The term coffee wave refers to a specific period of time in which the evolution of the coffee market shares the same characteristics. In a nutshell, the waves can be described as following:
1st wave – Traditional coffee culture. Commodity driven, mass consumption, not much difference within coffee qualities or origins, purely transactional, not a sensorial experience just a way of getting a shot of energy.
2nd wave – Branded chains. Coffee shop culture, customised espresso-based beverages, social experience.
3rd wave – Artisan coffee. Focus on quality, micro-roasting, handcrafting, sourcing transparently, attention to origins.
4th wave – Science. Focus on coffee science, perfect taste experience, single-origin coffees, understanding of varieties, processes, and impact of farming in quality.
And then, more recently, there is the 5th wave of coffee. The fifth wave of coffee combines the passion and fascination that consumers have for coffee and its potential in different preparation methods with detailed information on what lies beyond the bean itself. With the rising knowledge about the factors that directly influence coffee’s quality, consumers have understood that a large part of the quality success factor comes from the cultivation and processing. Therefore, there is a growing curiosity to know where each coffee comes from, how it was processed and what production practices were used. This has as a consequence a unique characteristic of the fifth wave: the connection.