Waves of the Coffee Industry - Industry Jargon - Motif Roasters

Waves of the Coffee Industry - Industry Jargon

We often hear about the coffee "waves" in today's coffee marketing and education. What are these coffee culture waves, and how is each wave transforming the culture of the coffee experience? There is a lot to coffee history and our cuture before the first wave, and anyone intersted in coffee I recomend learning more about its story and how it is impacted our world. Though when we talk about the waves, it starts with the birth coffee as a mass marketed segment

First Wave: Coffee for the Masses (Late 1800s- Mid 1900s)

Coffee Coffee

The first wave of coffee culture was all about accessibility combined with convenience and marketing. It began in the late 19th century and continued into the 20th century. That was the beginning of instant coffee and a significant commercial coffee era with brands like Folgers (The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup,) and Maxwell House (Good to the last drop) in the United States. Coffee became a common item used and found in every kitchen during this time. This huge scale produced and distributed, making this sort of coffee an integral part of day-to-day across the millions.

Events that shaped this wave:

  • The instant coffee that comes to market
  • Peet's CoffeCoffee being produced and distributed at scale
  • Big or large brands of coffee emerge

Maxwell House CoffeeSecond Wave: The Espresso and Coffeehouse Boom (1970s-2000s)

The second wave is when coffee started to establish a cultural foothold. Led by brands such as Starbucks, and Seattle's Best, this wave brought with it the ability to order espresso-based drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos for the masses. They would be converted to social centers, alive with people congregating for community, conversation, and a simply better coffee experience. That made coffee enjoyable with care in making good coffee and the reference of the bean from origin.

Events that shaped this wave:

  • The rise of espresso and specialty drinks
  • The birth or rebirth of the coffeehouse
  • References to the origin and species of coffee beans

The Third Wave: Artisan Coffee and the Experience of Coffee (2000s through Present)

Artisanal coffee shops and micro-roasters like Motif Roasters emphasize single-origin beans, direct trade, and the craft of brewing coffee. Waves of this movement develop quality and sustainability concerns, with training parallel to sommeliers in wine. Coffee is not merely a cup of drink but more than that—an expression of experience, self, and even a bridge between cultures.

Events that shaped this wave:

  • Artisanal brewing using methods beyond drip, like pour-over and cold brew methods
  • More focus on origin sourcing via fair trade and sustainable means
  • A new wave of tasting and appreciation similar to the concept of wine tasting

The waves of coffee culture have stood as a representation of the modern change in this popular brew. From an ordinary morning routine to a routine with intent and expanded experience. One thing is for sure as we continue to experience wave after wave: our love affair with coffee has only grown.

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