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” coffee 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, these mostly independently owned coffee roasters are responsible for producing some of the best java in the nation.
1. Blue Bottle
Named for Central Europe’s first-ever coffee house opened by Franz George Kolshitsky in the late 1600s, Blue Bottle Coffee began in the early 2000s at the hands of James Freeman, a freelance musician who vowed to bring the people of Oakland fresh and responsibly sourced coffee beans served within 48 hours of roasting.
With locations in Oakland, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo, today’s Blue Bottle focuses on single-origin beans, new varieties of which are introduced three to five times per month, and each batch is scientifically screened for its “peak flavor range” (basically, by staff repeatedly tasting each batch during a series of “cuppings”), so grinds and whole beans are sold only when this ideal flavor period has been achieved.Learn More
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