Sunday 21 July 2024
  • La Cimbali

US – Third wave coffee puts beans over buzz

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UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO, San Francisco, CA – For many years coffee has been considered more like cheap beer than fine wine, something you drink for its effects rather than how it actually tastes.

Now however, a new type of coffee is beginning to gain popularity among those looking for more than a caffeine fix.

Third wave coffee is coffee that focuses more on things like the beans and how they’re roasted, as well as other factors that enrich the flavor rather than the buzz it gives you.

The second wave of coffee consists of places like Peet’s or Starbucks while the first was non-chain shops. Some coffee drinkers have turned away from these types of places however, opting for higher quality over a lower price.

Colin Gallagher, a bartender at Bar Agricole, a bar and restaurant in SoMa that serves third wave coffee, says that the difference in quality between third wave and other types of coffee is extremely apparent, “It’s not mass produced, most of it is grown organically. It’s as organic as you can get. They have specific people that go, they’re called green buyers.

They go down to different countries in Africa, South America, Central America and basically visit all these coffee farms and find who has the best production, who makes the best coffee, stuff you really wouldn’t see if we just had Starbucks and Peets.”

According to Gallagher, knowing where your coffee comes from is one of the biggest advantages of third wave coffee and something that you just don’t find at larger chains, “I don’t know where they’re getting their coffees, it’s sort of just a blend of mass production things.

[Third wave coffee is] also that you’re supporting these really tiny farmers. It’s coffee that you would never get a chance to try with huge these corporate machines that aren’t focusing on smaller producers.”

One of the main differences between third wave and other types of coffee is the price point. While it depends on the place you decide to go to, a cup of third wave coffee will probably cost a bit more than your average cup of joe. Gallagher says that while the price will range anywhere from two to five dollars for a cup, the average is usually around 3.50.

Third wave coffee may cost more but Gallagher believes the quality of the product warrants the increase.

“It’s really not that much more for the quality you get. Some people just want a cup of coffee, throw the cream and sugar in there and call it a day and certain cafes adhere to that. We made a bunch of coffee and here it is, it’s cheaper.

But if you want the whole spiel, if you want to nerd out on it, if you want to know where it’s from, if you want to know the producers, if you want to know about everything then it’s a little more expensive but only like a few dollars more.”

While some people may be driven away by the higher cost, Gallagher feels that the number of people who really care about their coffee is going up, increasing the amount of customers they have as well.

“There’s more access now because there’s a few different coffee roasters in the city that are doing nicer things, that are focusing more on small farms and small production,” Gallagher said. “Yeah, I’d say there’s more people drinking it, there’s more people appreciating the smaller craft and the craft of roasting these really nice coffees.”

Niko Escudero, a sophomore media studies major at University of San Francisco says that he has also seen an increase in the number of customers at the third wave shops he frequents, and that this has also been accompanied by a diversification of the customers themselves.

“I’ve been going to Four Barrel since I was a freshman and it seemed like there was a very particular crowd there the first time, a lot of the hipper San Franciscans, and now it just seems like anyone will go in there for a cup of coffee and spend time in there. Families will be in there, young high school kids will be getting their lattes and stuff, whereas before it would have been almost intimidating to go in there.”

These types of shops are definitely not for everyone. If a quick jolt in the morning is all you’re really looking for then you probably won’t find yourself in a third wave coffee shop very often, but for those who value the taste of what they’re drinking above all else there is no better place to go.


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