Third wave coffee, or sometimes called specialty coffee, is slowly making its way in the local coffee scene. The Philippine coffee culture has been dominated by the first wave and second wave coffee for the longest time. But this is gradually shifting to another wave.
You would usually see in television ads and billboards different varieties of instant coffee. These are usually leaning towards the sweet blend to cater to the wider audience. Grocery-bought coffee (which is usually cheap) makes up your first wave. They have established coffee as a staple drink, especially in the morning.
Just in the early 2000’s, we have seen the rise in the working class. Though indirect, you would see a shift with the coffee being consumed by many. Yes, there are still coffee points in every pantry. You would have a choice of whether to get the usually 3-in-1, mocha or latte. But what’s been evident is the number of coffee shops opening in almost every corner of the business districts. The Filipino working class has been introduced to the second wave coffee. Most are enticed with the sophistication it brought and the wider coffee option it offered. You can have your coffee hot, iced or blended at almost any time of the day. Though it came with a premium in price, people have been frequenting these second wave coffee shops for a different coffee experience.
The market for second wave coffee shops has matured quickly enough to give way to the new wave now popularly known as third wave. Shops have been popping up everywhere, usually a simple hole-in-the-wall. Third wave offers specialty coffee which are of higher grade (or quality) than the beans offered in the second wave. They are also known for being more experimental in their blends. I usually hear them being described as hipster coffee or artisanal cafes. They do direct trades with coffee farms and usually roast their own beans. People get to know them usually by word-of-mouth which makes each experience more personal and intimate.
Third wave coffee shops elevate your coffee experience! It’s not just about how fancy your drink looks. It is now more about the story it tells from the fragrance of freshly-ground beans to the actual first sip. Third wave coffee shops let you taste spring, enjoy a tropical paradise or even love a guiltless chocolate. It’s a different kind of experience where you get to not just relish the aroma but also appreciate and understand where it came from.
The Philippines has a relatively young third wave coffee culture. Local coffee beans have also been making its mark together with the rise of these specialty coffee shops. Take a chance, elevate your experience and visit a third wave coffee shop when you can! I’m sure you would see the distinction.