Third Wave Coffee. What’s the hype about?

Do Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Counter Culture and Blue Bottle sound familiar? These are the “Big Four” coffee companies known for third wave coffee movement that changed the consumption of coffee from accessibility to lifestyle. Third wave coffee is a growing industry that turned coffee into artisanship or maybe even science, and has captured a niche market to coffee lovers. Some would say has created a subculture even.

What makes third wave coffee so special?

Third wave coffee is a premium coffee for a number of reasons. It’s far from the usual commodity, instant coffee most people could get at the grocery stores. The attention put into the process — from growing to harvesting — of creating coffee makes it special. Unlike first wave where the objective is to create mass-produced coffee, third wave is concerned about where it sources its coffee and how it has been prepared, which ultimately creates its distinction.

It also encourages consumers to be knowledgeable about the process thereby justifying the value of the coffee they are getting, which is far off from the milkshake and whipped cream-filled drinks second wave coffee usually offers. There also is a growing community among coffee growers, the farms, roasters, and coffee companies who are all working together to bring out the high-quality coffee that we enjoy today.

Besides that — and this is just an icing on the cake — coffee shop spaces undoubtedly add in the experience of coffee drinking. The tiny details that go into designing the coffee space adds to the unique character of the coffee shop. It’s also very inviting along with its decor and music contributing to the growing number of people who frequent coffee shops exactly for the experience and comfort it brings.

Third wave allowed us to appreciate coffee much like craft beer and wine. Its difference from previous waves are pretty distinctive especially for coffee lovers who are purveyors of quality coffee. It’s definitely exciting to know what the next wave of coffee will become but third wave coffee is definitely not doing bad at all.

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