blogcoffee buying guide

third wave coffee

third wave coffee

What are different waves of coffee? What does third wave coffee mean? Will there be a fourth wave?

We like coffee and it’s one of our favorites in the morning, evening, with desert, during our night works, and in many other times and situations. Coffee is the most using drink in the world, after alcoholic drinks. Over 1 billion people all over the world drink coffee daily. Additionally, people from the US only drink around 400 million cups of coffee each day. So it can be almost expected that the coffee industry has a long history and has extensive influence in the world. If you are not one of those people who like their coffee most because of its simplicity, you need to get acquainted with the coffee history and coffee experts. In this article, we are going to learn everything about each wave of coffee. And also, understand throughout the new coffee wave philosophy and our possible role in the coffee industry. So, read on!

Let’s start.

The first wave of coffee

This wave includes almost 4 centuries:

  • The acceptance of coffee as a beverage in the 15th century
  • The arrival of coffee in Europe as a luxury drink (served only in the queen’s court and lords’ palaces) in the 16th century
  • The arrival of coffee in America in the 17th century
  • Coffee was invented as a very luxurious and special drink and of course rare in the early 18th century.

The development of the industrial revolution, the increase of social welfare level, and the beginning of innovations in the coffee industry from the middle to the end of the 18th century is a brief of first wave coffee.

The first industrial coffee processing was done by a man named William H. Bovee in the United States. In the mid-1800s, he began producing coffee that had already been roasted, grounded, and packaged in small cans. What was once considered a luxury for upper-class people has become available to any middle-class kitchen. But the main problem was that over a short period, the coffee in the cans spoiled and had major storage problems.

After that, The first innovation in the coffee industry was introduced by the Hills Brothers in 1900, and it was vacuum packaging technology. In this way, they were able to get the air out of the coffee cans, resulting in fresher beans over a longer period. The coffee has now been moved from the warehouse of special suppliers to the shelves of retailers and grocery stores throughout the United States.

where do you get arabica beans

Famous coffee brands during the first wave of coffee

There were lots of famous brands during the first wave that after some years, most of them disappeared. Most of the famous coffee brands that have survived to this day are the achievements of Americans. Here are the most famous ones:

  • Instant Coffee
  • Nestle
  • Maxwell House
  • Coffee

During this period, the United States moved rapidly toward modernizing production processes to achieve mass, rapid, and affordable production.

third coffee beans around grinder

Instant Coffee

The next invention in the coffee industry named instant coffee was announced in 1903. Instant coffee was quick and easy and did not require brewing equipment. It was very suitable for the rations of World War one soldiers in 1917. In the 1970s, about a third of imported roasted coffee to the USA became instant coffee.

Maxwell House

Then in the late 18th century, Joel Chick, a coffee dealer, named his new coffee blend “Maxwell House.” The slogan “Good to the last drop” was used in Maxwell House coffee ads.


In 1938, “Nestle’” became the most popular instant coffee brand, launching its new instant beverage, even supplying the US military for World War Two.


At the end of this period, we can talk about the “Mr.Coffee” brand. A businessman named Vincent Marotta ordered a coffee machine that was brand new. And, introduced the maker of the machine as Mr. Coffee that is even common among coffee drinkers these days.

Reviews of first wave coffee

One of the reasons for moving to the second wave was the reaction to the “bad quality coffee” that was introduced in the first wave. It is also worth mentioning that no one knew the exact source of coffee, so most people thought that coffee was just a factory product rather than a real plant. As a result, Informed people have felt cheated.

Other reviews and reasons for moving to the second wave were:

  • Beans and brown coffee with artificial flavor
  • Advertisement focus on terms like:” gourmet”,” available”,” instant”
  • Invest in expanding coffee plantations even at the cost of deforestation
  • Existence of an extensive network of brokers so that money did not reach the farmers
  • Super dark and bitter coffee
  • special Coffee rows in supermarkets
where can I find good coffee beans online?

The second wave of coffee

After a few years, coffee drinkers were desired to know the origin of their coffee and the unique roasting styles of the beans. which is now called “specialty coffee”. This knowledge referred to the enjoyment of coffee as an experience, rather than merely a coffee. Words like “espresso”, “latte”, and “fiancés” became popular among coffee lovers during this area.

During the second wave, Starbucks opened its doors in 1971 and specialized in fresh roasted coffee beans. The taste of the coffees offered to the customers was much better and different. Starbucks also pioneered what became known in the United States as “specialty coffee drinks” by mixing espresso shots with sweet and savory syrups and other ingredients. In addition, new chain branches opened in the 1990s. and then, It began to grow worldwide. As a result, Starbucks became the second wave poster.

The criticism of the second wave is that it has lost its way and left the source of beans for the social experience of drinking coffee.

Reviews of second-wave coffee

At the end of second wave, Coffee shops became a big business. and as a result, people turned their attention from the original nature of coffee to a favorite beverage. The social experience of drinking coffee became more important than the artisan process of producing coffee. The other happening that brought the end of the second wave of coffee were:

  • Intense focus on flavored drinks
  • Coffee hallway in supermarkets
  • Little knowledge about the origin of coffee
  • Baristas who love cafes but do not like coffee beans themselves
  • Invest in expanding coffee plantations even at the cost of deforestation
  • Existence of an extensive network of brokers so that money did not reach the farmers

people sitting around tables in coffee stores

The third wave of coffee

The third wave of coffee came from a small group in the 1980s that focused heavily on coffee beans. This group of roasters and cafes experimented with less roasted coffees and introduced new exotic flavors. At the same time, the wave had spread to other parts of the world, such as Australia, Canada, and Scandinavia.

In the third wave of coffee, which means now, people want transparency in the coffee industry. Knowing more about coffee plantations and understanding that soil, height, and processing methods are important factors in the quality and taste of coffee beans. Public acknowledgment led to a general trend towards independent coffee shops

Arabica coffee beans

Now, we must get familiar with the “three greats” in the US coffee industry.  Three major coffee makers in the United States, including “Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea” in Chicago, “Counter Culture Coffee” in North Carolina, and “Stumptown Coffee Roasters” of Portland.  These coffee makers, known as the “Big Three”, combined philosophy with coffee.  They introduced a complete coffee production cycle that includes: “product quality”, “direct trade” and “sustainable business practices”. On another hand, they believe Coffee education also plays an important role in relevant business models, they believe and always repeat it as a slogan: “the better-educated consumer strengthens the industry”.

Reviews of Third Wave Coffee

During the first wave, the consumer was the leader. Then, With the second wave, coffee was better, but marketing was the driving force behind the experience. With the third wave, production and marketing will be in the back seat and the product will be in the spotlight. The main symptoms of the third wave are:

  • Specific flavor notes
  • Lighter roast profiles
  • Latte art
  • Single origin coffee beans
  • The high degree of origin transparency
  • Manual brewing methods like pour-over cones and french presses
  • Freshness transparency by publishing specific roast dates

Third wave coffee tastes

Generally, the taste of coffee has always been a principal and critical point in coffee movements. We know best taste is based on the best quality. As a necessity for quality control, coffee regions are categorized. Growers and traders use growing regions:

  • Asia: Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, turkey and etc
  • pacific: Papua new guinea
  • North America: Hawaii, Mexico
  • Central America: Guatemala, Costa Rica
  • South America: Brazil, Colombia
  • Africa and Arabia: Yemen, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ivory coast

However, there is still a place for the general public to prove the difference between third wave coffee and previous waves. This is where the role of Baristas gets brighter.

Third wave coffee brands

There is the list of best coffee brands in the time we live:

  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters
  • Intelligentsia coffee
  • Toffee Coffee Roasters
  • Counter Culture Coffee


To put it in a nutshell, Coffee is a culinary experience that is accompanied by paying homage to its origin, recognizing its brewing methods, and recognizing all the differences in its taste. If we want to define the last wave, perhaps the best way to describe is: “the best wave of all the waves that have appeared in the process of forming an independent coffee trade.”

So are we in the fourth wave?  Only time can tell. But “Wave” whatever is defined, the coffee industry has become experienced, and we are lucky to be a daily beneficiary of it, and we can play our part in it!


User Rating: 5 ( 5 votes)
Show More


If you're a coffee fanatic who enjoys the first sip of coffee every day, you understand the magical power of good coffee beans. I've been crazy about coffee for a quite long time, and I truly enjoy learning about different types of coffee and all the facts about caffeine. So, I decided to share my experience with you to help you choose coffee beans like a pro and find your favorite type of coffee. Hope you enjoy!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
error: Content is protected !!