Rather than the darkly roasted coffee popularized by Starbucks–the emblem of “second wave” coffee–third-wave roasters cook the raw green beans lightly, to bring out their distinctive profiles. Brewing for peak flavor requires scientific precision: how finely or coarsely to grind a particular strain of bean, steeped in how much water and at what temperature. All this adds up to a cup of black coffee so dimensional, they believe, that there’s no need to pollute it with milk or sweeteners–and so valuable that it can earn a price tag as hefty as $7 a cup.
Once mainstream consumers are educated on the intricacies of a product, they choose the better experience even if it costs a little more.
The preference for carefully crafted products over commodization is moving through all industries.