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Second Wave Coffee

General Knowledge
Time to Read
8 minutes

The second wave of coffee came to life in the 1970s, a century after the first wave officially began. At this time, with the rise of coffee consumption and public awareness of the properties of these magic beans, consumers were dissatisfied with the unpleasant taste of first-wave coffee. Cheap, instant, and easy coffee, one of the main components of the first wave of coffee, was no longer famous among coffee lovers in the late twentieth century. Consumers wanted to know more about the origins of their coffee, now called "specialty coffee," and how it is roasted. In addition to this information, coffee was no longer considered a necessary and straightforward commodity, and its consumers looked at it as a new experience to enjoy coffee.

The existing discourse about coffee changed with the advent of the second wave, and words such as espresso, latte, and french press became popular among coffee lovers. Espresso and French Press drinks became increasingly popular during the second wave, and many cafes opened to meet this new demand. These new stores were no longer the only place to sell coffee. These cafes have established themselves as a public meeting place where customers can enjoy a coffee experience in a social setting.

Peet's coffee and tea were among the second wave drivers, founded in 1966 by Alfred Pitt in Berkeley, California. Alfred Pitt was a Dutch immigrant who immigrated to the United States. When Pete drinks a cup of instant coffee popular among the people, he realizes the low standard and quality of coffee in the United States. Following the discovery of the authentic taste of coffee in 1966, he opened his first shop selling high-quality coffee and "Dark roast."

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Customers at Pete's store, mostly Berkeley students, were amazed at the new flavor Pete brought. The new compound became known as Peet's due to dark roasted Arabica coffee beans in its blend. As sales of brewed coffee and espresso drinks accelerated, Peet's, in a short time, became a sect among its followers, known as the "Peetniks." At this time, people realized the complexity of this unique drink and achieved a pleasure independent of just drinking coffee.

Another name that is specifically tied to the second wave of coffee is Starbucks. Starbucks was founded in 1971 in Seattle, Washington, by three friends Jerry Baldwin‌, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker, who spent the summer working and training at Peet's main store. Inspired by Pete, they decided to start their own business by selling imported coffee beans, tea, spices, and coffee equipment. The original Starbucks (still in Seattle Pike) did not serve drinks. In 1982, Howard Schultz joined the three founders of Starbucks. After traveling to Italy, Schultz came up with ​​starting a company to sell coffee-based beverages. He believed that the future of the coffee industry was no longer based on roasted beans, so he left Starbucks to start his own company, Il Giornale.

In 1987, Schultz returned to Starbucks to buy the company, while the three principal founders of Starbucks were leaving it due to work in Peet's. Under Schultz, Starbucks took on a modern form and began its quest for world domination.

Although Starbucks and Peet's were not the only cafes active in the second wave of coffee, they form the core of this wave. Peet's was responsible for raising people's expectations regarding quality, while Starbucks presented the idea of a coffee shop as an "experience" and not just a place to drink coffee.


In the 1980s, Starbucks became famous for its espresso and latte drinks, and it met the growing demand for a variety of coffee drinks that did not require special equipment for home brewing. Starbucks introduces its stores as a "third place" between work and home, where customers can relax and spend time with friends. The interior of the cafes also made them more accessible and social, similar to today's cafes, so that different people such as students, staff, passing customers, and generally anyone from any class can sit in these places for a few minutes and enjoy their coffee without worries. And get rid of fatigue.

At the same time as the new wave of coffee drinking culture, people wanted to enjoy the coffee they drank the most. Therefore, questions such as the difference between the types of coffee available in the market and the type of preparation are also raised. They wanted to know what country and what kind of seeds the coffee they drink every morning is made from. So it can be said that coffee consumers were no longer just thinking about caffeine.

The emergence of numerous cafes with attractive appearances completed the trend of coffee waves. In this wave, coffee consumption became a more romantic culture. The growing trend of coffee consumption has led to changes in the agricultural industry and the interior design of shops and cafes. Past coffee houses and their smoky atmosphere have been replaced by relatively luxurious cafes and coffee shops that people turn to for leisure. One of the reasons that the price of coffee suddenly increased during this decade was the significant changes in the design of new spaces and the increase in the quality of coffee in this cafe. Over time, drinking coffee in cafes like today's cafes became a hobby for different classes of society where they could enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the cafe and the excellent taste of coffee.

Another notable feature of the second wave is the popularity of coffee-based beverages. Drinks such as Frappuccino, Cappuccino, etc., are among the new achievements of this industry to attract different people with every taste. Decorations on coffee with milk and cream, which had become popular over time, also attracted public attention. At this point, coffee was no longer a regular beverage. Coffee had now become a drink with an artistic and emotional scent tied to the experience of café-ing. Although the ultimate goal of these cafes was to offer quality coffee, the coffee itself was almost forgotten, and what mattered was the social activity of going to the café. Although the second wave was created in response to the growing demand for quality, specialized coffee, it was criticized in the late 21st century for sacrificing quality beans in favor of the "café experience."

Criticism of the second wave is that losing its way, it preferred to focus on the social experience of coffee drinking rather than emphasizing the origin of the beans, and coffee houses became large businesses that encouraged customers to drink monotonous coffee in a dull atmosphere. Over time, the second wave of coffee, which wanted to increase the quality of coffee, forgot the quality of coffee.


In essence, this means that the authentic coffee served in second-wave cafes is not always as good as it should be. To this end, the third wave of coffee, in response to this romantic experience of coffee drinking, was accompanied by a return to the basics of coffee, where the emphasis is on quality coffee beans, not fancy drinks or coffee chain extensions.

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