Catching the Coffee Waves

Published On: June 20, 2022|0 Comments|

When we started building Blackwoods Coffee to share the world’s great coffees, all we knew and cared about was that certain farmers produced better coffee beans and that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy them.

The Blackwoods Coffee journey is one of the years. Through the course of creating The Blackwoods Coffee Company, research, industry trends, and consumer needs and wants to influence our belief that great coffee is like fine wine. But, unlike the great wines of the world, you, the coffee drinker, have the opportunity to influence the qualities of the coffee that goes into your cup.

The coffee of our grandparents’ day today is known as First Wave coffee, always found in the supermarket aisles of the local grocery store. Pre-ground, dark bitter taste, all brewed the same way, with no thought to bean origin, usually of the lowest quality. Known in the industry as commodity coffee. Coffee drinkers didn’t know that coffee beans come from the cherries of a plant grown on a farm. A factory product, produced for convenience, emphasizes quantity rather than quality. This coffee is still the favorite of some coffee drinkers, content with the taste of this coffee in their morning cup.

 

The coffee shop culture, coffee’s Second Wave, certainly introduced coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers to better quality coffee through a wider variety of coffee experiences. Noting the country of origin of coffee and experimenting with higher-quality coffee, mixed espresso shots with sweet, flavorful syrups, and other ingredients, what was once considered “specialty coffee drinks” became a common purchase. The focus was rarely on the coffee itself. The emphasis is on the mood lighting, flavored coffee drinks, and the environment — the “Coffee Shop Experience”. But rarely departing from the super-dark coffee roasting style of the first wave that left coffee bitter, uninteresting, and uniform. Coffee drinkers were encouraged to view the physical cafe as a place to relax, meet up, and enjoy better coffee. 

Coffee drinkers began to realize there was more to coffee than the coffee shops served. Small roasters began to answer the call. They focused highly on the coffee beans, experimenting with lighter roast levels and bringing new, exotic flavors out of well-grown coffees. A coffee renaissance emerged, the Third Wave. Manifested by flavorful light and medium roast coffee, more emphasis is on the countries of origin, the farm, and the farmers. There was more focus on every part of the process, including growing, harvesting, processing, sourcing, and brewing. A desire for higher quality coffee beans improved all aspects of the Third Wave coffee experience, now known as “specialty coffee”.

The coffee drinker, now more sophisticated, and passionate about the taste and experience, expected more delicate flavors, characteristic of the higher quality bean and the specific single origin. Single-origin coffee beans became recognized for their unique flavors such as acidity, sweetness, and tasting notes. There was also more focus on sustainability, micro roasting, as well as recognition of the importance of the brewing process with manual brewing methods that uncover the nuanced flavor profile of the freshly roasted beans. 

Even now, specialty coffee is growing and evolving. Continuously refining techniques, questioning the systems that have long left farmers in poverty, and searching for ways to bring more flavor out of the precious coffee bean. 

 

Opening the Fourth Wave. A segment of the coffee industry is transforming the approach to coffee from art to science, with a science-like observation of roasting, extraction, origins, and varietals. Even studying water chemistry and the properties of coffee, including accurate measurements, chemical processes, optimizing water quality, and the involvement of CO2 in the brewing process. These innovations focus on creating a better quality coffee and coffee drinking experience.

So too does the emphasis on the coffee farms, farmers, and the economic ecosystem they rely on. Differing projects, organizations, and fair and direct trade programs have helped raise the incomes and subsequently the living standards of small and disadvantaged coffee growers by guaranteeing a higher price for quality coffee beans. The higher the quality, the more the growers are paid for their harvests. 

In our journey over the waves, we have seen some venture capitalists and big brand names capitalizing on combining the Coffee Shop ideas of the Second Wave, the quality promise of the Third Wave, and the rise of Cold Brewed coffee to begin a Fifth Wave brick-n-mortar coffee business. We have come to understand that coffee drinkers drive the innovation and development of great coffees like never before. They’re sophisticated and knowledgable and drive for new and different coffee experiences. 

 

By: D. C. Blackwood

Coffee Enthusiast, Entrepreneur, World Traveler

D.C. is an entrepreneur and regular contributor. Traveling through South America, D. C. became well acquainted with coffee growers, their practices, and financial plights. Once returning to the U.S., he studied the North American coffee industry. His meeting with several small coffee roasters encouraged his belief in and the creation of Blackwoods Coffee. With a shared value and enthusiasm and a true, sincere wish to bring the world’s great coffees to the masses, he launched www.blackwoodscoffee.com. The website will grow to offer great coffees and coffee products that provide value and enjoyment to its customers. A portion of the proceeds from each sale will benefit the coffee growers and a reforestation project in South America, making Blackwoods coffee a socially conscious and carbon-negative coffee company.

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