Fourth Wave Coffee Is Here

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A 5-part series on the history and future of coffee, by 8th and Roast


There’s plenty of speculation, theories, and wild ideas out there about the “fourth wave” of coffee.  

Some think it’s a tipping point of big corporate rollups of third wave companies. 

Others think it’s an increased focus on sustainability and zooming further in to the fair trade relationships with producers. 

Still others think it’s about hyper-regional awareness, social justice, or extreme post-craft experiences worthy of a Dali painting (mustache and all). 

Those ideas are great but none of them go past exaggerating parts of the first three waves of coffee. 

If we look at the “waves” as general patterns of consumer behavior, it’s clear that the “fourth wave” has actually already happened, right under our noses, and it looks a lot like Spotify and Netflix. 

It’s just as high-quality and crafty as 3rd wave, but with a twist: it’s casual, approachable, inclusive, and convenient. 

Like musicians waking up in a post-Napster world to realize everything had already changed, we’ve realized that fourth wave coffee is already here.

Before we dive deeper into fourth wave, let’s survey a brief history…

8th and Roast