You may have heard the term "third wave coffee" before, but what does it actually mean? In short, third wave coffee is a movement to produce high-quality coffee. This involves everything from sourcing the best beans to brewing the perfect cup. proponents of third wave coffee believe that coffee should be treated like any other artisanal foodstuff, with care and attention paid at every step of the process.
So, what sets third wave coffee apart from your average cup of joe? Let's take a closer look.
The First Wave of Coffee: Mass Production
Coffee's first wave began in the early 1800s when coffee plantations started popping up all over Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. At this time, coffee was mostly consumed for its caffeine kick; taste was not a major consideration. The focus was on mass production, which meant that quality often suffered.
This changed in the early 1900s when instant coffee was invented. Instant coffee allowed people to make a quick cup of coffee without having to wait for grounds to brew. This convenience led to a boom in coffee consumption, which in turn led to more investment in quality control. As a result, the first wave of coffee finally began to focus on taste as well as quantity.
The Second Wave of Coffee: Specialty Shops
The second wave of coffee began in the 1970s with the rise of specialty shops like Starbucks. These shops sold higher-quality beans and brewing equipment and promoted new ways of preparing coffee, such as espresso drinks. They also introduced new flavor profiles by adding syrups and other ingredients to coffees. The second wave continued into the 1990s with the advent of gourmet coffees like flavored beans and cold brews.
The Third Wave of Coffee: Artisanal Approaches
The third wave of coffee began in the early 2000s and is characterized by an artisanal approach to every step of the process, from bean selection to brewing methods. Proponents of this movement believe that coffee should be treated like any other artisanal foodstuff, with care and attention paid at every step of the process.
Third wave roasters source their beans from specific farms and regions instead of bulk suppliers. They often visit these farms themselves to form relationships with growers and ensure that sustainable practices are being used. Once the beans are roasted, they are brewed using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques designed to bring out each bean's unique flavor profile. Finally, baristas take great care in preparing each drink so that it looks as good as it tastes.
Third wave coffee is a movement to produce high-quality coffee using artisanal methods at every step of the process, from bean selection to brewing methods. This approach has led to coffees with incredible flavor profiles that rival those of wine or craft beer. If you're looking for an amazing cup of joe, keep an eye out for third wave roasters in your area!