The Low Down

"Why is this so complicated? Confusing brewing techniques and this needlessly fancy machinery?
I mean, coffee is just coffee, right? What difference does it make?"

We get that response pretty often when we do events, so we’d like to take a crack at answering that question once and for all.

Coffee is known and loved across the world for being this caffeine loaded, delicious daily drink. While instant coffee is ‘technically’ coffee, we think it’s only a single dimension to all that coffee has the potential to be. Coffee can be naturally spicy or served mixed in with lemons or mixed into a cocktail or even more. The combinations are endless! The only trick to knowing what works is to understand coffee. And to do that, we’ve got to dig a little bit into the past.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a history lecture. We’re skipping the boring bits.

Coffee Goes Globetrotting:

Following its discovery in Ethiopia and experimentation in Arabia, coffee was traded and popularised until it became a global phenomenon. Although available, coffee didn't immediately crack the market and become everyone's favourite breakfast brew. In most European nations, the breakfast drink of choice remained what it originally was - beer! 🍻 
The thing was, brewing coffee was tedious and expensive, so people preferred instead to go to dedicated Coffee Houses to get their fix. Still a relatively expensive affair, it clearly was only for those that could afford it, but even that wasn’t as exclusive as drinking coffee at home. That was a feat reserved only for the very rich. Coffee was in and it was exotic and super luxurious. Like people that eat caviar in Mumbai. Just sayin'. 🐟 

That initial wave, however, didn't last too long and something unexpected was looming in the near future. The post- World War efforts to revive economies across the world led to a ton of new inventions and two of them - ‘dehydration’ and ‘vacuum sealing’ were about to change coffee forever. 

THE FIRST WAVE: Coffee Goes Public

In the late 1800s, at different points across the globe, advances in food tech made instant coffee a reality. It simplified the process: Add the powder, pour water, stir and boom! You're sipping on coffee just like the rich and famous. 

Before instant coffee came around, grinding beans and brewing by hand was a pretty labour intensive process. But pouring powder and rehydrating it with water? Even children can do that!

Coffee’s popularity skyrocketed. When American players like Maxwell House and Folgers stepped into the game, they took a gamble and decided to spend obscene amounts of money on a relatively up and coming industry - marketing.

It worked and how! Coffee had become accessible. And now with even better food technology coming in after the end of the second world war, it was even better than before. It was flying off the shelves like it was possessed.

In a few short decades after becoming accessible, their marketing made it essential

Living in an era where coffee ads plaster billboards, it might be hard to think of why that’s such a big deal, let's put it into equally crazy terms of today. Y'know how beer has become such a craze? Now, imagine we told you there was a way to make beer at home just by pouring cold soda onto a sachet of powder that costs one fourth the price of a bottle. Sounds pretty crazy now, right? [P.S: If someone does know how to do this, send us an email!]

Credit due where it’s due - their idea was great, but the same couldn't be said about their coffee. The brands lacked a distinct difference in taste and if we're being honest quality standards were a little hard to enforce so it was a hit or a miss. Initially, just the fact that coffee was available was such an amazing revelation that none of that mattered to the public. So for roughly 100 years, these guys dominated the scene unchallenged.

However, the same way the turn of the century changed coffee’s fate last time, it was about to do it again. This world was about to get a whole lot smaller and when it came to coffee, people were about to get a whole lot smarter.

THE SECOND WAVE: Coffee Gets A Community

By the 1970s the world had begun to shrink and coffee drinkers had begun to wisen up to the lack of flavour and quality of instant coffee. It dawned on the public that the convenience dealt a pretty heavy blow to its taste. If had without milk or sugar, it gave that signature rather bitter, acidic flavour that we've all sipped on at one point or another.

The only reason they arrived at this conclusion was that new competitors in the coffee scene gave them something to compare it to! These new kids on the block entered the coffee scene with promises of freshly roasted coffee and the difference was very, very noticeable. So it's no surprise these chains picked up at a breakneck pace. People came flooding through the gates because everyone could taste a gigantic leap in quality.

Another hallmark of the second wave was that they really put together the idea of 'modern cafe culture’ as we know it today. You might be blissfully unaware of it, but everything you associate cafes with today is because of decades of fine-tuning! 

Don't believe us? Next time you're on a date for coffee, ask yourself - who put that idea in your head in the first place?

That's right - the Second Wave guys did that.

They revived the tradition of making  coffee shops a place where cool stuff happens. They made cafes into a fun hip place you can go hang out with your friends at or a place to host meetings and use the wifi to work out of for a day. Second wave cafes were known for being super-inclusive, welcoming and warm to anyone that walked through their doors.

The final piece that the second wave brought to the table can be considered a cultural gift from the Italian immigrants escaping to America after the end of World War II. Besides making their food synonymous with America, they introduced to the world the defining drink of the second wave - the espresso.

Espresso’, which is Italian for ‘express’ quickly took over. Even today, almost all the coffee drinks served at cafes across the world are based on this iconic, short little brew. For that, we are forever grateful. Grazie Italia!

Of course, with so much good stuff, something was bound to go haywire. At some point in the Second Wave's unbelievably fast growth, the importance of the ‘coffee shop experience’ began to outweigh the importance of the coffee itself. Their newer drinks, loaded with cream and milk, seemed to include coffee as an afterthought. 

Disillusioned, their once diehard fans set out again on the quest for dope flavours.

THE THIRD WAVE: Coffee Craftsmanship

Around the time the second wave was busy finding a way to load ice cream into every recipe, technology was helping curious roasters dig deeper into everything coffee could be. This was in an era where it was assumed that coffee would until the end of time be roasted dark as night and served as espresso-based concoctions.

The third was started in the early 2000s by people that were looking to understand only one seemingly simple thing: quality.

They wanted to shift the focus back to the coffee itself and in doing so used every parameter, metric and device they could use in the digital world to measure it. The soil, elevation, nation, size, bean, varietal - everything was taken into account before the beans were roasted.

All this data gathering and scientific observation gave us an objectively clearer picture of coffee. It gave these roasters the power to challenge the idea of roasting every bean the same way. They began to find region-specific flavours from their favourite plantations and explore different styles of roasting and opened up a whole new flavour palate.

Coffee no longer had to have a nutty and chocolatey taste. It was acceptable for it to taste like berries or flowers or fruits.
The possibilities were endless.

If beans are that drastically different, then it’s obvious that some might be more suited to a different roast. Roasting to a profile instead of whatever was convenient became the norm for the third wave. 

Along with that seemingly obvious conclusion, third-wave people also realised that maybe not everything needs to be an espresso! Like if you have a complex, delicate flavoured light roast coffee, maybe brewing it under immense pressure isn’t exactly the best way to bring out it’s best flavours.

This led to what we can now see as the revival of using Manual Brewing methods in cafes. The brewers work for the coffee, bringing out the best features of the bean or depending on what kind of coffee you were into. The bean is best as light and fruity? Use brewer that brings out its flavours like a V60. The bean is robust and intense? Grab a French Press and get to it! It was just that simple. 

Everyone’s needs don’t come with a one size fits all policy, so why should their coffee?

Social consciousness, a global movement made its presence felt in the Third Wave in a big way. Making coffee sustainable and showcasing not just the nations but even the farms they came from became an integral part of the process. Third Wave coffee shops took the idea of being thoughtful and decided to impart it to every degree. 

There are real people that do a lot of labour to make sure you get a good cup. Third-wave roasters don't just want you to know that - they want you to meet them and share a cup. Because they know, behind these people is a planet that needs us to be sensible and sustainable if we want to keep this and ourselves going for a long time to come.


And that brings us to where we are today.

Yes, coffee really is just a roasted bean that’s been ground to a powder but once you add hot water and filter it through, it has the capacity to taste like tens of thousands of different things.

And that fact blows our minds every single day.

India grows some amazing coffee and as third-wave roasters, we take those principles of freshly roasted, carefully studied and most importantly super tasty coffee and do our best with Indian beans before we ship them out to you.

As for the fancy machinery - it’s just to make sure that whatever we do is consistent and if we're being honest, it really does help speed up our job. However, if you’re looking to get started on making great coffee at home, we promise it can be done without any of that. We'll even show you how. All you need to do is care and pay attention and you'll soon find you're holding a cup of some insanely tasty brews. 

Now that you know, don't ever settle for anything less than Dope.