Three Waves of our COFFEE CULTURE: Know your Coffee

Popular styles of coffee have changed drastically throughout the years. In western countries, the popularity of different types of coffee has been dictated largely by both technology and market trends.

The Gaggia machine was invented in 1938. It was the first modern steam-less coffee machine. The Gaggia allowed coffee makers to produce espresso with relative ease for the first time and soon spread across the western world, almost single-handedly popularizing espresso and espresso based drinks like cappuccino. The Gaggia machine revolutionized coffee drinking and are still available to buy today.

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Starbucks is the biggest coffee company in the world: founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971, the local coffee shop expanded rapidly throughout the ’90s and 2000s, opening an average of two locations every day between 1987 and 2007! Starbucks went from a local coffee shop to a global monolith with a winning combination of strong branding, good business practices, and consistent products.

Despite their huge spread of stores in different locations across the globe, a Starbucks coffee bought in any country is always expected to taste the same – a quality guarantee the brand is well-known for. A recent study commissioned by Couponbox showed that although the taste of the drinks is consistent in different locations, the price can sometimes vary drastically. Whilst a cappuccino in the Netherlands costs only $3.65, the same beverage can go for up to $6.06 in Bern, Switzerland.

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Starbucks employees go through rigorous training to make sure that the products they are serving are of a high standard. Baristas must go through a 30-hour training course with modules on customer service, espresso bar basics, and more. They must also sit a test at the end of their training and are assessed on whether they can make the perfect cappuccino, which is evaluated using an electric scale. Starbucks coffee comes in a distinctive dark roast variety.

Because of their massive dominance over the global market and the quality of their coffee, Starbucks ushered in what some call the second wave of coffee. This second was is emphasized by dark roast, high-caffeine beverages and has taken over from the older, simpler, Gaggio espresso styles.

In recent years, a new trend of local artisanal coffee shops has emerged which some are calling the third wave of coffee. This third wave in some way resembles the craft beer movement, and the production is sometimes called “micro-roasting.” This is because it is not centered around a single, standardized way of roasting but rather many different styles unique to different places.

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Third wave coffee generally features lighter roasts than the second wave style offered by Starbucks, but styles can differ massively between locations – so consumers can’t be sure about the quality of drink that they are ordering. However, there is a lot to be said about the creativeness and artisanal quality of this new wave of coffee. Oftentimes, consumers can trace the origin of their coffee from the roast all the way back to the original farm where the beans were grown.

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