Third Wave Hits New Zealand

June 15, 2011

Yesterday coffee was a commodity in a foil bag on the grocery store shelf. It came from somewhere far away, but no one really cared about where. You took it home and put the grounds in your percolator, and in a few minutes the aroma filled the air and you poured a brown beverage into your cup, adding sugar and creamer. A simple thing, really. This has changed for many of us as the coffee’s third wave rolled over us and took us to a whole new paradigm of coffee. This wave has hit New Zealand in the last few years, beginning in 2005. Matt Holden reported this week on the awakening of New Zealanders to the world of third wave coffee, or what he calls “a new awareness of coffee’s origin”. In 2005 a New Zealand roaster began roasting his café’s own beans, and three years later, another coffee lover from down under spent some time in London and returned excited about specialty coffee. She began importing the green beans and roasting them. Holden goes on to describe other important aspects of the third wave: - To know the coffee variety, control the quality and be able to trace the coffee’s origins. - To know the seasons and where different coffees originate and are produced. - Developing relationships with the coffee farmers. - Farmers have one fundamental goal: to produce great coffee. - Growth in popularity of alternative brewing methods such as pour-over and the siphon. You know the third wave has hit when you’re waitperson announces the “single origin of the week”, or the barista starts using pour-over processes to brew your coffee. The roaster may comment that he’s trying a lighter roast on some of the beans to see how the flavor varies. All of these reflect on the greater amount of intent and interest there is in coffee. As Holden concludes, "…. there's way too much commodity in the world. And the closer you can get to origin, the further you get from commodity." And the further up on the third wave you’re riding! Speaking of pour-over, below are three coffees that brew extremely well as pour-over.



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