Hey coffee, what’s your story? I see you: brewing your sweet self on Christmas morn with a picture perfect family standing around a good ole’ tin can, in the famous green and white cup that exudes luxury, or even in a double shot espresso at the hipster hub. You’ve changed a lot over the years old friend.
All of these illustrations play an important role in demonstrating the evolution of coffee from yesteryear to the present day. We would like to provide you a little background info about where coffee has been, where its going, and show you where we fit into the mix.
Foolish Things Coffee Company strives to be a catalyst helping introduce Third Wave coffee to Green Country. “Come again?” you say. “What is Third Wave coffee?” Well, friend, in order to understand Third Wave, we need to begin with the famous Folgers tin can: a prime example of First Wave coffee.
First Wave was ultimately about consumption and allowing everyone the chance to drink black gold. It really moved full steam ahead after WWII ended. The coffee that consumers drank was fairly one-dimensional. Advertising, as opposed to quality, drove preference. This helped to establish coffee in the consumer’s mind as a commodity rather than an art form. In retrospect, this type of introduction was probably the best thing that could have happened to the coffee industry. Had it not been for the First Wave, coffee might never have become as accessible to Americans as it is today.
One of the words that best describes first wave is consistency. Your black cup of first wave coffee will taste like just that: black coffee. What is missing is complexity. There aren’t many tasting notes that can be found on the back of this tin can. While some may perceive this as a negative, we are unfamiliar with any industry that didn’t start from humble beginnings. Cue customization.
“Oh, are y’all referring to Second Wave?” Why yes we are! While most people dance around the subject, we will come right out and say it: Starbucks is the Mac Daddy of Second Wave coffee. They pioneered customization. There are no limitations on how your coffee concoction tastes or how long the name is. Second wave is more about personal enjoyment than producing a homogenous flavor for the masses. However, it was still lacking in its ability to exhibit the nuances of coffee in its own right. Cue the Third Wave.
We finally arrive at Third Wave. Our favorite “C” word for third wave coffee is craftsmanship; we promise it is fitting! It involves improvements on all aspects of the coffee process: growing, roasting, brewing, and serving. One of the most important features of Third Wave is allowing the coffee to speak for itself. There is no need for syrup companionship. Instead, the coffee bean’s most valued asset is the terroir. Now, you might be asking, “Why are you going all French-and-wine-o on me?” Our response is that coffee growers and roasters realize that coffee will taste different from year to year—like wine—based on the weather, the growing region, and the varietal.
Why is this a good thing? Here’s why: This is a movement towards great coffee, a movement that values the inherent characteristics of each coffee rather than what can be added to it. In sum, we—like the majority of Third Wave coffee businesses—are trying to get out of the way so that the coffee can taste like it should. Because of this obsession with complexity, Third Wave coffee companies are also obsessive about traceability of the beans from seed to cup as well as paying a premium price to producers who give us this sweet nectar.
While we could probably write a book on our love affair with the Third Wave approach to coffee; the purpose of this post is to give you a basic understanding of where coffee has come from and where we’re going. We at Foolish Things not only love drinking coffee, but experiencing it as well. From analyzing flavor profiles, to experimenting with brew methods, coffee is a culinary art form that we are stoked to be a part of. The most exciting part to us, though, is being able to share this passion with Tulsa. You may not know the first thing about specialty coffee, and we think that is great, because it will give us a chance to show you a side of coffee you may not have ever experienced before.
If you are interested in learning more about what is going on in the coffee world, check out a few of our friends: