Let’s examine the most significant changes that occurred during the third coffee wave. The term “Waves of Coffee” refers to many epochs that represent the growth of coffee consumption. There are a total of 5 waves that may be characterized, each with unique characteristic features.
We are gradually edging closer to the current period with the third wave of coffee. The third wave of coffee started around the middle of the 2000s. One of the advantages was that at this time, the art of coffee roasting was truly discovered and appreciated. Moving away from recognizable coffee chains, micro-roasting and the understanding of coffee’s culinary side have become popular.
Third wave of coffee
As time went on, an increasing number of micro roasting businesses started to appear. These businesses sought complete control over the coffee production process, from procuring green beans to roasting to final coffee brewing. Although they did it with the knowledge and information that were not available at the time, they returned to the manual coffee roasting method’s origins.
Some of these businesses invested in commercial coffee roasting machines, which are large-scale devices that can roast hundreds of pounds of coffee per hour. These machines are designed to produce consistent and high-quality roasts and are often used by commercial coffee bean roasters who supply coffee to cafes, restaurants, and retailers. A commercial coffee roasting machine can cost thousands of dollars and requires skilled operators and maintenance.
Other businesses opted for smaller and more affordable coffee roaster machines, which are suitable for home or small-scale use. These machines can roast a few pounds of coffee at a time, and allow the user to customize the roast level and profile. Some of these machines are electric coffee roasters, which are popular among home roasters for their ease of use and versatility.
Transparency received more attention as well. The ‘average’ consumer’s knowledge of coffee is growing, and the salesperson must stay up. Where is the source of my coffee? Did the coffee farmer fair pay the price? Do I have single-origin coffee or a blend that includes subpar Robusta beans? All of these are new inquiries that a consumer has now requested responses to.
The third wave of coffee also introduced the concept of direct trade, which is a relationship between the coffee bean roaster and the coffee farmer, without any intermediaries. This way, the coffee bean roaster can ensure the quality and traceability of the coffee, and the farmer can receive a fair and transparent price. Direct trade also fosters social and environmental sustainability, as the coffee bean roaster can support the farmer’s practices and needs.
Another trend that emerged in the third wave of coffee is the popularity of single-origin coffee, which comes from a specific region, farm, or even a single lot. Single-origin coffee showcases the unique characteristics of the coffee’s terroir, such as the soil, climate, altitude, and processing method. Single-origin coffee is often preferred by coffee enthusiasts who want to taste the nuances and flavors of different coffees. Single-origin coffee can be roasted by any type of coffee roaster machine, but some roasters may use a gene cafe coffee roaster to achieve a more precise and delicate roast.
The third wave of coffee also saw the rise of online platforms and marketplaces that connect coffee lovers with coffee bean roasters near me or around the world. These platforms allow the consumers to browse, compare, and order different types of coffee, from single-origin to blends, from light to dark roasts, from whole beans to ground.