Who are the best third wave coffee roasters? What methods do they use?

Who are the best third wave coffee roasters? What methods do they use?

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  1. There are so many that I am going to answer this not like the question was: “what are the best” but as if the question was: “what are the most popular”. If you are looking for “the best” you may very well find it in your locally owned shop around the corner… as many small roasters can roast a great tasting coffee.
    To answer your question, though, some of the most popular and nationally recognizable roasters in the North American Third Wave Coffee scene (in no specific order) are:

    Intelligentsia Coffee – http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/
    Counter Culture Coffee – http://counterculturecoffee.com/
    Stumptown Coffee – http://www.stumptowncoffee.com/
    PT’s Coffee – http://www.ptscoffee.com/
    Barismo – http://shop.barismo.com/coffee
    49th Parallel – http://www.49thparallelroasters.com/
    Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters – http://www.wreckingballcoffee.com/
    Klatch Coffee – http://www.klatchroasting.com/
    Ritual Roasters – http://www.ritualroasters.com/
    Gimme Coffee – http://www.gimmecoffee.com/
    Blue Bottle Coffee – http://www.bluebottlecoffee.net/

    Again, you may find a great locally owned shop that roasts as well as these and I would buy locally before I buy nationally. As an example, some of my favorite “Third Wave” roasters in the Louisville, KY area are:

    LaGrange Roasters – http://www.smellthesmoke.net/
    Sunergos Coffee – http://www.sunergoscoffee.com/
    Quills Coffee – http://www.quillscoffee.com/

    There is currently a new website which will have many “Third Wave” coffee shops on a google map so you can find a good one wherever you are (http://tehcoffee.com/). They will have also have reviews and ratings for each shop. Hopefully this will take off because it would make traveling away from our local coffee sources much easier!

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    Have you seen the $14 cup of coffee yet?
    The third wave of coffee. We come across this phrase all the time, in coffee shops or online. But what does it actually mean? How is it different to specialty coffee? And what’s this about the first, second, and fourth waves?
    Defining the third wave isn’t easy. You’ll hear different explanations everywhere you go – some of which even contradict each other! So we reached out to some industry professionals to ask how they define it. Here are their perspectives.
    I feel that the third wave is truly a way of appreciating a quality product. There are two key words here: “appreciating” and “quality”. It’s about the coffee we’re drinking and the way we think about it.
    Third wave coffee does not accept old traditional ways of growing coffee or making coffee. Third wave coffee is the result of everyone’s hard work.
    Have you seen the new one on the scene called EspressoLuv? Check it out at Small-Batch Coffee Roaster | Subscription, Beans | EspressoLuv . It’s a small-batch coffee roaster based in Burlington, Vermont. You can choose from a variety of globally sourced single origin, signature blends, and limited edition coffees from the Americas, Africa, and Asia-Pacific.
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  3. One of the criteria that was originally thrown around when people started using the term “Third Wave” was small batch roasting. Thus, relative to a lot of the mainstream coffee companies, using a Probat would be “small batch.”
    As for characteristics of a “good” third wave coffee roaster, that will differ from person to person.
    As for myself, I would define a good third wave roaster as one that sticks most closely to the criteria that set them apart originally from the second wave, while continuing to push for progress in overall coffee quality. I see this as being measured in three primary ways:
    1. ROASTING THEORY AND PRACTICE Their roasting is not defined primarily by popular demand, but by what they believe best compliments and brings out the natural notes from a bean’s particular country and region. So for instance, they don’t offer a “French Roast” or “Dark Roast” option because they think it will sell.
    2. COFFEE OFFERINGS They offer choice coffee lots that are specific to a particular farm or co-op. This means that they should have detailed information on their retail coffee bags informing the customer of where the coffee came from. So they wouldn’t simply use a country name or even a region name (Nicaragua), but have the name of the co-op or farm (Nicaragua Finca San Jose). These coffees can be considered single origin coffees meaning they don’t include multiple lots from all of the country thrown together. The roaster will also not offer a many blends with catchy marketing names (Rainforest Blend).
    3. SOURCING Because of their care for quality and desire to roast and offer the best coffees available, Third Wave Roasters are careful with how they source their coffee and where they source their coffee from. If they have the financial means they often make visits to the farms that they source from and develop relationships. This has often taken on the title of Direct Trade. Connected to the idea of direct trade is the betterment of coffee quality and the betterment of the farmer and community which produces that coffee.
    Hope that helps and let me know if that didn’t fully answer your question.


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