New Wave Coffee

written by keepers 3 years ago

The next wave of coffee is starting to swell. To understand who will be in the 4th wave it pays to look at the first three coffee waves to understand the trends:

1st Wave Coffee

Folgers, Maxwell House, Instant-Coffee

Literally your mother’s or grandmother’s coffee (depending on how old you are)

Traits?: Tastes like ass, barely recognizable as coffee.

Maybe that’s a little harsh, but very little attention was paid to where the beans came from, or what the roasting process was like, the first wave was all about getting coffee to the masses. Coffee was just a commodity.

2nd Wave Coffee

Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme

Specialty coffee is born, people care a little more about the quality, but quality takes a back seat to just having a ‘good’ cup of coffee, Dunkin Donuts coffee for instance is drinkable and won’t want to spit it out, but it doesn’t celebrate the beauty of the bean like we see in 3rd wave coffees.

3rd Wave Coffee

Stumptown, La Colombe, Blue Bottle

The third wave coffee shops distinguished themselves by treating coffee like an artisinal product (like wine). Where the coffee came from became really important, the varieties of the coffee plants, the roasting technique, harvest conditions, quality of soil, all these things became important. If you’ve ever seen someone tasting wine where they swish the wine around in the glass, take a deep breath to get the full aroma, then swish it around in their mouth to expose it to all their taste buds… This is the level of coffee appreciation that became the norm in third wave coffee shops.

4th Wave Coffee

Keepers / Cuvée / Sudden Coffee / coffee innovators

The forth wave of coffee has just started, the companies that are paving the way respect the bean to the same extent or even more than third wave coffee companies. The big difference is that 4th wave companies are bringing innovation back to coffee. Sudden Coffee, for instance, is trying to make a new-wave instant coffee. Cuvée, and others are using nitrogen to make ‘nitro coffees’ which have a similar frothyness to a Guinness. Keepers Coffee Soda fits nicely into the fourth wave. We pair fresh citrus with different origins of beans to make a soda that is has been given the nod of approval by some of the most discerning coffee connoisseurs.