Third Wave Coffee
The First Wave of coffee was the initial spread of coffee to the consumer, in the 1960s. The coffee was simply consumed for its caffeine, and not necessarily enjoyed. Towards the 1990s the Second Wave of coffee took place, with the wide spread of espresso machines, and the transition from Robusta towards the Arabica species, and productions of better quality coffee. The drink has been modified with milk, sugar and flavours, making it a hot beverage to sip and enjoy a conversation over.
Currently we are experiencing a Third Wave in the field of coffee, which is about enjoying the coffee for what it is. Coffee, just like wine, is a crop that starts with farming. In the wine industry you will typically see on the label at least the country of origin, winery name, and the vintage year. The Third Wave barista should be able to communicate to the coffee consumer the different characteristics of the beans, including basic information such as: the country of origin, the actual estate it comes from, the altitude of the farm, the roasting degree, the date of roasting. At Canada Coffee we are transitioning from the Second to the Third Wave coffee movement.
Darker roasts overwhelm the subtle flavour differences among varietals, making them taste more uniform. With that in mind, Third Wave Coffee roasters often roast only until just after the First Crack, to bring out and accentuate the unique, intrinsic fundamental flavours of the coffee plant varietal, and not roast away the fine nuances of a premium-grade bean.
The Coffee Plant Variety
There are 25 major species within the Coffea genus (the coffee plant). Although indigenous to the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, coffee plants are now cultivated in more than 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions, as they grow in tropical and sub-tropical regions. They range in size from small shrubs to trees. The coffee plants produce white flowers and red berries (cherries) that contain seeds. These seeds are the "beans" from which the coffee beverage is made. Of the 25 species, only 2 are commercialized: Robusta (canephora) and Arabica.
The beans are round, smaller, with a bubble dome and a straight crease. Robusta trees yield more coffee beans and are more disease resistant. They produce coffee 40%-50% higher in caffeine, more more bitter and with more body. Robusta accounts for almost 40% of commercial coffee production.
The beans are oval, about 1 cm length, with a flatter dome and an irregular crease. The most known varieties are Typica and Bourbon, with numerous sub-varieties. Arabica accounts for more than 60% of worldwide production. When handled well, Arabica beans produce complex and elegant quality coffee, therefore at Canada Coffee we only use the Arabica varietal.
Vital to the beans journey to your cup is: origin, process, roast profile, and the brew method.
The Coffee Origin
Knowing the origin of the coffee beans helps assessing its characteristics. The country, region, and cultivation altitude play an important role in the crop. Coffee grows in about 75 sunny countries situated in the equatorial belt, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Most notable countries producing coffee are: Ethiopia, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Yemen, Indonesia, Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Hawaii, and Mexico.
Low elevation coffee plantations are easier and more efficient to farm, suited for mass production, but beans can over-ripen if they receive too much moisture. Robusta is mostly grown in Southeast Asia and West Africa. Robusta grows in lower elevations, from sea level to 700m, prefers higher temperatures (24C–30C), and more rainfall. Arabica is mostly grown in South and Central America and in Central and East Africa. Arabica grows best in shade (15C-24C), at higher elevations of 1000m-2000m.
Processing the Coffee Harvest
Five years after planting, the coffee berries ripen from green to red and they are harvested, mostly by hand, but in some places by machine. At this point the cherries are processed so that their outer layers are separated from the inner coffee seed ("beans"). There are three major types of processing the harvested coffee cherry: natural dry, semi-washed and washed.
The Natural or dry-processed produces bold, heavier, sweet and smooth coffees.
The semi-washed (or pulp-natural) produces a fruitier, yet heavier-body type of coffee.
The washed or wet-processed produces cleaner, milder, and brighter coffees.
The Processing step is followed by Milling, which helps remove any remaining fruit or parchment, leaving only the green beans ready to ship to the roaster. When stored properly in a cool, dry place, green coffee does not drop in quality from about 6 months up to 1 year until roasting.
Once the green coffee beans have arrived at the roasting facility, they have to be properly roasted, packaged, and labeled. Before entering production, the roaster first tests several sample batches to fine-tune the desired roasting profile. Roasting green coffee transforms starches into sugars, lowers acidity and develops its aromatic oils. Thru Cupping the roaster evaluates the beans by various categories, such as sight, smell and taste. A balanced coffee incorporates harmoniously the elements of Flavour, Acidity, Body and Aftertaste, and although it may be complex, does not have any overwhelming characteristics.
The sense of weight, thickness, heaviness or richness, associated with the texture or the weight in the mouth. Sensations: light, crisp, thin, medium, full, rich, strong, syrupy.
The sensation of pleasant brightness, sharpness, vigorous, tartness, tangy, but never sour or bitter. It contributes to a coffee's liveliness, sweetness, fruity and floral character. Range: intense or mild, round or edgy, elegant or wild.
The intensity, quality and complexity of the coffee when slurped into the mouth vigorously, so as to involve the entire palate.
The smell produced by hot, freshly brewed coffee.
The intensity of sugariness present when swooshing the coffee in the mouth (never sour or astringent).
The intensity and the length of the positive flavour after the coffee has been tasted and spit out. May be quick or lingering; dry, light, crisp, or sweet and heavy.
Although the outside surface of the coffee bean can appear sufficiently dark in colour, it is not a direct indication of the roast degree in depth. The development of delicious flavours is achieved by precisely roasting the inside of the bean. A too light interior colour denotes an underdeveloped roast and results in undesirable savoury flavours (grass, stem, peanut shell, corn, wheat).
When adding the green beans to the preheated roasting drum, coffee starts to develop sugars while drying. Water is evaporating and the beans turn yellow-brown. Light roasts end at 180C-190C, and typically have a light body with fruity and earthy aromas. The coffee tends to be more acidic, as the oils didn't break through to the surface.
Further roasting causes vapors and pressure to crack thru the bean. This stage is known as the First Crack (205C), when the sugars begin to caramelize and the native acids have fully developed. The roaster is now balancing the bright cleanliness of acidity with the round, sugary sweetness. Aroma and body increases throughout this stage. Medium roasts tend to have a medium brown color, with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface.
During the last stage of roasting a.k.a. the Second Crack (225C), carbon dioxide forms and the sugars have been caramelized to a crisp. The bean loses 15% of its weight due to pyrolysis. The coffee reaches its lowest acidity and full body. The bean is now exhibiting a rich, dark color, and oily surface. Aromas are nutty and caramelly, with a slight bittersweet aftertaste.
Beyond this stage (240C) the beans are burnt black due to too much caramelization. The acidity is almost fully gone in dryer beans, oils develop on the surface, and the bean looks very shiny and black. Very dark coffee roasts lose their origin flavors and caffeine levels. The coffee aromas are spicy, smoky, and bitter or burnt, with a lighter body.
Roast Names: Half City, Cinnamon, New England
Stage: before First Crack (185C - 200C)
Bean Surface: Dry
Acidity: Very High to High
Aroma: Medium to Strong
Body: Thin to Full
Usage: Inexpensive Commercial Blends
Roast Names: American, City, Breakfast
Stage: during First Crack (205C - 220C)
Bean Surface: Dry
Aroma: Very Strong
Sweetness: Medium to Strong
Usage: Popular in the U.S.
Stage: during the Second Crack (225C - 245C)
Roast Names: Full City, Continental, Vienna, French, Italian
Bean Surface: Shiny Surface
Acidity: Low to Very Low
Aroma: Medium to Weak
Sweetness: Medium to Very Low
Body: Full to Thin
Usage: Specialty Roasters
Espresso is the soul of the coffee, and knowing the roast is an essential part of the coffee experience. The Italian term "barista" refers to a professional specialized in preparing coffee and espresso-based beverages that demonstrate craftsmanship and quality, creating a culinary experience for the customer. A Third Wave barista not only performs a fast and consistent service, but is a student of the bean, a coffee ambassador. At Canada Coffee we work with experienced baristas that understand the complexity of coffee and its needs. To be a great barista there is a lot of theoretical and practical experience needed. If you are a barista or know a barista, join our team.
The process of extracting the coffee essence from the coffee beans depends on many factors, such as product freshness, humidity, the grinding process, the extraction time and the time it waits until the coffee is ingested or mixed with other ingredients. Every single one of these are extremely important to produce a high quality espresso shot.
Cold brewed coffee
When the hot water does not touch the coffee beans, all acids and oils are preserved. It's a longer extraction process but it respects the natural flavor of the product. The cold brewed coffee is therefore sweeter and less bitter.
In order for the final drink to be excellent, the milk has to meet several quality standards. For example the beginning temperature of the milk and pitcher, the appropriate technique to obtain a velvety microfoam texture, the ideal temperature for the final product.