The 3rd-Wave – A Brief History Lesson of Modern Coffee
"Think Industrial Revolution – everyone seems to at least be familiar with the concept. Now remove technological leaps which changed the shape of industries across the world and insert instead: coffee. Ah, simple, aromatic, fresh and endlessly enjoyable coffee. That ladies and gentlemen, is basically what the 3 Waves of coffee revolution were, and are."
Coffee of course has its origins dating way back into antiquity, however, in more contemporary times, the manner in which coffee is consumed, bought and sold has drastically changed. And so too has it changed the world.
The 1st Wave:
The late-19th century saw the rise of a second cycle of the industrial revolution, laying the foundations for an ensuing era of mass production -- perhaps illustrated best by Henry Ford’s assembly line approach to car manufacture. The coffee industry was no exception. Familiar brands such as Nestle, Maxwell and Fargo paved the way -- this was the 1st wave of coffee.
Think back to cheesy branding, catchy slogans and the introduction of instant coffee and vacuum sealed bags (even better, think Mad Men). Coffee had by now entered every home, every office, on a scale never before seen. Quality at this point was not really even part of the subject, let alone buzz-words such as supply chain transparency and traceability. All that mattered was that there was a fresh cup o’ Joe wherever you were, and it was a daily necessity.
The 2nd Wave:
In the very early 1900’s, say buongiorno to the wide-spread use of espresso machines. This was, and still is, the weapon of choice for producing coffee at a speed unparalleled to any other brewing method.
While the introduction of the espresso machine wasn’t really the defining force behind the 2nd Wave of coffee per se, it lay the foundation for a cosmic shift, making café’s a center-point of society. Just as the 1960’s and 70’s were -- suffice to say -- a blurry period for many who lived through them, so too was the 2nd Wave of coffee in history.
The 2nd Wave is when café’s transformed from an ‘espresso bar’ to somewhere to go and spend some time, hang out, light a cig and take a moment of respite from your busy schedule (think coffee shop from ‘Friends’).
For the coffee industry, marketing efforts evolved from cheesy slogans, into more of a storytelling approach, with an emphasis on themes such as coffee origins and flavour notes.
Enter the Latte, Cappuccino, Americano and so on. Coffee began to develop as a beverage, a world where every palate would be accommodated! However, the bean itself remained just ‘good and cheap’. Enter the Starbucks era (and the ilk of the Seattle coffee scene). The end of the second wave really was a defining point in coffee history, paving the way for modern coffee consumption as we now know it.
The 3rd Wave:
Now for a full disclaimer: I am from New Zealand. And I’d like to also take this rare opportunity to establish we irrefutably invented the flat white. There. But regardless of opinion (no matter how true it absolutely is), it is fact when I say the 3rd Wave originated in New Zealand and Australia.
‘Speciality coffee’ hit the scene, offering a whole new artisan take on what coffee can offer. Whispers of coffee varieties with a wider range of flavours than even that of wine stormed through coffee lovers ears! Crazy, but really true! ‘Good and cheap’ has given way to an increasingly larger, value-added niche of ‘great coffee is worth the cost’. There's coffee, and now there is Coffee.
Cup o’ Joe and instant coffee was ruthlessly crushed by a new, ritualistic, take on coffee. People are infatuated with the romance of the story. Roasting tended toward a lighter roast to showcase flavour, relationships with Baristas became as important as relationships with Barbers and Hairdressers.
Cozy and comfy had given way to not just a nice aesthetic, but refined brewing methods, educational material available at your fingertips both online and offline -- for instance the origins of a particular coffee, why it’s speciality grade, the amazing flavours waiting to be unleashed on your taste buds, and what brewing method might best suit the specific roasted bean you’re drinking.
Getting Wavey - Beyond the 3rd Wave:
We at Bonaverde not only believe in the 3rd Wave by educating, storytelling, promoting others in industry and sourcing the best beans possible; but we are ready to transition into the next wave of coffee: the 4th Wave.
You heard right. We call ourselves and our community Coffee Changers for a reason: we believe that use of disruptive technology can, and indeed must, change the coffee supply industry for good. To open up the supply chain, link you directly with the farmers via our marketplace and completely change the way coffee is traded. The Berlin is our tool to achieve this. By making you the roaster, we can take roasting out of the supply chain and give you the power to directly support farmers, building your own unique experience every single time you start your ritual.
Hope you enjoyed and as always, drop a comment, love to hear from you.
All the best from Berlin,