Craftsmanship of a new generation
Having emerged in the USA, the new trend for craft coffee is spreading internationally and has meanwhile also reached Europe. The artisanal coffee production includes all elements, from cultivation to roasting to brewing. Mass products are undesirable, so craft coffee lovers can enjoy a black “drink” that, thanks to innovative brewing methods, unleashes aromas that range from chocolate to fruit.
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Country of birth USA
Like so many other things, the new trend in craft specialties comes from the land of unlimited possibilities. For some time now, craft beers have made fame; they have long shaken up the American market and are also becoming increasingly popular in Europe. This was followed by craft cocktails and finally the current trend wave of craft coffee. In the USA, this can be found everywhere for a long time, because the nice, small cafes are really stirring up the coffee market, which was dominated by the big chains until 10 years ago. Craft coffee is even rarer in Europe, but the trend is already starting today, especially in metropolises such as London, Paris, Prague, Oslo and Berlin.
What is the idea behind the “Craft”?
“Craft” literally means nothing more than “made by hand”. It represents the departure from unhealthy fast food and the monotony of the modern, industrial food industry dominated by artificial flavors, colors and additives. It should go back to the good old days. New breeds have produced a variety of foods that are easy to grow in monocultures and are ideal for industrial processing. The disadvantage: These foods and luxury foods, including coffee, have not infrequently lost their taste and mass processing takes away other aromas from the beans because the roast is too dark.
Craft Kaffee turns its back on these methods and wants to create a bridge between modern practices and tradition. From cultivation to brewing, this trend makes almost everything different and surprises with a tremendous wealth of taste.
The coffee waves
Coffee consumption is generally divided into three ages, the “waves”. In the “first wave” from around 1930 to 1960, coffee became available to large parts of the population for the first time . In supermarkets there was vacuumed, already ground coffee for the general public.
The “Second Wave” lasted from 1960 to 1990 and describes the budding cafés in which, thanks to increasing prosperity, coffee was given a social and cultural importance. But the formerly small cafés became large, dominant chains that ousted the small ones due to the price war. You can still find them today and practically everyone has bought a “coffee to go” there. Dark roasts, a lot of sugar or other additives often mask the poor quality of the beans used, which would not be a pleasure as pure black coffee.
The “Third wave” Finally, one of which is also the Craft Coffee, begun in the 1990’s and only slowly conquered the market. Transparency in the cultivation conditions, ecological and social responsibility that the organic and Fairtrade seals brought about are the first steps of this movement and the cornerstone of craft coffee.
But there is more to it. It is no longer enough just to improve the growing conditions or to cultivate old varieties and to fall back on limited beans. Craft coffee has become a culture. In the cafés or increasingly also at home, coffee brewing is celebrated again based on transparency, referring to the times of the “first wave” and before.
A triad: the craft coffee idea
Craft coffee is made up of a triad. Firstly, the growing conditions and the choice of variety, secondly, the drying and roasting methods, and thirdly, the innovative and traditional brewing methods that are able to tickle different aromas from the beans.
While the first part has already been illuminated, we now turn to the second part. The coffee beans are in a fruit shell that must be removed before further processing. There are several methods for this that have a lasting effect on the taste of the bean. Therefore, the craft coffee drinker is also interested in how the beans were dried. The same applies to roasting. Different temperatures and especially the time change the taste. Conventional coffee must be processed as cheaply as possible and is therefore roasted in a few minutes at high temperatures. High quality coffee, on the other hand, takes a lot of time.
True craft fans go to small roasting plants that do not produce hundreds of kilos but just a few at a time. In this way, the customer can influence the time and degree of roast himself and later enjoy the coffee according to his taste. And this idea is inherent: craft coffee is not a mass product that should be enjoyed by as many as possible, on the contrary, something very individual. The pleasure seeker dares again to follow his own wishes and his palate instead of trusting the guidelines of the industry.
The third part of the craft idea deals with the brewing methods themselves. Simply pushing a capsule into the machine is a thing of the past and sweetened beans are not part of the movement either. The focus is on pure beans and so the craft coffee is initially black and without additives. Of course there are also variations and milk coffees, but the basic idea can be found in black coffee. This is the best way to detect the different aromas. The coffee drinker suddenly finds an aroma that he never thought possible. Different acid structures meet chocolate, plum, floral nuances and much more. Depending on the bean and the type of preparation, the trained barista can conjure up a black coffee that no longer needs any additives.
Craft coffee: brewing with a difference
There are two very different approaches to brewing. One reflects on long-gone traditions, such as the “pour over” from the times of the “first wave”. The hot water is not pressed through the coffee powder with pressure, but it is given time to slowly flow through it. But other methods such as “cold brew” are reminiscent of the past, this time of the 17th century when coffee was prepared in this way in Japan.
The second approach is dedicated to something new, often based on old traditions. “Cold Drip”, for example, is similar to “Cold Brew” , but is even slower because the water only reaches the coffee powder in droplets. But also the soaking of the beans in cold water to flush out bitter substances, or the nitro coffee , which creates a particularly creamy consistency , are elements of the new era.
The equipment for brewing does not seem to come from the past. Many cafes in the craft scene almost look like laboratories and awaken an innovative charm. More and more enthusiasts are bringing the equipment home and celebrating their skills and enjoyment of a pure craft coffee here alone or with friends and relatives.
- Craft coffee is a trend from the USA
- The focus is on the purity of the beans
- Communication with and information for the customer are an integral part
- Roasting and brewing methods unleash many flavors from high quality beans
- Craft coffee is available in cafes as well as at home