The Three Waves Of Coffee, Know The History Of This Drink That Connects Continents

Coffee has a very interesting history that goes back hundreds of years. This story is divided into stages or as it is now called “waves”.

These so-called waves are mainly based on the historical context, the treatment of the product and the behaviour of the person who consumes it, marking key moments in the history of the grain.

Colombia is one of the largest coffee producers in the world, and our consumption is very low compared to Nordic countries such as Finland where they consume between 13 and 14 kilos per inhabitant. The waves help us better understand the history and future of this famous grain.

First Wave Of Coffee

It took place when the coffee arrived from the Middle East to Europe in the 17th century. Prior to this, there were no great ways to prepare coffee, it was simply taken alone, and in very few cases, the famous Turkish coffee (fine ground and very concentrated) was prepared. Upon arriving in Europe and on the initiative of the Italians began to serve with some species and also with milk, giving rise to the “cappuccino”.

This wave was strengthened with its arrival in the United States. Their large companies innovated in packaging and distribution, trying to position coffee in the largest number of homes.

Second Wave Of Coffee

Once the coffee reaches industrial production levels, it is known as the second wave and is generally attributed to the multinational Starbucks. During the ’80s and 90’s the company had an important expansion offering a pleasant atmosphere, coffee of origin and the ability to sell it individually and personalized. This moment was key since coffee was usually taken in homes or offices and not in social environments.

Third Wave Of Coffee

For many, Starbucks is one of the main responsible for the 3rd wave of coffee through the personalization and consumption of the drink in places other than home and office.

Today the focus is on the grain as such. Origin, taste and preparation methods are characteristic of the third wave. The diversity of styles to prepare it has had a very positive effect for coffee growers around the world, since the more specialized the methods, the grains and the process become more relevant. The sowing, cultivation and distribution of coffee are no longer only in the hands of large companies, now entrepreneurs and amateurs are able to get the beans that best suit their style, which resulted in an explosion of specialized coffee shops.

There is already talking of the fourth wave of coffee, which puts its eyes on coffee beans beyond its preparation. However, these aspects are already being considered in the third wave. Others, on the contrary, affirm that what is coming for coffee will be related to the communication about the benefits that it has in terms of the well-being and treatment of diseases. Finally, there are those who consider that what comes next is to offer coffee drinks with alcohol and cold cocktails.

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