A late Breakfast this morning – an egg and bacon roll with a coffee at The Plan Café, Cardiff. Incense was wafting from the Fairtrade shops along the Morgan Arcade; I was in the mood for trying out something on the specialist coffee menu.
Trevor, who makes the coffee in The Plan Café, is among a group of professional baristas who have pioneered 'Third Wave Coffee’ in the UK (first wave was freeze-dried coffee and second wave was global gourmet coffee in chains like Starbucks). Coined in 2002, ‘Third Wave Coffee’ refers to the coffee sold in independent coffee shops that consider it a high-quality artisanal drink rather a commodity. Innovation is the key, and improvements at all stages of coffee production - from growing, processing, roasting to brewing - are exploited (e.g., new techniques for fresh roasting or micro-roasting).
Third Wave Coffee houses invite you to appreciate subtleties of flavour, and to be aware of different bean varieties and growing regions (in a similar way to how wines are appreciated). The menu in a Third Wave Coffee shop will therefore list specialty coffees in terms of single-origin (down to the name of an estate in a particular country). Freshly-roasted beans and cutting-edge equipment are the order of the day.
Today at The Plan Café, I ordered Ethiopian: Kelenso Mokanisa from the Seasonal Coffee for Cafeteria menu: “Notes of sweet citrus, apricot, stone fruit, cocoa and florals. A delicious washed coffee from this cooperative in the Sidano region, composed of heirloom varietals. An organic and Fair Trade branded coffee.” It indeed had an attractively deep and subtle fruity flavour, and was refreshingly different from your average coffee. I shall be returning to work my way down the menu. Other coffees are sourced from estates in Indonesia, Tanzania and India (and supplied by James' Gourmet Coffees of Ross-on-Wye).
The Plan Café, 28-29 Morgan Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1AF
Trevor is passionate about coffee, as is evident from his fascinating blog:
Further reading on ‘third wave coffee shops’:
The Independent’s 50 Best Coffee Shops in the UK (No. 47: The Plan Café):
Previous post on The Plan Café
James' Gourmet Coffees: