"The Way Back to Yarasquin"

We recently watched an inspiring documentary, “The Way Back to Yarasquin”, directed by Sarah Gerber.  The film is the story of Mayra Orellana-Powell, the operator of a specialty coffee company based in the San Francisco Bay area.   Growing up in the village of Santa Elena, Honduras, Mayra experienced coffee as a way of life, that was underlying and represented in community, relationships and gratitude.  The film follows Mayra's journey back to her village and traces the establishment of a small coffee business and her journey back home with respected Third Wave coffee professionals in pursuit of great coffee.

Ultimately, this story is about the human, relational side of coffee. It offers a captivating insight into the challenges faced by many small coffee farmers as well as the potential for enrichment in lives of the farmers and their communities that is possible as a result of the growth of Third Wave coffee.  We highly recommend this film for anyone wanting to learn more about coffee at its origin and for those seeking reaffirmation of the impact an individual can have in the development and enrichment of a community. 

Further information on the film and how to view it is available at  http://www.yarasquinthemovie.com/

Third Wave Coffee

The Third Wave Coffee movement is about bringing the highest form of culinary appreciation to world of specialty coffee. It elevates the cultivation, processing, roasting and preparation of coffee in such a manner that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, varietal, and growing region – similar to other complex culinary products such as wine, tea, and chocolate. 

Important elements of Third Wave Coffee include:  direct trade; higher quality specialty coffee; an appreciation of single origin coffees as opposed to blends; lighter, artisan crafted roast profiles and an attention to quality in the preparation of brewed coffee or espresso.

Coffee's first wave of is commonly associated with  the growth in popularity of commodity coffee in the mid 18th century.  Coffee was primarily a caffeinated, hot beverage to be enjoyed with friends.  Coffee's first wave reached its peak in the 1940's with the introduction of freeze dried instant coffee.

Coffee's second wave started in the 1960's and is generally associated with emergence of large brands and chain coffee shops such as Peet's and Starbuck's. The second wave fueled  a strong growth in the popularity of coffee and is best known for espesso based beverages and global brands of dark roasted coffees where the flavor is largely influenced by the roast, rather than the unique characteristic of the bean.

Coffee's Third Wave is a direct response to the homogenization of coffee in the second wave.  Third Wave coffee is all about developing and celebrating the unique characterics of great coffees.  The movement is built on direct sourcing of high quality, specialty grade single-origin coffees, often times from specific estates or even  specific microlots from within a single estate.  Equal passion is applied to the development of specific roast profiles for each coffee, designed to fully develop the character of the coffee and highlight unique flavors, aroma and body or mouth feel.