Waves of Coffee Explained

You’ve heard the phrase “waves of coffee” before, but what exactly are they? Essentially, each wave represents the evolution of coffee and cafe culture that has lead us to where we are now: The Fourth Wave. ?

First Wave: Coffee as a Commodity


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Back up a few decades, and you’ll find that coffee was more of a necessity than an indulgence. Brands like Folgers and Maxwell House focused on convenience and mass production, making a cup of coffee an essential part of the average person’s morning routine.


Second Wave: Cafe Culture

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There’s no doubt that the Seattle coffee scene helped ignite cafe culture. Coffee shops began to pop up on every corner introducing drinks like the cappuccino and the latte. Coffee wasn’t just a product, it became an experience.

Third Wave: Specialty Coffee

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After the second wave, cafes were everywhere. So in order to differentiate themselves, coffee roasters turned focus to flavor nuances and roasting techniques. Sourcing from single origin and organic farms became more and more popular, and struck a chord with coffee intellectuals.

Fourth Wave: Cold and Mobile


“The 4th wave of coffee is cold, mobile and authentic,” said Todd Carmichael.

Today’s culture is always on the move and often times people don’t have time to sit down at a cafe and order their favorite specialty drink. Couple that with the fact that the US cold brew sub-segment grew 580% from 2011-16, according to Mintel, the 4th wave is here and it’s shaking up the coffee industry.

Innovation continues to expand the cold brew portfolio at retail, which is seeing new flavors, dairy and non-dairy milk additions, and even functionalities and cross over products.

Whether it’s Pure Black or Draft Latte, we put the cafe experience in a can. Because everyone deserves cafe quality coffee, anywhere.

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