The name Third Wave was conceived in America in 2002 as part of the *specialty coffee movement, although its roots stretch as far back as the 60’s.
The movement was founded as a reaction to coffee being treated as a commodity, instead of being sourced and produced in a high quality manner like wine or craft beer and spirits. One compelling aspect of the philosophy is its lack of rigid snobbery. Comprised of ever curious people who love learning about and tasting distinctive coffee. They aren’t afraid to be considered wrong, and are not concerned about updating their opinions to embrace an original idea, whether or not it comes from a barista or Q grader.
This coffee movement strives for the highest model of culinary appreciation of coffee in order to appreciate subtleties of flavor, varietal, and growing region; in a similar way to other complex, edible, plant sourced products such as wine, tea, and chocolate.
Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold, of the LA Weekly says it best “We are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries. Roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure.”
This meant that a revision had to take place in all phases of the manufacturing process.
From repairing the plants to harvesting, processing, and managing partnerships with local farmers. Creating stronger bonds between the growers, traders, and roasters, led to a fresher, and improved quality of roast. The end product being an excellent, nuanced cup of coffee.
The 5 unique facets of Third Wave coffee include:
-direct trade coffee
-single origin coffee preference over blends
This included a resurgence of alternative methods of coffee preparation, such as vacuum coffee, and pour-over brewing apparatuses. Similar movements continue in Turkey, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Scandinavia.
* Specialty coffee refers to high-quality beans scoring 80 points or more on a 100-point scale.