What is third wave coffee?!

We know a lot of you are curious about our coffee. We keep throwing around the term third wave coffee like it is commonplace. If you don’t know what we are talking about that is ok. If you think all coffee is just coffee that is NOT ok and you are wrong! But don’t worry, we love you anyway and are here to help you step into the wonderland that is great specialty coffee. The first step into this world involves a brief history lesson…don’t worry, it will be fun!

First wave coffee goes back to any time before the 1960’s. Think diner coffee, instant coffee, and the stuff that comes already ground in a metal can at your local grocery store. It was/is low quality and roasted fairly dark. The goal was low cost and consistent taste. It would sit in the same pot all day and you could get all the refills you wanted. That pot would pick up an interesting brown discoloration over time!

Second wave coffee was pioneered in the late 60’s by a couple of large very well known coffee chains. It focused on quality, country of origin, and highlighting unique flavor profiles. It typically is also a darker roast profile. This allows for more consistency in flavor across years and stores. They typically used higher quality beans and because of that this wave is credited with the birth of the specialty coffee industry. This wave also introduced the American audience to espresso based drinks.

Third wave coffee focuses on specialty coffee. Specialty coffee only uses the top 1% of coffee beans grown in the world. It usually utilizes a lighter roast profile that allows the natural flavors of each bean to shine through. We are in many ways viewing coffee beans as we do grapes in the wine industry. The different latitudes, elevations, temperatures, mineral content of the soils, and variations in rainfall all contribute to make each year's crop of coffee cherries taste different than previous years. It also means that an Ethiopian coffee will have substantial flavor differences from a Colombian coffee. Additionally, the growers are processing the coffee cherries in different and unique ways that further influence the flavor profile that you experience.

Third wave coffee also focuses on the art of truly great coffee and espresso based drink creation. At Local Habit we are exclusively a third wave coffee cafe. We want to teach and expose everyone who enters our shop to amazing coffee and all the different flavors and sensory experiences that a person can glean from the differences in specialty coffee.

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