The 1st Wave
First wave coffee describes the mass adoption of coffee in the household. It’s mass-marketed instant coffee for the home. Folgers and Maxwell House made instant coffee extremely convenient for purchase by mass producing predominantly robusta beans.
The 2nd Wave
The 70’s saw new and interesting brands emerging. Starbucks et al stole a march and brought café culture to the masses.
The 3rd wave
This is the wave of coffee you and I live in today. It’s artisan, ‘craft’, local, hipster. Generally speaking, it’s a luxury, especially if you’re ordering a rare Guatemalan bean and brewing it using a V60 from a London coffee shop.
Third wave coffee is fun. It’s developmental and progressive. We understand the needs of producers. We’re building actual relationships and we’re working towards locally sourced speciality goods, while the rest of the world tries to mass-produce as much as it can.
The 4th Wave
This wave is not fully defined or developed yet, however the mass speculation is that coffee will step away from the bright lights of barista competitions and rosettes and focus instead on consumers and producers. Coffee for the more discerning coffee drinker in the home or out on the town. Consumers who will not compromise on quality and taste, who take an interest in where the coffee comes from and if it is produced fairly and sustainably.
The major players in the coffee industry will heavily promote and showcase its farmers. Even making trips to South America once a year to help build schools and provide tools for farmers to help improve their lives. It will showcase the global community that we are becoming.
Possibly in the years to come, we, as consumers will think nothing of holidaying in Colombia and staying on coffee farms, engrossing ourselves in blind cupping sessions, sampling new flavours and making notes in our journals.
The 5th Wave
This wave will reflect a powerful new era of scaled boutique hospitality and is the current ideology shaping business trends across the global coffee industry. Put simply, the 5th Wave implies scaling up consistent high quality to achieve a highly successful, customer-centric and sustained business outcome.