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Sam Coffee Roasters

First Wave Coffee

Basic Knowledge
Time to Read
8 minutes

In the last two centuries, coffee has become one of the essential commodities of every household. Today, coffee is the second most popular beverage in the world after water. In world trade, after oil, it is the second most traded commodity and has defined itself as the mainstay of the modern diet. But how did coffee become a global beverage? Over the past two centuries, coffee consumption has undergone fundamental changes, referred to as coffee waves. Changes have led to the formation of "coffee culture"; Its main structure is derived from the relationship between coffee and society. Initially, society revolutionized the coffee industry, and then it was coffee that became a major commodity, revolutionizing various societies. With the advent of each wave of coffee, the production and use of these red beans underwent many changes, each of which brought new customs with it. Fewer beverages, such as coffee, have reached this global popularity in such a short time and speed. Of course, it is interesting to know that coffee was not so famous from the beginning. People in the past believed that because coffee caused the person to lose consciousness, these beans were considered forbidden, and their consumption was not socially accepted.


The characteristics of a good coffee have changed over time, which indicates the evolution and emergence of different tastes among coffee consumers. The term coffee waves were first used in 2002 by Trich Rothberg in Rooster Magazine. He believed that just as the Industrial Revolution brought about a significant transformation in all trades and divided the world into before and after, coffee waves brought with them changes that gave the industry a new color and flavor. To date, the coffee industry has been associated with three significant waves. The first wave started in the 1800s, the second wave began in the second half of 1900, and we are currently experiencing the third wave.

The flourishing of coffee beans dates back to the 15th century in Central America. Despite its use in medicine, coffee consumption was not welcomed by religious people. And it was classified as low food. Over time in the 16th century, public coffee houses appeared throughout Saudi Arabia. These cafes were like modern coffee shops or cafes today. Customers would gather to enjoy coffee, watch live performances, play chess, listen to music, and discuss current events.

With the beginning of the coffee trade in the early 17th century, this product opened its place among the people over time. As people became aware of the properties of coffee beans in the 1800s, their consumption became much more intense, and coffee became a popular beverage for most people. As a result, coffee makers devoted more farms to producing coffee to make it more profitable. The main point in this wave was not the taste and quality of coffee, but consumers were mainly looking for caffeine in coffee.

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The economic principle of supply and demand stimulated the first wave of coffee in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the nineteenth century, coffee consumption in the United States grew significantly. However, it was still a relatively expensive commodity that was still considered a luxury item. At this early stage, coffee is usually distributed in small quantities by independent local restaurants. With the opening of the first instant coffee shops, this product gradually became more popular. Before, only certain groups could use this product. Still, with the beginning of the first wave of coffee, this product became better known and more accessible. Drinking coffee gave the consumer an extra sense of energy. Hence, sales increased dramatically, and the bean became a staple in every household's food basket. People ignored coffee cultivation or its seeds and only thought about consuming this energetic substance at home and work. The first wave is an actual start for coffee because this product was available to all people in this period.

In 1850, William H. Bowie founded Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills in California. While buying green beans and roasting them at home was expected, its main activity was to produce pre-roasted coffee grounds in small metal containers. He made what was previously only possible for the upper classes to use in middle-class kitchens. Among those who worked with Mr. Bowie to build and equip the factory was a very young carpenter named James Folger. After completing the factory, he set out to find gold. Along the way, he distributed a large number of Bowie coffee samples to various stores. In 1865, Fulger returned to the factory as a complete trading partner, and in 1872, he bought it all and named it after himself. 

In 1892, Joel Chick and Maxwell Kalborn founded Maxwell House Coffee, which became famous for its proprietary blend of coffee beans. Maxwell House was a hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, that served a unique blend of Czech coffee. According to Maxwell's founders, the company's main motto is "Delightful to the last drop," first uttered by US President Roosevelt after tasting the coffee.

In 1900, the Hills Brothers developed a new technique for removing air from coffee packages. In the process, the air package came out of the coffee can and kept the coffee fresh for a long time.

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Vacuum packing method (without air) R. RW Hills of Hills Bros. Coffee has changed the future of coffee packaging to this day, shifting the origins of coffee from local roasters to the shelves of small and large stores everywhere. 

Finally, in 1903, a Japanese-American named Sori Kato patented instant coffee, providing a way to dehydrate and package coffee grounds, allowing consumers to make a cup without specialized equipment. "Brew" in a few seconds.

Until then, apart from the problem of producing quality beans, making coffee took time. First, they had to roast the coffee and then wait for the coffee to brew. Instant coffee was quick and easy and did not require special equipment for brewing—desirable products for the rations of World War I soldiers in 1917. By 1938, Nestle became one of the most important innovators in this field with its instant coffee product, Nescafe. Around the 1970s, about a third of roasted coffee imported to the United States was used to make instant coffee. 

The primary purpose of coffee was the first wave of comfort, and producers and consumers were looking for the easiest and fastest way to enjoy a cup of coffee. The first wave of coffee is often criticized for sacrificing taste and quality for mass production and ease of use. Although the quality of these bulk products is not very interesting, the innovations made in processing, packaging, and marketing have brought an unprecedented change to this industry.

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