Trends & Lifestyle

We are definitely part of the 4th wave of coffee

Specialty coffee is not so special anymore: thanks to the fourth wave of coffee, it’s now for everybody, anytime.

The culture surrounding coffee is fascinating, and most importantly, it is constantly changing and progressing in exciting ways. Historically, coffee has undergone three significant shifts, and experts in the industry already believe we are currently experiencing a fourth wave. 

But what is the coffee fourth wave, and how is it changing our habits? If, in the first wave, coffee was mainly viewed as a commodity that people would consume to start their day and maintain their energy levels, the second one, which emerged in the 70s, saw coffee being treated as a comfort item that people could indulge in, similar to a nice cup of tea. With the start of the new century came the third wave of coffee, known as the era of coffee lovers. This wave focused on crafting high-quality experiences, providing detailed sourcing information, tasting notes, and an overall sense of exclusivity. Now it’s time to welcome the fourth wave of coffee, characterised by more freedom to experiment, quality focus, the rise of cold coffee recipes and inclusivity. It is open to everyone – even to a not coffee geek.


Inclusive quality

The fourth wave focuses on making specialty coffee, more accessible and inclusive, expanding it from a niche market to a broader audience. 

This shift is fueled by the rising prevalence of small-to-medium coffee roasting shops worldwide, the new consumer desire to explore beyond the product seeking enhanced quality and transparency as well as the elevated standard of specialty coffee beans.

The fourth wave of coffee is the perfect blend of exceptional coffee products and genuine social consciousness. While choosing the highest-quality beans is key to create an artisanal coffee experience with unique flavours and rich aromas, it is only one facet of it. 

Coffee lovers are also keeping an eye on its socioeconomic impact, looking for partnerships between farmers and all the actors involved in the coffee value chain, literally from source to sip.


GenZ fosters coffee culture 

Coffee culture keeps evolving according to how the world changes. In this sense, today, Gen Z and social media content creators are playing a role in setting the trends and influencing consumer behaviour. The so-called “Coffeetok” influencers share their coffee drink recipes, brewing techniques, and unique coffee rituals with their large audiences, inspiring them to try and replicate the drinks. It is about quality and creativity since coffee lovers take their passion to the next level by adding floral garnishes and dyeing milk foam with vibrant colours to enhance the presentation. Standard and simple options such as caramel, vanilla and hazelnut are now in the company of pumpkin flavouring, elderflower or lavender, rose, and hibiscus.


Cold coffee is the future

One of the most significant disruptions in the past decade has been cold coffee preparations, including Cold Brew. Indeed, Cold Brew has been taking over Iced Coffee, and this trendy coffee’s popularity is here to stay. The experts say that an increase in new at-home cold coffee drink recipes, cold coffee brewing techniques (e.g., flash brewed), and ready-to-drink coffee innovation is expected with North America and Europe playing key roles. Why? Because when coffee is brewed using the traditional hot brewing method, the flavour is extracted quickly by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans. On the other hand, cold brew takes longer to extract the flavour (between 12 to 24 hours) and this long extraction process results in a unique brew that coffee enthusiasts are increasingly loving.


It’s a home affair

The first, second and third waves of coffee waves took place in coffee shops and roasteries, but the fourth one is happening inside homes. More people own their coffee brewing equipment and commute less due to remote work, so they now have the power to make their favourite drinks at home. The pandemic has been an accelerator behind this trend as it has caused a significant change in the coffee consumption habits of most customers. Even if people are returning to their offices and resuming in-person socializing, many have grown accustomed to their new at-home routines, including their coffee time and the convenience of enjoying the coffee shop experience in the comfort of their own homes. 

The advanced technology of De’Longhi’s fully automatic and manual coffee machines provide the right option for every taste. The great variety of beverages you can prepare with De’Longhi’s machines doesn’t make you regret the offer you would find in your favourite coffee shops. Fully automatic machines make high-quality cups with ease just by pushing a button, while if you are more into the barista kind of experience, manual machines are the ones for you. 


Are you ready to ride the wave? Whether you prefer a hassle-free experience or desire a barista-like touch, a wide range of fully automatic and manual machines is here to accompany you.

Embrace the 4th wave of coffee with La Specialista Arte Evo

If you're eager to explore the Cold Brew trend, De'Longhi has just made it easier with its groundbreaking Cold Extraction Technology. The manual machine La Specialista Arte Evo is here to support you in your at-home coffee experience and make delicious cold brew recipes in the comfort of your kitchen in under five minutes.

Discover more.