Coffee Tides: The three waves of Coffee defined July 15, 2017 12:08

First wave of coffee

The first wave of coffee describes the post war boom in the consumption of percolated coffee. Coffee was part of breakfast, lunch and dinner and as such reached levels of consumption that are higher than per capita consumption even today.

Second wave of coffee

Second wave could be aptly described as the Starbucks era, when North America was formally introduced to Italian espressos and cappuccinos. Soon other espresso based drinks like lattes, mochas, americanos, and the infamous caramel Macchiato also became part of the North American consumer lexicon, along with Tall, Grande, Vente and half-caf.

Third wave of coffee

Third wave or Artisan Coffee is one of the fastest growing segments in the coffee industry. It takes coffee beyond the green mermaid. Whether you think of it as the fine dining equivalent for coffee, or just passion in a cup, the energy that these young professionals show is inspiring. Third wave is a completely new approach to coffee that is obsessed with quality and freshness.

At the heart of third wave is a full-on frontal attack on the myths of coffee that previous waves built their business models on. Dismissed as a fad in the early years, the fact that third wave is still going strong after 15 years is a testament to the trending growth we witness today. The demographic is young, vibrant, tech savvy, social media addicted, foodie, fine spirits drinking, expensive bike riding, trendy but not too trendy, sophisticated, early adopter, street-wise consumer.

And that’s just the baristas.

Their customers are connoisseurs of the fine things in life, and they think carefully where they will spend their caffeine quotient for the day. In other words, quality counts, and coffee is more than just self medication, it’s a chance to savour and imbibe. For these consumers, what is actually in the cup is more important than the logo outside the cup.