History of Artisan Coffee

First wave coffee:

First wave coffee was primarily focused on producing cheap, accessible, and consistent tasting cups of coffee.  This was a period in history when the consumer had no interest in the origin of their coffee beans nor different types of coffee (e.g. espresso).  The first wave of coffee started in the 1800s and lasted until 1966 when the second wave of coffee started. 

Second Wave Coffee:

The second wave of coffee was a direct reaction to the “bad coffee” of first wave coffee that paid little attention to the origin and how coffee was consumed.  Peet’s Coffee is credited with starting the second wave in 1966 when they placed a greater emphasis on sourcing the coffee beans' country of origin.  The second wave also brought about interest in the different coffee brewing styles, introducing the consumer to terms such as espresso, latte, and french press.  

Third wave coffee:

The third wave of coffee is characterized by an increased interest in the origin of the beans.  The third wave places a greater emphasis on transparency within the coffee industry so the consumer can trace their coffee from the farm it was grown on to their cup.  The third wave is often associated with the concept of speciality coffee which refers to either the grade of the beans or the quality of the coffee.  The third wave places an emphasis on single origin beans over blended 

Single Origin coffee vs blended coffee

  • Single origin
    • Single origin coffee beans are beans that come from only one place and are from a certain region or country
    • Single origin coffees can even  be harvested from same farm or estate given that they are sourced from one source or place only
    • Single origin coffees tend to only be available seasonally depending on the growing season of their source
  • Blend
    • A blend is when beans from multiple locations are mixed together 
  • Differences
    • 1) Price and availability single origin tends to be more expensive because it is seasonal, where as blended coffee can be produced year round 
    • 2) Taste Single origin coffee has one taste because produced from beans grown at the same location, blends are more flavorful because they are a mix of different beans


What is Artisan Coffee?

Artisan coffee refers to coffee brewed from single-origin coffee beans that were harvested and milled by growers and sold directly to roasters.  With the rise of the second and third waves of coffee, the consumer became more interested in the origin of their coffee.  As a result of this paradigm shift, a new coffee industry was born.  Artisan coffee is modeled after the wine industry, in that growers put a greater emphasis on the micro region, specific farm, altitude, soil composition, and species of coffee bean.  This has led to a major shift in the traditional, first wave model of the coffee industry.  Rather than selling to a middleman, artisan coffee growers mill and blend the coffee on their own and sell directly to the roaster.