Fast Facts about Third-Wave Coffee

Fast Facts about Third-Wave Coffee

Third-wave coffee shares this era with third-wave feminism: both 90’s babies, reacting and building upon the accomplishments of their second-wave parents. Third-wave coffee takes an artisanal interest in the quality and origin of beans, from farming to filling your cup. It’s a craft akin to winemaking or brewing.
As a barista of four years, I’ve had some time to hone this craft while disproving all of the misconceptions believed by frequent coffee drinkers, “Don’t get black coffee, espresso will wake you up!” A coworker was once asked if espresso would taste good in a latte.
I could continue, but the premise is that while third-wave coffee shops are growing in popularity, you may come across some interesting terms. A large component of third-wave includes single origin beans. Coffee beans are farmed in countries near the equator, originating in Ethiopia. While the brands you buy at the store are typically a blend of beans from multiple farms or countries, single origin beans come from one farm or small area. After the beans are processed, they are sent to roasters around the world.
Farming is half of the process. The roaster’s job is not only to prepare the beans for consumption, but to do so in a way that enhances the natural flavors unique to each farm. You may taste these natural flavors in some roasts more than others. They depend on the region, climate and type of soil and could range anywhere from nutty to citrusy.
Light Roast: Highest caffeine levels and acidity. Natural flavors are strongest.
Medium Roast: Perfect balance between natural acidity and body from the roast. Bright flavor. My personal favorite roast.
Dark Roast: Lowest levels of acidity and caffeine. The rich body from the roast often inhibits the natural flavors of the beans.
Espresso: Typically, a dark roast, but espresso can be as simple as grinding any coffee very finely. Espresso just means that it’s heavily concentrated, and one shot has less caffeine than a 12-ounce brewed coffee.
Don’t like the acidity of black coffee, but curious about single origin beans? Try a pour-over. These are single-cup methods of brewing that minimize acidity while often enhancing natural flavor. It’s the “handmade” version of drip coffee, taking three to six minutes depending on the method.
While it’s easy to stick to your habits, the world of third-wave coffee has so much to offer. Asking your barista for recommendations is the best way to figure out what you’ll like. We love sharing our knowledge and don’t want anyone to leave unsatisfied.

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