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.