Coffee's 'Third Wave' Brews Some Fine Joe

This sure ain't Starbucks, so don't go in blind

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 17, 2009 8:17 PM CST

(Newser) – Americans love their coffee, and if you’re among those who are way beyond Folgers and are starting to tire of chains like Starbucks and Peet’s, perhaps you’re ready for the so-called “third wave.” Cafés of this genre offer high-quality coffees—drip and espresso—often roasted on the premises, and can tell you pretty specifically about each kind of bean they’ve ground—just then, and for just one cup—to make it.

The movement has occasioned “an entire reworking of the global supply chain for high-end specialty coffee,” one java jockey tells the East Bay Express, adding many third-wavers emphasize light and medium roasts over the darker versions you’ll get at Starbucks. Of course, you might get an extra shot of snobbery if you order something milkshakey, but, says one barista, “It would be really presumptuous of us to be dogmatic about something that’s not widely understood. I don’t get any pleasure out of having made them a perfect drink that they didn’t like.”

A coffee cupping session at San Francisco's Ritual Roasters.
A coffee cupping session at San Francisco's Ritual Roasters.   (Wikimedia Commons)
One of the coffee contraptions at San Francisco's Blue Bottle on Mint.
One of the coffee contraptions at San Francisco's Blue Bottle on Mint.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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