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The Third Wave Coffee Movement: What Is It? | Specialty Coffee

third wave coffee, specialty coffee, speciality coffee, arabica coffee, gourmet coffee

Regardless of whether you’ve noticed it or not, you’ll definitely have seen the third wave coffee movement going on all around you. Specialty coffee producers, independent coffee shops and gourmet coffee tasting experiences on pretty much every corner. Far from a niche product that’s even remotely difficult to get hold of, speciality coffee has become the new norm for a discerning generation of coffee lovers.

Defining ‘Third Wave Coffee’ (aka Specialty Coffee)

As for what exactly the term ‘third wave coffee movement’ refers to, there’s no established or singular definition. Instead, it’s a term used to refer to the collective habits and preferences of speciality coffee fans and businesses alike from a 2018 perspective.

For example, walk into an independent local coffee shop these days and it’s not quite as simple as ordering a black or white coffee. In fact, you’ll probably find at least a handful of different steel and glass contraptions behind the bar, providing a variety of brewing options for every cup. Incredible specialty coffee from all over the world, educated baristas who seem to speak their own language, the kinds of tasting notes you would once have associated with a fine-wine degustation session and the kinds of dimly-lit, industrial-accented hangouts that attract the most beautiful people in the vicinity.

Combine all of the above and you have yourself a picture postcard snapshot of the third wave coffee movement. That and a wide-reaching reluctance among those involved to go anywhere near a major international coffee chain.

What Came Before Third Wave Coffee and Speciality Coffee?

Of course, the fact that we’re experiencing the third wave would seem to suggest that there were precisely two previous waves. So if today is all about the third wave, what was going on during the times of the first and second waves respectively?

Well, the first wave coffee movement – not its official name at the time – refers to the era when coffee first started to become a popular and mainstream drink in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States. Coffee began to appear in local supermarkets and was no longer a particularly expensive item, resulting in wider uptake and consumption among the general public.

As for the second wave coffee movement, this is when specialty coffee culture officially began taking off. For one thing, coffee shops and restaurants began offering a much more extensive range of coffees than had been previously available.  Cappuccinos, lattes and so on led to a huge increase in the popularity of coffee shops, which became fashionable hangouts for speciality coffee lovers.  Particularly during the warmer months of year when tables and chairs spilled out into the streets, the long-standing coffee culture of Mediterranean Europe soon swept Britain and the US.

The only difference between the second and third wave coffee movement being the incredible diversity and sophistication of today’s coffee scene in general.  Incredible new products, diverse machinery and the most stylish people on the face of the earth taking the helm.

There’s already talk of a fourth wave coffee movement on the horizon – exactly what it could bring to the mainstream remains anyone’s guess!

Hayman is a very active supporter of the third wave coffee movement. Visit our online store to find an amazing specialty coffee menu, offered as green coffee beans (for home roasting), whole bean coffee, best ground coffee, and Nespresso podsclick here to order today, we ship worldwide!