do it right away. But in principle do not eliminate any option just because of price!  You are a buyer, so gather the values of the options of specialty coffees that you would like to analyze and compare each one of them. Do not think just about which option cost more and which one costs less, but also think about the benefits of choosing each one.  Finally, think about the cost/benefit: never just the cost! Only then eliminate what is too heavy for your business budget.

Maybe you can define a medium or maximum budget, monthly or weekly, that can be directional for the acquisition of specialty coffee for the establishment. So, filtering your options becomes easier.

3. Technical analysis of the coffee and brand options

You may not be a coffee specialist, but you need to specialize in buying it.  Especially if you want specialty beans to server to your customers. So, when the time comes to do what we might call “technical analysis” to choose your acquisition, you will have already gone quite deep into your coffee research and already know the principal standards defined by the Specialty Coffee Association to characterize a good specialty coffee.

In this stage of technical analysis of the coffee and brand options, my suggestion is that you define an organizational format: a spreadsheet, a simple sheet divided into columns, a chalkboard in you room, or what you would prefer.  So that you can view, distribute and view:

  • The characteristics of the specialty coffee in general (aroma, uniformity, sweetness, flavor, acidity, body, balance, aftertaste, and absence of defects):
  • The scores of specialty coffees (80 to 84.99 for very good coffee; 85 to 89.99 for excellent coffees, 90 to 100 for  exemplary coffees);
  • The name, origin, price, and the brand of the beans for which you have options.

Once done, compare the data!

  • Go to the characteristics and indicate which ones you are searching for in the coffees you intend to serve. Next, discover within your options which ones contain the majority or all of the characteristics you desire.
  • Leave in exhibit the score of each option.  Specialty coffees have their descriptions or in their official site  a “score” based on the Specialty Coffee Association, so it should not be difficult to locate them.
  • Compare the score, with the noted characteristics and the price of each one.  Sometimes the coffees considered excellent may be too high priced and not in accordance with what you are looking for.
  • Assign your options with clarity, the name of the respective brands.  As a buyer, it is also necessary to research each one of them.  Analyze them and understand what the differentials are.  Know your visions and your values:  not always are the most expensive brands and the highest scoring coffee have the visions and values consistent with your business.

Knowing who sells specialty coffee to you can be something critical in the purchase of a good product and in the beverage service that truly satisfies your customer.  Look for answers to questions like “what is the level of commitment of each brand on sustainability?” and “what is the social impact on each brand?”.  Take into consideration if the beans being sold were recently roasted and therefore fresher, long lasting and of higher quality.  Understand the process of roasting the beans, also the type of packaging.  Even more: verify if there is between the brands chosen, a capacity to offer to you and your business a coffee blend of your preference, that can bring more authenticity to your brand, and stand out in the market.

4. Tasting

After all of this work and research, it is only fair to sit down and taste the specialty coffees that are  among the finalists of your options. Do not do this by yourself.  Invite at least your hotel or restaurant barista to help you with the tasting.  Together you can evaluate the beans and the beverage with more attention.  Each one in accordance with their preferences, their smell and taste. This way you will be one step away from selecting the ideal coffee.

Do we have a winner?  Now is the time to begin transforming the beans into a beverage to serve and follow up on the feedback from customers who have tried this specialty coffee served in your establishment.

Extra tip: Once you have chosen a brand and coffee, learn even more about it.  Speaking about coffee that you serve, and likewise about the differentials of the brand of this coffee, brings you closer to your customers and gives your business a special touch.


I am here as a supporter

Anxiously waiting to know about the result!

Silvana Torres


Silvana Torres

Silvana Torres is a graduated Brazilian engineer and a communications business manager with over 30 years of experience in the market, having won the most outstanding awards in her field. She is a management expert and is the leader of Lucky Hills Specialty Coffee. Silvana applies her business and administrative skills and supports food service managers in the USA to use coffee as a business unit, generating greater profitability in their establishments.