Third Wave: Craft Coffee Cultures
The Rise of Specialty Coffee
The third wave of coffee brought us specialty coffee where the people buying the green coffee are actually paying attention to exactly where it's coming from.
They know the regions. The care a lot about quality. It’s an entire culture of quality and care, often down to the exact farm of origin, and the personalities and names of the producers.
Third wave treats coffee as a specialty product. This ensures that it’s actually special, it really feels like a stark contrast to the way everyone used to do coffee for so long.
With specialty coffee the goal isn’t to acquire as much as possible for cheap. It’s about standards.
How much is it worth to you? How much can I pay for this, so that everyone in the chain is rewarded for their labor?
It’s not easy work climbing the side of a mountain and picking cherries one at a time when they're absolutely perfectly ripe. It's an incredible skill, and processing is as well.
So third wave is about respect, curation, quality, fairness, equity, and conscious community.
But at the same time, it has become, for many, intimidating, serious, heavy, and elitist.
Every backlash sets up the next backlash.
If third wave was a reaction against Corporate Coffee, fourth wave is a reaction against elitism.
Next week we’ll explore fourth wave coffee, so be sure to check back in and in the meantime, check out our podcast, Coffee&.