How much would you pay for a cup of coffee?

There was a time when there was not a cafe with hip enough chairs or unnecessarily dim lighting that could convince me to pay 6$ for a cup of joe. I was under the impression that all coffee was created equal and that free refills were just commonplace.

Recently, however, my brother opened up a coffee shop in Olympia, Washington. Curious, I went for a visit. From the moment, I walked in, I knew that I had stumbled into a different type of coffee shop.

The baristas huddled over each latte and pour-over with delight and concentration. They were not worried about the line that had formed out the door. They had no interest in rushing the process. They were dressed well and eager to educate me on the coffee’s roast date and origin. The finished product was delivered to my rustic wooden table with sparkling water.

My brother explained to me that this is to cleanse the pallet to gain the full experience of the beverage I was about to consume. I took a sip. The sublime sensory experience that took place was unlike anything I had experienced at my neighbourhood Starbucks. (And to my surprise, it didn’t have anything to do with hip chairs, although the wooden stump I was sitting on was a nice touch). It was about the quality of the product I was consuming and the precision and attention that had gone into it.

I was officially ready to give up my keurig cups forever.

I learned that there is a culture that has emerged within the last decade in the coffee industry. It is a culture that is fighting for a new conversation surrounding how we buy and consume coffee.

Leading Roasters like Tim Wendleboe, Stumptown, and The Coffee Collective are all a part of this “Third Wave” generation of Coffee.

This movement focuses on a lightly roasted coffee experience, where notes and flavors are just as important as the farmer to consumer relationship that takes place.

The idea is that we might get just as excited about a coffee experience like we would with craft beers or well-aged wine. Wine and Coffee are both agricultural products, yet people are more wary of spending money on the latter.

This “Third Wave” works to educate us in order to think of coffee as more than just a liquid we consume for a caffeine boost, but a complex organism that can be beautifully crafted for an artisan experience.

So what is it about specialty coffee that’s worth the extra dent in your bank account? These next few weeks, we will dive into what goes into a specialty cup of coffee and why it’s worth it to throw away that instant stuff you have been consuming in exchange for a true agricultural masterpiece.


Madeline MacDonald
Hi, I'm Madeline! I'm a travel junkie from the roasting capital of Seattle, trying to live a better story with what I consume, including coffee. 


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