Coffee’s Fourth Wave?

A recent post from Serious Eats about this apparently unbelievable espresso machine heralding coffee’s fourth wave made me think of something; most people don’t even know that coffee is in its fourth wave.

Here’s a short rundown; coffee, in the mind of connoisseurs, has gone through four waves. These are movements, or consumer shifts, that spur massive change through the industry. It effects corporations, growers, businesses, customers, bloggers, and the list goes on. Here are the four waves and brief descriptions:

  • First wave – This was eons ago where Folgers, Maxwell House, or Nescafe made instant coffee an essential component of home kitchens and into ubiquity. This was the start of the nation’s dependence on java.
  • Second wave – We have Starbucks to thank for this. The second wave is where consumers started to look through the coffee prism and see espresso, cappuccino, lattes, etc. Suddenly, it wasn’t just a cup of joe. This was the start of our nation needing coffee at every second of the day served on every street corner.
  • Third wave – This wave is where growers, retailers, and customers were achieving a higher sense of possibility and uniqueness with coffee. Probably the most discussed of the coffee ‘waves’, the Third Wave had people thinking about origins of the beans, characteristics, differences, etc. This was the start of the nation being snobby about their coffee.
  • Fourth wave – Honestly I had no idea that we were even in our fourth wave, but apparently change in the world of coffee never stops. This was the start of the nation Googling ‘coffee third wave’ to learn about the fourth wave.

In the post on Serious Eats, the Fourth Wave is described as the technique and creativity of the barista to enhance the coffee experience. And one can kind of see this happening. Think about the kerfuffle a while back about the Clover machine. This was the espresso machine that was supposed to create as perfect a cup of coffee possible. So awesome that Starbucks bought the company, but only has these machines in a handful of their cafes. Now comes the Slayer (awesome name) a new $18K machine that is supposed to be a game-changer. Hence the fourth wave. I guess. It’s very interesting, but a bit presumptuous.

Honestly, I’m not as well versed on coffee as I could be, but this subject was too interesting to not share. So now if you ever find yourself in a conversation about third wave coffee you can throw your two cents in and elevate your clout by talking about the fourth wave. If there is even such a thing. I’m still getting a hang of the third wave.

Photo from Slayer Espresso
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The evolution of Spring Hill

My first stab at writing a restaurant ‘review’ was about West Seattle’s Spring Hill. Looking back on that post, it wasn’t one of my stronger posts and it didn’t do too well at talking about Spring Hill. Since then my voice and style has changed, so I’m going to take another stab about the place. This is because, over the course of the last year, Spring Hill has evolved and become an unbelievable restaurant that should be propped up with the other greats in Seattle. In short, they have become one of the best restaurants in town.

And it’s not just Spring Hill’s food. Which is unique, delicious, and a reflection of chef Mark Fuller’s vision and talent. If you’ve been paying attention (or are an obsessive food nerd like me) you’ll notice all of the cool stuff they’ve been up to. Which is why their status has vaulted in my mind. From trying out new things with their menus, to hosting great events, and surrounding themselves with unbelievable talent, Spring Hill has elevated their game and should be recognized for being aggressive with their business.

Here are three cool things about Spring Hill: