Third-wave coffee is a term used to describe the current state of the specialty coffee industry. It is considered the third major wave of coffee consumption and culture, following the first wave of mass-produced coffee in the early 1900s and the second wave of specialty coffee in the 1980s and 90s.
Third-wave coffee is characterized by its focus on high-quality, specialty-grade coffee beans and a emphasis on the entire process of coffee production, from the grower to the barista. This includes a focus on direct trade relationships between coffee roasters and growers, a dedication to sustainability and ethical sourcing, and a commitment to brewing techniques that showcase the unique flavors and aromas of individual coffee beans.
Third-wave coffee is often contrasted with the first wave of mass-produced coffee, such as Folger's, which is often described as having a more generic, bitter taste and lacking the complex flavors and aromas found in specialty-grade coffee beans.
In terms of taste, whether third-wave coffee is better than Folger's is subjective and depends on personal taste preferences. Some people may prefer the smoother, sweeter taste of specialty coffee, while others may prefer the stronger, bolder flavor of mass-produced coffee.
However, third-wave coffee offers several benefits that go beyond taste. By focusing on direct trade relationships, sustainability, and ethical sourcing, third-wave coffee companies help to ensure that coffee growers are paid fair prices for their beans and are able to produce coffee in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Furthermore, by showcasing the unique flavors and aromas of individual coffee beans, third-wave coffee allows consumers to experience the diverse range of flavors that can be found in coffee and helps to raise awareness of the complex, fascinating world of coffee.
In conclusion, while the taste of third-wave coffee may not be to everyone's liking, it offers many benefits that go beyond taste and is an important part of the ongoing evolution of the coffee industry. Whether you prefer third-wave coffee or Folger's is a matter of personal preference, but it is always worth exploring different coffee options and trying new things to expand your coffee horizons.