Wes Russell - WOW... than you have not been in many discussion on this topic on the bX and are totally out of touch with coffee culture... sorry to say.
How many times have we heard it said that one of the reason why Starbucks sucks is that it drowns the coffee with milk and sugar so you cant taste the bean anymore? How many times have we heard it said that the classic espresso bar is the best way to go so that we can allow the flavor of the bean to shine through? In other words, those places that have a broader menu with lots of sig drinks (Starbucks) are not at good. Are these not anti-sig drink statements?
Why do SO coffee education if SO coffee is not the star of the show at the coffeehouse? Why would be baristas have to play the all important role of the gateway into the world of SO coffee if this was not the main menu option?
How many times have we heard it said that coffeehouses that do cultural events must also do bad coffee? "Strip away the poetry, bad music, and pseudo-intellectual banter, and all you have is lousy coffee. And if you don't care about what you serve the customer, you're just stealing their money with a polite smile. [/RANT]" - John P
Barista Championship? These have little at all to do with the 3rd-wave. These were around long before there as a 3rd-wave and most often have nothing or little at all to do with SO coffee!!!!!!!! Of course 3rd-wave barista compete, but that does not make the event a 3rd-wave event? Only baristas that also do SO coffee at barista championships are 3rd-wave bariatas... all others are just espresso bar baristas.
LONG BEFORE THERE WAS A 3RD-WAVE THERE WAS THE SPECIALTY COFFEE INDUSTRY AND BARISTA CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!
The only uniquely 3rd-wave contribution to the world of coffee is the SO-espresso... before the 3rd-wave we had everything else that people now try and claim as being 3rd-wave.
A place can be a great espresso bar, with award winning baristas and not be 3rd-wave.
A place can serve really great SO non-espresso brewed coffee and not be 3rd-wave.
Its only when you mix the two via the SO-espresso bar that you have 3rd-wave.
The article pointed to at the start of this post does a great job defining it, but does leaves out a number of other hallmarks. You should read it if you want to understand the 3rd-wave and what this post is all about.
Please do some coffee history before making statements about the 3rd-wave and stop confusing it with things are are not unique to the movement.
Sorry for coming off strong, but really the term "3rd-wave" does not mean whatever we want it to... it has a historic meaning and can be defined... and many people on the bX are actually 3rd-wave and care greatly about SO-espresso and the barista as the SO-espresso artist.
Chris - "specialty coffee" is a term used to discribe Single Origin coffee not dark roasted, where the flavor of the bean shines through. Offering espresso bar drinks and/or loads of sig drinks does not quality a place as being 3rd-wave.
Starbucks is a second wave "specialty coffee" shop and can not be called 3rd-wave. The reason, although they offer espresso and SO coffee, they do not offer SO-espresso and the focus is NOT on the skill of the baristas (if you can call them that).
dude... I am all for "specialty coffee" roasted in a great way, brewed in a great way, and served in a great way. I am not however for the 3rd-wave movement.
read this for education: The 3rd-wave
"The second wave is the introduction of espresso beverages to the world, as well as the elevation of overall coffee quality, abandoning all-robusta coffee in favor of the arabica species. Starbucks, the initial Juan Valdez Colombian coffee campaign, and the sudden ubiquity of espresso machines all over the continent are all part of this second wave."
"So what of this 'Third Wave?' In an admittedly esoteric way, I usually refer to the 'Third Wave' as letting the coffee speak for itself. During the first two waves, we appreciated coffee for what it gives us: caffeine, a hot beverage to sip and enjoy a conversation over, a drink to modify with sweetener, dairy (or non-dairy) creamers, syrups, whipped cream, etc. The Third Wave is about enjoying coffee for what it is."
"Seriously though, while in years past, a 'barista' was someone who merely operated an espresso machine, a Third Wave barista is a student of the bean. A Third Wave barista doesn't merely focus on "How can I hurry and make these drinks for these customers as quickly as possible." It's about coaxing everything that's good from of your espresso blend, taking as much energy and effort and time as necessary... and serving THAT to your customers. A Third Wave barista is a coffee ambassador."
Wes Russell said:"There seems to be this strange assumption that the only good coffee shop is one that does only ONE thing right, SO coffee. "
Kayakman, You are the only person I've seen make this assumption. My experience is that every Third Wave shop does a blend as their main espresso and some offer a SO espresso as a secondary option. Can you name this SO only shop? I can't think of a single shop that only serves a SO espresso as their main offering.
Additionally, you are the only person I've heard suggest that offering a sig drink is not third wave. Where did you get this from? Have you every been to a barista championship?
I think of the Barista championships as being Third Wave and that the sig drink part of the presentation is the highlight.
Has anyone in this thread read Ukers cover to cover? Or Pendergrast's book for the short version of coffee history?
I agree with the idea that certain parts of the Specialty coffee industry suffer from chronocentrism. Most "3rd wave" discussions contain gross chronocentrisms. Its a nice by-product of our short life spans and American culture.
There are things happening in the coffee industry that have happened before which will happen again. When you strip away all the terms and buzzwords, it's still just the big wide world of coffee.
An old colleague of mine observed the "direct trade" phenomenon as "just another name for something that's been going on for 400 years." In other words, coffee buyers going down to origin and working with growers to develop consistent supply and quality at a mutually agreeable price is nothing new. Baristi in Italy have been arguing for generations about how to pull the perfect shot, just not not on the internet. Just because coffee used to be ground and packed with dried egg whites to help clarify the brew doesn't mean that the industry wasn't constantly striving to improve their production methods.
Take a longer view, learn about the history and scope of your profession, and figure out your place in it. Forget about waves and become a movement of one.