Coffee is commonly seen as a commodity, not as an artisanal must-have culinary experience. Despite common belief, there is a current movement to produce high-quality coffee to resemble the uniqueness wine and food enthusiasts enjoy. Through this, the “Third Wave of Coffee” has been born.
Baristas have expanded upon the basic black coffee or “cream and sugar, please” to “venti, non-fat, no-foam, extra-hot, vanilla latte” and “may I have steamed-milk art on top?” The third wave of coffee involves all stages of production from improving the planting of the coffee bean to harvesting and processing it in different ways to create a variety of flavors. The goal of the third wave movement is to form a high culinary appreciation of coffee so that there can be varietal subtleties sensed like flavor and growing region. A major pillar in this coffee movement — latte art.
It’s no longer just about the taste of the coffee — it’s about the look of it as well. Latte art is attracting a whole new consumer who isn’t the typical early-morning Starbucks customer. Many visit locally-owned coffee shops to have the chance to merely admire a beautiful milk drawing on top of their warm beverage. This is one advantage to being a mid-day coffee drinker and visiting an independent coffeehouse in town. The ones who take the time to pour a picture on top of a foamy drink are worth coming back for — for it is no simple task. Instead of going into the details of how to create latte art, here’s a list of places to visit in Columbia to purchase the not-so-average “Cup of Joe.”
Café Strudel (West Columbia): 300 State St.
Drip Coffee (Downtown and Five Points locations): 1441 Main St. and 729 Saluda Ave.
Immaculate Consumption (Downtown): 933 Main St.
Wired Goat Café (Chapin): 256 Columbia Ave.