Coffee shop owner should know about history of coffee

Today FOURLEAF team had a word with a certain barista about history of coffee and what is specialty coffee.

If you’re planning to open a café we believe this blog entry could be extremely useful. You will get a good perspective of where you want your café to be; retro, contemporary (obsolete soon) or futuristic.

The history of coffee is divided into three eras and each era was affected by social, political, economic and technological context which changed popularity of coffee throughout time.

Credit : Book, The world atlast of coffee

First wave Around 19 century was when first cafes opened which was not nearly as popular as today. Back then it was a place for mostly men to gather and discuss topics of the day. The people only wanted the effect of coffee which came from Caffeine. This age went on up to the point when instant coffee was introduced which made drinking coffee widely popular. This is the starting point for next era of café.

Credit : Instragram @iBankstory

Second wave This is the era when drinking coffee became global and franchised café like Starbucks flourished with many similar cafes popped up like mushrooms. Industrial-scale production for export under one’s own brand gave the world a different experience from going to cafes and drinking coffee has become essential in daily life. The famous coffee brands made sure that it happened.

Third wave Franchised café like Starbucks becomes just “so-so”, this pretty much sums up the third wave of café and the current trend. Third Wave is from 2002 up until now and is an era when people really enjoy coffee for its taste and aroma. Customers are willing to pay more for better coffee from exotic sources and transparent production and farming. Plantation must be organic and environmentally friendly, coffee labors must be treated well are main concerns these days. Local baristas began sourcing beans from small, independent producers and try to experiment various ways to extract coffee other than using Espresso machine. This ‘Third Wave’ is, thus, driven by both barista and coffee drinker towards Specialty Coffee.


Credit : วิทยา Brew Specialty Coffee

Specialty Coffee Specialty coffee is simply coffee that emphasizes on “taste”. There are various planting methods, processing, roasting and brewing. Each country would yield a special “Best of the Year” crop, depends on weather and special care given to the plantation, which gives coffee a distinct taste. Then the beans were specially picked, even by hand, for perfect beans then dried carefully and thoroughly. This is why specialty coffee tastes different from other coffees produced in the same year. Such attention to details makes it very limited and has become the trend in this Third Wave.

Now you can see a broad perspective of history of coffee and café. You can read our next blog entry on how to brew good specialty coffee (or any coffee) to get more in-depth information.

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