Even Bad Coffee Is Better Than No Coffee At All???
America’s favorite coffee trend may be coming to an end. The Third Wave of coffee has arrived and is taking the k-cup and single serve pods with it. The Third Wave aspires to the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, so that one may appreciate subtleties of flavor, varietal, and growing region – similar to other complex consumable plant-derived products such as wine, tea, and chocolate. Distinctive features of third wave coffee include direct trade coffee, high-quality beans, single-origin coffee, lighter roasts, and latte art.
It also includes revivals of alternative methods of preparation, such as the single pour-over and siphon or vacuum coffee.
The vacuum pot is available for purchase for home brewing by regular Joes; the glass orbs exude something of a science lab feel at coffee geek bars around the country, including Blue Bottle. The sealed off brewing process prevents aromas from escaping. On the taste side, think French Press without the chewy sediment.
However, with this Third Wave come some new trends particularly in the office.
Cold brew coffee isn’t just a pot of hot Joe poured over ice. This age-old brewing technique involves infusing cold or room temperature water with ground beans over 18 to 24 hours before straining and bottling. Only then is it served over ice.
The Nitro cold brew iced coffee is even available on tap. The cool, caffeinated drop proved a big hit over the U.S. summer of 2015 and is only expected to gain steam.
Nitrogen changes the mouth feel and taste of the coffee. A creamy flavor with hints of chocolate, the drink is usually ordered black, even by those who might typically add milk to their morning beverage of choice.
Major high-end chain and distributor Stumptown, based in Portland, Oregon, has been serving regular cold brew on tap since 2012, but started experimenting with Nitro for a coffee experience that would mimic the texture of beer in 2013.
The pour over coffee method reminds you of sitting in basic science as a kid in elementary school. All I could think about was… when do we get to mix the chemicals and blow something up. I was the kid who loved to “experiment” a little too much. Throw in a little of this and a little of that to see what happens. Manual coffee making revives the “experimenting” juices. How fine is the grind, what is the ratio of coffee to water, and at what temperature do we achieve the best results? It doesn’t take long to find the perfect process that yields the best brew for your unique taste.
I’m sure there’s a place for the k-cups in many offices, right next to the potato chips and chocolate bars, however in the Third Wave of office pantries we’re placing our responsibly sourced, locally roasted beans right next to the homemade trail mix and craveable raw energy bites. I can get bad coffee at the drive-thru, as for work, as a wise man once said: “the office runs on hard work, laughter, sharpies and a whole lot of coffee…. fair trade, single origin, locally roasted, innovative and great coffee that is.”
Chief Innovative Officer
Dartcor Food Services