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Best Specialty Coffee 

Gold Winner Java Blend Coffee Roasters

Silver Winner Two If By Sea, Dartmouth

Bronze Winner Steve-O-Reno’s Cappuccino


Java Blend’s owner Jim Dikaios has seen coffee change over the years, from a commodity to something that’s treated more like wine. The business used to involve calling up some importer and ordering bags of, for example, generic Colombian beans. But now Java Blend favours “relationship coffees,” where Java Blend has a direct partnership with a particular coffee farmer or that farmer’s exporter. (Dikaios was visiting an Ethiopian farmer not long ago.) And a vague term like “specialty coffee”" has become tightly defined. “We belong to an organization called SCAA,” says Dikaios. “The Specialty Coffee Association of America.” According to the SCAA, a specialty coffee scores 80 points or higher in the prescribed tasting method, called “cupping.” So what’s it take to earn a Best of Halifax Specialty Coffee gold? “A lot of the coffees we buy now are in the high 80s, or 91, 92,” says Dikaios. He’s not going after unicorns, the sort of 95-scoring bean that can cost $200 per pound. His goal is more down-to-earth: “We make decisions based on what our customers like.”

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