What's specialty coffee and the third wave?
AUTHOR: Coffee Geek, 94 celcius
What is the third wave or specialty coffee? It is above all a way of doing things that highlights the region, the terroir, the producer, the cultivar(s) and the expertise of each and every one throughout this great process. It is to give the grain all that we can offer to help it express itself fully. It also means having a tasting lexicon and having major events all over the world. It is to give and give back to the coffee its notes of nobility! It all starts with the producer, the farmer. The very basis of good coffee will depend on many factors including the region, altitude, terroir, cultivar, and the processing process. Every little detail counts and will ensure that the roaster can develop a very complete aromatic palette, to our great pleasure. The roaster’s job is to, you guessed it, roast the coffee. The purpose of this complex work is to transform the grain, which is still green, into a grain that will be "cooked" in order to be able to consume it. This is where the expertise of the roaster comes into play. Depending on each type of coffee, there will be a suitable roast for it to bring out the desired notes. Take for example a Kenyan coffee. Generally, this region brings fruity notes with a rich, tangy and syrupy body. It will therefore take the right temperature and time curve to be able to extract these characteristics. The roaster will perform several tests with different variables before finding the perfect compromise between fruity and sweet and between acidity and bitterness. In the past, we were used to over-roasted coffees with slightly smoky aromas and flavors, bitter and not too complex. What a dark roast! Coffee will be dull and lifeless if it has been roasted too much and obviously will be unidirectional in its taste perception. Conversely, a paler coffee will be opened with nuances and a frank and balanced complexity. You will quickly get a taste for this complexity; where the aromatic layers overlap and reveal different flavors throughout the tasting.