Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Third Wave

Tonight, after a wonderful dinner with our friends, Anna and
Chris at the Bodhi Tree (a local Burmese restaurant), we went
to watch the documentary, "The Perfect Cappucino". It was a
wonderful film, and made me miss being a barista. A major
aspect of the film discussed the effect Starbucks is having on
the coffee drinking world. However, one part I found especially
interesting about the film was a reference to "The Third Wave"
that was discussed in the film. This refers to coffee drinking
in our society coming in three waves. The first wave was the
habit of millions drinking really bad coffee like Folgers and
Maxwell House because for the most part, years ago there
wasn't anything else. The second wave involved(s) millions
drinking coffee at places like Starbucks. Basically very bland,
but finding a familiarization with the product and buying a
higher end product in general. The third wave is moving one
step beyond the Starbucks phase and trying really good
coffee at independent coffee houses and roasters once
they've reached a comfort level with the Starbucks style of

For those of you who don't know me that well, Lynn and I
owned an internet coffee house in 1997 in Estes Park
Colorado. We were ahead of the times, providing an
internet availability to customers and did well. However,
the market wasn't busy enough for the entire year and
we cut our losses and closed after a year. That's the
Reader's Digest Condensed version. Anyway, at the time,
I thought that the Starbucks brand was a good thing to
have around (I still think they're ok and frequent them
occasionally). Here was my reasoning; people should
go to a Starbucks, get comfortable with ordering, the
types of drinks available...the total coffee experience.
Then...when they get comfortable, they would want to
try out the "local" businesses to see how their product
tasted, and hopefully that product was better. The
customer wouldn't feel intimidated by going into a
local coffee house and would be able to enjoy a better
product. I felt the same could be said for McDonalds
with hamburgers and AOL for computer internet use.
So...long story long...I didn't invent the term "The
Third Wave" back in 1997 but I definitely was right
there when it came to envisioning the concept.
Yay for me!

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

Way to go, riding that third wave. The third wave is definitely better than starschmucks.