I have loved coffee for many years. When I was in my twenties I developed a minor obsession with the diner coffees served all across America (but strangely not quite the same anywhere else). Then, in my thirties, came the lattes and cappuccinos in which I took a mild interest, but they never really sparked a deep passion.
In 2012 I was in Brooklyn and a friend took me to the Blue Bottle Café. We had to wait 45 minutes in line to get a coffee and I’m standing there thinking “What was all the fuss?” I found out the fuss was over their filter coffee, which took a while to prepare, so I ordered one for myself, foregoing the milk or fancy froth the way I always enjoyed in the diners.
As I was drinking it, I knew it was something special. It was coffee, but on a whole new level. It was bold, yet more delicate, cleaner on my palette, and not oily or flat like some of the cafetieres or Americanos I’ve had. It also contained more flavours than just that familiar ‘coffee’ taste. I soon learned it was because this coffee was a lighter roast than what is typically offered. That idea seemed to sit very well with me. It was the simplicity of a cup of coffee from the diner days, but with much more depth and flavour notes.
I went looking for more of this special kind of coffee and I started to see that it was not only hard to find, but only a few scattered places even understood what I was talking about. It dawned on me that this process of making coffee was part of something larger. A movement was growing in the world of coffee.
An artisan level of appreciating coffee was not new, but up until now it was only to be found in specialty shops and you would still only be able to choose from a limited selection of medium, dark or French roast coffees. With the rise of the ‘Third Wave’* these days I can go to more and more cities around the world and find a hip coffee shop serving single-estate coffee so fresh the beans will have been roasted a mere day or two earlier. These are/I’m talking about/This is coffee so interesting its characteristics will differ dramatically from one particular estate to another, and even from each little coffee shop to the next. You may even be unable to get a particular coffee in a different week because it won’t be in-season any more.
To me this and the many other exciting, new innovations in roasting and preparation makes the pleasure of coffee an adventure like never before. That is why I feel compelled to share my voyage of amazing discoveries with the wider world.
*It’s not clear who invented the term ‘Third Wave’ but it loosely refers to the supposition that the first wave was the invention of freeze-dried coffee for the masses, the second wave was the proliferation of cappuccinos, mochaccinos, lattes, frappes etc by places such as Costa and Starbucks and now the third wave is the latest movement in the coffee trade as described above.