The concept of a café or coffee shop is not a new one. Cafés have always been more than just a place for drinking coffee, throughout history they have been social meeting points for people to meet and catch up on recent events, read the news, and socialise with the community. Coffee has long been a drink of choice in the middle east, and in the UK and Europe. The first coffee house in the UK sprung up in Oxford in 1652, and still exists today as a café-bar called The Grand Cafe. These coffee houses were very similar to what we now know today as a café.
Today's cafés can also referred to as espresso bars, due to the presence of an espresso machine; one that produces coffee direct from the machine to the cup. In recent years the term third wave coffee is something we hear more about, which refers to the current movement to produce high quality coffee, and considers coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, much like wine, rather than simply viewed as a commodity. With this information in mind, lets take a look at 3 examples of third wave cafés, that appreciates coffee as more than simply a bean to get a buzz from, and takes coffee more seriously than you may initially think.
Third wave coffee shops take coffee seriously. They seek to be aware of the entire process of 'seed-to-cup', which means being aware of where coffee comes from, and knowing exactly where they beans they used have been grown, the process used to harvest, and the treatment of the farmers growing and harvesting their beans. The third wave of coffee enthusiasts prefer direct-trade as opposed to fair-trade, that is, sourcing the beans directly from the farmer to ensure fair treatment.
Here Café is a coffee shop committed to providing quality coffee, in a unique and relaxed environment. Located in Berkhamsted, a region typically known for its castles and forts, the town can now lay claim to its very own third wave coffee shop. Many third wave cafés take the fitting and décor as seriously as the coffee, and Here is no different. An inviting retro theme was chosen, to create a space encouraging patrons to stay a little longer.
Monkafe is a coffee shop, which also sells roasted coffee beans, teas, chocolates, spreads, cookies, as well as coffee machines and other related items. Located in Inca, a small town on the Spanish island of Majorca, Monkafe doesn't like to take themselves too seriously, other than the quality products on offer. Similar to many small coffee establishments in the fact that they mix retail with hospitality, but varying greatly in its quirky design.
Opting for a stripped back look, painted brickwork and unfinished timber furnishings, and colourful lettering decorating the walls, you may think this come retail shop is similar to many others you may have visited. Look a little closer however, and you may notice the small decorations hanging from the wall; books and coffee cups hang as if the room has been turned on its head.
Third wave baristas, that is, the guy or girl behind the machine making your coffee, is also taking careful consideration not only for the beans, but with water and milk temperature, pressure, and extraction time, all in the name of good taste. A 'regular' cup of coffee does not exist in these cafés, as the brewing method, type of milk and amount of coffee means a myriad of coffee options.
Di Carlo Pan and Café is a calm and tranquil café in Torre del Mar, a popular seaside resort on the southern coast of Spain. Ample natural light floods into the café, allowing locals and tourists alike to enjoy their morning coffee in the warm Spanish sun. Next time you visit a café, be sure to speak to the barista about the origins of the coffee being used, and don't be afraid to order something new.