First, second and now even a third wave of coffee? Do you often wonder what a barista is or why your local cafe now offers more varieties of coffee than it did before the turn of the century?
If you’re reading this latest blog post from a hip indie East End coffee shop while enjoying a V60 sourced from Panama, that tastes like papaya and mango with a bright shimmer of white wine; you’re definitely on the right track!
Forget first wave, which brought us instant coffee, vacuum packaging and catchy slogans. Moving forward to the 90s, the second wave of coffee began and people slowly started to realize how bad instant granules were and demanded to know more about their favourite morning beverage. With this came brick and mortar coffee shops, terms like barista and the very first coffee flavour wheel.
Around 2002, coffee powerhouses Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Counter Culture Coffee & Intelligentsia in America, spearheaded the change for better tasting coffee with an artisanal approach. In many ways it was both a reaction and a reply to bad tasting coffee, as much as it was a movement forward towards speciality coffee.
At the heart of this movement is educating inquisitive customers on where their coffee comes from and how to get the most out of their beans using different brewing methods - i.e V60, AeroPress, Moka Pot or French Press - as well as treating it as a food, not a commodity. That means no storing of coffee in the fridge please!
Soil, altitude, varietal (that’s like eating Braeburn or Gala apples) and the method of processing have become important factors to the discerning palate. After all, coffee is very much like wine, although we are still paying a small price compared to what coffee is truly worth.
The days of bad coffee are over, it’s up to you to decide whether you’d like to pay a bit more for the higher premium or stick with the cheap and cheerful instant. Which wave are you riding?
Written by CRU Kafe's very own barista, Robin Merz
Photography by Sonya Metzler