OMG! Third wave coffee shops have arrived in Quito. And as a former barista, I could not be more excited… Quito has been known for over-roasting their coffee beans and at home, everyone has instant coffee, to be served with a ton of sugar and milk. But there are now a group of coffee shops that are starting a coffee revolution; focused on serving high quality coffee, perfectly toasted, expert baristas and a great experience, in short, third wave coffee.
There have been three movements that have affected coffee culture:
- The first is when companies like Folgers (Nescafe here) made instant coffee, bringing coffee into people’s homes. They made it easy and accessible.
- But as quality wasn’t the best, as a result, companies like Starbucks or Juan Valdez focused on mass distribution of a higher quality product. Popularizing drinks like espresso, latte and cappuccino. Baristas became known and they showcased where their coffee beans came from (next time you’re at a Juan Valdez check out their pictures, their usually from coffee plants and people on the fields). Until this companies reached supermarkets (cue Juan Valdez instant coffee for 7-8 dollars at Supermaxi)
- And this gave the beginning to the third movement… Focused on a unique retail experience. The shop and its owner have unique characteristics, coffee is extremely tasty, coffee beans are seen as grapes for wines—each with its own characteristics and styles—toasting is better, they focus on technique, they have professional baristas (a commodity in Quito) and there is a direct connection between origin (producers) and store.
In other words, this wave highlights origin, process and methods, giving new possibilities as cold brew, coffee fusions and new creations. It’s like the craft beer revolution, a couple of years ago we had Pilsener and Club, now there are a ton of microbreweries that are really special.
There are even barista schools (like the Barista Training Center) that prepare people to make amazing coffee as a hobby, or baristas that want to compete. The next national competition will be on august 30th and 31st in Guayaquil. The winner will participate in the world championship in Seoul!!!
You are probably wondering if there is a true difference between coffee in one of these shops or a regular one, and believe me, there is… Other than the pure coffee flavour (which you have to try for yourself), technique is different. Most places here don’t even serve basic elements; for example, an espresso needs to have “cream” on top (naturally formed by the machine) or a cappuccino needs at least the width of a finger of foam (or it’s just coffee and milk).
This Friday we’ll post our 5 favourite places, if you go tag us in your pictures and let us know how it goes… I know I’m already addicted…