The coffee industry is brewing up a 3rd batch of buzzy beaneries

A number of coffee startups are brewing up a big business by offering craft coffee at premium prices.


December 3, 2019

A number of craft-coffee startups are growing fast and raising big bucks to challenge Big Bean barons like Starbucks and Dunkin’.

And, as Fast Company reports, these craft-coffee companies are also brewing up some big business: The craft-coffee industry is expected to heat up from $35B in 2018 to $85B by 2025.

These so-called 3rd-wave coffee roasters offer bougie beans and prices that’re bound to burn some tongues: Blue Bottle sells its joe for as much as $16 a cup.

So, what does ‘3rd wave’ even mean?

According to the world’s condescending caffeine-oisseurs, there have already been 2 waves of coffee consumption.

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The 1st wave of caffeine consumption was the instant-coffee revolution: Big brands like Folgers and Maxwell House made it possible for caffeine junkies to consume bean juice in the comfort of their own homes.

The 2nd wave of caffeine consumption was the explosion of on-the-go options: Coffee chains like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts (now Dunkin’), Peet’s Coffee, and Tim Hortons built massive networks of easily accessible coffee shops.

The 3rd wave is taking a page out of beer’s playbook and transforming beloved, basic beverages from commodities into premium products by increasing variety and branding new brews as “craft.”

Which craft-coffee companies are brewing?

Some craft-coffee companies are now owned (or partially owned) by bigger businesses: Blue Bottle sold a majority stake to Nestlé for $425m.

Others, however, have chosen to remain independent and raise money from outside investors: Philz has raised $75m so far.

Here’s a rundown of some craft-coffee companies vying to become caffeine’s next kingpins:

  • Ritual
  • Stumptown
  • Verve
  • Intelligentsia
  • Chameleon Cold Brew
  • Wandering Bear
  • Bulletproof

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