Waves of Coffee
Drinking Your Coffee Like Fine Wine and the Three Waves of Coffee.
Coffee production and marketing on the world market has evolved since the 1800s, when coffee gained in popularity. When people talk about the evolution of coffee, they generally talk about three distinct waves.
First Wave In the first wave of the 1800s, mass production and marketing of coffee began when entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to profit from coffee. The goal was to make every household a coffee-drinking household. There was little concern for (or consumer interest in) actually learning about the coffee. This is when the dominance of large-scale coffee brands like Folgers and Maxwell House began, bringing instant coffee to popularity. During this “coffee wave,” buying and selling coffee was very removed from farmers. Coffee sold during this era didn’t even list the country of origin on the packaging.
Second Wave The 1970s brought the second wave of coffee, which grew from consumers growing appreciation of higher quality coffee. Coffee also became more of a social experience in this period. An increase in demand paved the way for coffee shops and chains to grow around the world. These shops offered freshly roasted coffee in stores that were conveniently located, and enjoyable to spend time in. Special coffee drinks also grew from this movement. Menus began to include modern-day classics and fancy variations of coffee drinks. Consumers cared more about the quality of their coffee, but they did not pay as much attention to identifying and recognizing the farm, farmers, and artisan roasters that created the coffee product. This led way to the Third Wave of Coffee that we are experiencing today.
Third Wave The third wave coffee movement began around the year 2000 and represents where the coffee industry is at today. Although this movement can be hard to define, the trend is now seeing coffee as less of a commodity and more as an artisan item. This movement increasingly places coffee farmers and their growing and processing methods at center stage. Coffee chains and shops marketing and selling “nameless” coffee under their own brand or logo is a thing of the past. Consumers want to know where their coffee came from, how it was produced, and about the sustainability and fair trade issues that surround it. Now, coffee farmers around the world are taking greater strides than before to ensure that their coffee is of the highest quality possible and that they can truly build a name for themselves.
Today, coffee farmers around the world care for their coffee plants and process their coffee beans with the level of attention and skill that that has been attributed to owners of the finest vineyards in Napa Valley.
Wine rarely contains more than 250 flavorful and aromatic compounds compared to coffee, which can contain over 800 compounds!
New methods to prepare coffee have also come out of this shift toward traceability, higher quality, and awareness of a coffee bean’s flavors. For example, Chemex and Aeropress coffee makers focus their marketing on their ability to highlight unique flavors in every cup of coffee. There are also more independently-owned and operated small scale coffee shops than ever before, which sell and promote high quality coffee as well as touting the grower and the farm behind the coffee.
There is speculation that we could enter or already be entering into the “fourth wave” of coffee. This wave is predicted by many to showcase more than ever before all of the people involved in the coffee production process as well as focus on global efforts to improve the lives of farmers, their families, their communities, and the environment.
You can read more about the science behind the flavors in your coffee and learn more about how your favorite wine and coffee have more in common than you ever knew Here.Some research courtesy of The Perfect Daily Grind, Craft Beverage Jobs