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The 3 Waves of Coffee Culture

Posted on by Sandi Luck

Coffee has been around for a very long time. From its beginnings until now, the industry has continuously changed as consumers' views of coffee have evolved. Let’s take a look:

First off, let's talk about the beginning. Coffee was really only for the very wealthy until the 1800s and early 1900s, when it began to be mass produced. It became more accessible, and soon became a worldwide sensation. In those days, coffee was more about convenience than taste. Coffee was almost a one-size fits all type of thing. You had instant coffee and pre-ground coffee beans. This is what we call the first wave. 

Then came the second wave of coffee, around the mid-1900s. This is when coffee started to get fancy! A large coffee shop chain was the pioneer of this wave. They created a space to enjoy coffee drinks that were made to taste better than the instant and pre-ground coffees. Suddenly, coffee became an experience. It wasn't just about getting your caffeine fix; it was about enjoying the flavors and savoring the moment.. Quality began to matter.

Finally, we have the third wave, which began in the 2000s. This is when people really started caring about where their coffee comes from. Sustainability, transparency, and craftsmanship became important to consumers.We began to care about the environment and the people who grow the coffee beans. People also started trying out different ways to make coffee, like pour-over, french press, and cold brew. We figured out that brewing methods can affect the taste of the coffee. 

Coffee culture has changed immensely over the last 150-ish years, and will continue to evolve as we discover new ways of farming, roasting, and brewing coffee. Have you seen the 3 waves of coffee culture in your own coffee journey?

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