Nothing, or almost nothing, can kickstart our day better than a cup of coffee. Other than just being a great morning ritual, coffee can be used in virtually all human interactions. From catching up with a friend, to being used in work meetings, a cup of java stands out in the beverage family.
The history of coffee, from harvesting, to preparation, to serving, is long-winded and detailed. The consumption of coffee can be divided into specific “waves,” which are used to illustrate coffee’s integration into society and our lives. We are currently in the third wave of said integration, also known as third wave coffee.
What is third wave coffee? Here are six relevant facts about third wave coffee to help you understand this latest trend:
1. History of third wave coffee
To understand exactly what is third wave coffee, it is important to recognize just what came before, in terms of the aforementioned “waves.” The first wave of coffee is attributed to the proliferation of coffee consumption in the 1960s. This showcased the popularity of coffee, which soon after became widely accessible to all.
The second wave of coffee was demonstrative of coffee increasing in quantity and accessibility. Coffee chains such as Starbucks have multiplied, showcasing the powerful impact of having coffee sold in large numbers. Both of these waves have inevitably given rise to a third wave, which seeks to discuss the importance of coffee.
2. Concept of third wave coffee
In a nutshell, third wave coffee aims to take a more meticulous look into coffee itself. This denotes being able to both appreciate what it is, along with empowering quality alongside quantity. In essence, this starts with taking an in-depth look at just how coffee is harvested.
For example, third wave coffee generally does not accept the traditional ways in which growing or making coffee is conducted. This is due to more ethical reasons above all, as we have become more in tune with sustainability initiatives. Coffee, which may surprise many, is a finite resource; therefore, it deserves be treated with respect.
3. The supply chain of third wave coffee
For all intents and purposes, third wave coffee relies heavily on improving the supply chain process. This entails making sure every party relevant to the procedure has sustainable methods in place. From the producer, to the importer, to the roaster, all individuals involved in the harvesting process apply certain ethical techniques as it relates to coffee growing.
The supply chain doesn’t just stop at the growers. The baristas who prepare the coffee for consumption also matter as well. Some coffee shops employ certain, in-house third wave coffee brewing methods that are gentler on the coffee-making process. This ensures that the consumer has a tastier beverage overall!
4. Brew methods of third wave coffee
On the theme of in-house preparation, third wave coffee attempts to illustrate the process of brewing. It all comes down to the roast profiles of the coffee being used; certain coffee beans, roasted in a specific way, can be brewed in an innovative manner.
Once the brewing actually commences, the final beverage may include better taste notes. As a result of sustainable harvesting practices, the coffee may feature enhanced sweetness or complexity. The brewing process, coupled with the requisite coffee roast, results in a superior cup of coffee to be produced.
5. Trends in coffee shops
In order to further differentiate themselves from global chains such as Starbucks, third wave coffee shops are heavy on visuals. These visual trends are showcased to represent the boundary-pushing aspects of third wave coffee. It doesn’t just stop at the coffee sold; coffee shops are integral to the overall experience.
Third wave coffee businesses further stand out from the crowd because of the intentional, visual choices made. From the décor to the architecture, all design choices are selected to emphasize the intimate experience that coffee provides. It’s no longer about mass producing the product; third wave coffee is about highlighting the personalized nature of coffee.
6. The future of third wave coffee
Although we are currently in the third wave of coffee production and consumption, the future is never far-off. Speculation is rife within the coffee community is to what a fourth wave of coffee could actually entail. However, the discourse is present, and is intriguing to say the least.
Some coffee specialists say a fourth wave could see coffee being inspected from a scientific lens. From discussing the pertinent soil, to coffee plants and beans, the process of harvesting could venture beyond just sustainability. This could lead to even bigger improvements in the coffee supply chain overall. Who wouldn’t enjoy a life-changing cup of java?
Coffee is such an integral part of our lives, that we may often overlook the very basics of it. From harvesting to brewing methods, we are always looking for ways to further sustainability practices. After all, we don’t want our supply of coffee to run dry. That is why it is increasingly vital to know third wave practices, in order to ensure our morning cup never tapers off.