The third wave coffee movement in the Philippines is in full swing, with a number of coffee shops popping up that dedicate their whole identity to providing the best coffee experience. From choosing the brewing methods to sourcing the best coffee beans in the Philippines, the third wave of coffee is all about the art of brewing and extracting distinct flavor notes from the coffee beans.
On the surface level, the third wave coffee movement might seem like a hipster form of coffee enthusiasm, but it’s much more than that. In this article, we’ll be diving deep into what third wave coffee is and what it means for the local coffee scene.
What Is Third Wave Coffee?
Before learning what the third wave of coffee is, you need to understand the first and second waves first, and how they paved the way to the specialty coffee shops we’re enjoying today.
The First Wave of Coffee
The first wave of coffee refers to the original release of coffee into the market, with the rise in consumption in the early 1800s. The first wave didn’t primarily focus on the quality, but more on the commodity aspect. It circled more on mass production and provided the population with easy access to the popular “caffeine kick.” This movement is where popular brands of instant coffee thrived, like Folgers, Nescafe, and Maxwell House.
The Second Wave of Coffee
The second wave started in the late 1900s, when Starbucks and other coffee shops started gaining momentum. Instead of marketing coffee as sort of a necessity, the second wave changed coffee in a way that it was more of a luxury item that people can savor and enjoy.
The second wave used coffee as a profitable venture, with a high focus on specialty, customer experience, and café ambiance – it wasn’t specifically marketed through the coffee. However, this wave was also the first time that the conversation about coffee beans emerged, from the distinction between barako and arabica to the differences in the varying types of coffee bean roasting. But this is much more elaborate in the third wave, wherein different brewing techniques are utilized to effectively extract the unique flavor tones in each type of coffee bean.
The Third Wave of Coffee
Finally, the third wave of coffee offers a much more sophisticated perspective in coffee consumerism, with a specific emphasis on sourcing high-quality, fair-trade coffee beans and employing passionate baristas dedicated to the whole process of brewing – from choosing the unroasted coffee beans to the final steps of coffee production. In a way, third wave coffee baristas handcraft coffee to blend and brew with precision instead of the recipe-centered technique of second wave coffee shops.
In addition, coffee consumers are much more hands-on and dedicated to the whole process and flavor notes, which would explain why third wave coffee shops are popular among coffee connoisseurs. These coffee shops also operate on smaller scales to promote a more intimate experience for coffee drinkers wherein they can witness and be part of the processes in coffee brewing and blending.
However, third wave coffee products might be a bit more expensive than the usual coffee prices in the Philippines but know that they do have an important reason for this. From an economic perspective, the third wave coffee movement promotes sustainability in all steps of coffee production. As much as possible, coffee beans are products of fair-trade and ethical production, being directly sourced from coffee producers and farmers, doing away with the middleman traders. This means that coffee farmers are fully compensated for their hard work, as well as incentivized for practicing sustainable agricultural practices.
Support These Third Wave Coffee Shops and Brands in the Philippines
The Philippines is home to numerous third wave coffee shops dedicated to the art of coffee brewing. Much like how wine sommeliers look at wine, these coffee brands are dedicated to providing people top-tier coffee experience, but at the same time properly recognize the role of coffee farmers in the overall coffee culture.
With the world slowly opening after almost two years of the pandemic, cafes are now starting to open their doors for coffee enthusiasts to enjoy their cup and the ambiance of the coffee shops. Here are a few third wave coffeeshops you can now visit in Metro Manila.
Sagada coffee made a name for itself in the International Contest of Locally Roasted Coffees, bagging the top awards together with Bukidnon coffee. SGD Coffee aims to make Sagada coffee accessible to people from the city. But aside from Sagada coffee, this third wave coffee shop also offers numerous coffee beans sourced from the different Filipino regions, like Sulu, Ilocos, and Quezon. If you’re looking for an authentic Filipino coffee experience, SGD Coffee might have what you’re looking for.
You can visit their coffee shops at SGD Coffee Bodega in Quezon City, or Kapetolyo by SGD in Ermita, Manila, or you can check out the SGD Coffee Instagram page to see their selection of beans and pastries.
Centered on an Australia- and New-Zealand-based coffee experience, Antipodean embodies the soul of European cafes, with their romantic and easy-going vibe. This third wave coffee shop specializes in coffee brews sourced from Indonesia’s top specialty roaster – Merdeka Coffee. If you’re looking for unique coffee beans, Antipodean has a wide selection, including Aceh Arabica, Bali Kintamani Arabica, and Wamena. Visit their coffee shop at Paseo de Roxas in Legazpi, Makati, or head over to the Antipodean website if you’re curious about their history or if you’d want to check their café menu.
Habitual Coffee is a third wave coffee shop that specializes in Aeropress hand-brewed coffee. But what is Aeropress? Aeropress is a technique of manual coffee-making, using pressure to brew and extract coffee from the beans. So if you’re looking for a unique take on coffee, visit their physical shop at Salcedo Village, Makati, or order from the Habitual Coffee website if you’re not in the mood to step out of your homes.
Staying true to their name, Commune promotes their coffee shop as a place where people can come together and enjoy company with, of course, their signature coffee brews perfected by their in-house baristas. Commune offers a wide variety of third wave coffee in their menu, from hand-poured selections to espresso-based drinks. You can even enjoy your cup – or cups – of coffee with well-crafted meals and sandwiches. You can visit their coffee shop at Polaris Makati from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or head over to their website at Commune.ph.
Single Origin specializes in promoting a gourmet and sophisticated coffee experience inspired by global coffee movements. What sets Single Origin apart though is that their menu offers multiple brewing methods that you can choose from, from the Hario V60 pour-over method to the siphon technique. You can also select the single-origin coffee beans that will be used for your cup.
They have different branches in BGC, Rockwell, and Salcedo, Makati, so you have a lot of choices if you plan on paying them a visit one of these days. If you’re still trying to decide which third wave coffee you’d want to visit, check out their website at SingleOrigin.com.ph for their story, café menu, and reservations.
Hone Your Coffee Knowledge With the Third Wave Coffee Movement
Learning everything about coffee is a long process, which includes learning what the type of coffee beans are, the different brewing methods, grinding coarseness, and the various types of coffee filters. While the third wave coffee movement is primarily targeted towards the coffee connoisseurs and long-time enthusiasts, beginners and people who are new to the coffee culture will always be welcome to savor and enjoy the process of brewing high-quality coffee. Help promote these small-scale coffee shops, and in turn, support the coffee bean farmers where these coffee shops source their beans from. Maybe you can even get useful recommendations and priceless knowledge from the dedicated baristas who are at the heart of the third wave coffee movement.