With all its talk of sustainable this and single-origin that, third-wave coffee can be an intimidating world to enter. But here’s all you need to know: The best “third-wave” roasters approach their craft with an attention to detail and eye for innovation that’s leaving their more mainstream competitors in the dust. Remember how you used to happily throw back bottle after bottle of Yuengling, before many thousands of craft breweries came along and made it the kind of beer you’d only drink in a pinch? Well, for the growing masses of discerning coffee drinkers, the same thing is happening to places like Starbucks. From bigger names like Blue Bottle and Stumptown to ones you may not have even heard of like Lofted and Thou Mayest, perk up with these almost-wholly independently owned coffee roasters responsibly producing some of the best java in the nation.
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