It’s hard to beat an exceptionally made coffee created by a commercial espresso machine in your favorite cafe. It’s a sensory experience - the barista manning the machine, the grind of the beans, and delicious aroma, ultimately leading to an amazing tasting coffee, with full-bodied flavor and silky velvety mouthfeel.
The third wave of coffee is a movement that views coffee as far more than a commodity, considering it to be an artisanal food like wine, where the coffee produced is the ultimate taste experience. It’s the end-to-end process, a journey that starts with the origin of the coffee bean, and continues with its lighter roasting profile, brewing methods, and the technology found inside an espresso machine designed to bring out the coffee’s complex, rich tasting notes and full flavor potential.
The quality of the bean is key in creating great tasting third wave specialty coffee, from the specific microclimates and soils where they are grown, to the production practices and the way the beans are processed. Innovations in processing techniques have resulted in higher quality taste attributes. Roasters have moved away from blends to single origin beans, adapting techniques to highlight the unique flavors and qualities of the bean.
The waves of coffee
If we’re already enjoying the third wave of coffee, what were the first two waves?
1. The first wave
The first wave in the early 1960s saw coffee become widely accessible. Instant coffee was popular, and the quality was nothing like we enjoy today, with a weak taste and high acidity.
2. The second wave
In the second wave, around the beginning of the 1970s, coffee became more than a commodity and something to enjoy outside the home or office in a coffee shop. The quality was higher and the rise of coffee shops drove this appreciation for a better tasting coffee.
3. The third wave
In turn this led to the third wave and the rich coffee culture we enjoy today, where quality artisanal coffee, its origins, and the craft behind its production, are all designed to create the ultimate taste experience.