Express News Service
HYDERABAD: We’ve already jumped from a simple home-brewed filter coffee to Starbucks. What’s next? We’ve seen coffee trends come and go for centuries, but the last few decades have really been a period of growth and evolution for the global coffee industry — more commonly known as waves of coffee.
The first wave of coffee is seen as the lowest quality and is known as commodity coffee. Think of the ready-to-brew instant coffee brands that don’t have a strong focus on quality or sourcing transparency. The second wave is attributed to the rise of brands such as Café Coffee Day and Starbucks. The emphasis still wasn’t really on the coffee, but the creative drink, flavourful syrups, friendly barista and contemporary ambiance. This wave certainly added pizzazz and generated huge interest in coffee, but nothing much about the beans and its roasting style. That resulted in fairly dark and bitter coffee.
Fast forward to today, the third wave, in many ways, is a reaction. It is just as much a reply to bad coffee as it is a movement toward good coffee. An important feature of this wave is that of the Specialty Coffee which was a turning point in the coffee industry. The quality of the coffee became very important, and with it, a lot of other aspects such as the formation and professionalism of the barista, the traceability of the coffee beans, micro roasters and fair-trade coffee just to mention a few.
India’s potential as the seventh-largest coffee producer in the world has influenced the introduction of the third wave coffee culture into cafés across the country. New-age coffee chains like Blue Tokai, Third Wave and Curious Life have pioneered the third wave movement and many have sprung in the recent past. Bottega Artisan Coffee, Toops Coffee and Qaffeine are some of the popular cafes in Hyderabad, which are leading this new wave. Each of these believe they are doing something slightly different from other, trying to find a foothold in the city where coffee seems to be making a strong pitch for mug space.
Is a fourth wave on the cards already, you may ask? Well, after successfully taking words like flavour profile, terrier and tasting notes to coffee, the industry has set out to create more complex flavours through smoking, fermenting and ageing already. A fourth wave could perhaps be all about the science of coffee, accurate measurement in brewing, deep understanding of the properties of coffee, water chemistry and further development of brewing equipment.
We’ve come a long way from Robusta-chicory blends to Cappuccino to The Chemex; the coffee industry is just on the cusp of a new revolution and will only get stronger.
(Vishal Fernandes is a profound business traveller and a widely recognised luxury lifestyle blogger)
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