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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Third Wave Successes and the Sketchiness of the Random Espresso

Posted By on Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Blue Bottle's Oakland coffee roasting facility. - NIALLKENNEDY/FLICKR
  • niallkennedy/Flickr
  • Blue Bottle's Oakland coffee roasting facility.
Our favorite morsels from the blogs.

Bay Area Bites' Denise Santoro Lincoln French-pressed a primer last week to Third Wave coffee in the Bay Area. Sure, you know that Ritual, Four Barrel, Blue Bottle, and Sightglass are the third wave of something, but ― quick ― can you name pinpoint waves one and two? (Actually, First Wave coffee has always sounded a bit revisionist bogus to me, but there you go). Lincoln:

You can still enjoy those rich dark roasts provided by Caffé Trieste and Peet's today, the Bay Area is once again at the forefront of coffee roasting in the U.S., this time to a new generation of roasters who are myopically focused on finding the finest single-origin coffees, paying a more than fair price for the beans, and then roasting them for their own unique qualities. These roasts are often lighter than what you'd find elsewhere, the philosophy being that roasting for each bean's unique flavors reveals the innate natural essence inside them.
Nicely succinct.

For something with the big-pixel detail of the obsessive, turn to Greg Sherwin's local blog

Fresh off a month in South Africa, Sherwin exhaustively catalogs espresso offerings in Cape Town. Of glancing interest, maybe, unless you're planning a trip. But Sherwin offers a travelog that unravels to reveal a critique of the place he lives:

Speaking of coffee, like Italy or Australia or New Zealand, the baseline quality standards in South Africa are clearly better than in the U.S. You can walk into just about any random store and trust that you'll get a rather acceptable espresso, whereas this practice is still ill-advised even in San Francisco.
Does that mean San Francisco is primed for Fourth Wave coffee ― the perfecting of the corner-grocery espresso?

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