HelioRoast is a part of what has come to be called the "third wave" of American coffee consumption. The first wave started after the second World War, and is symbolized by coffee companies such as Hills Brothers, Folgers, Maxwell House, and others who helped to make coffee a common American beverage by making it simple: buy cheap beans, roast them medium, and then grind and ship them to (then-emerging) supermarkets. The specifically American spin on this, of course, was instant coffee.
Second-wave coffee is characterized by dark-roasted beans, which distinguishes them from the sour and thin-bodied results of first-wave roasts. It was initiated in the mid-1960s by Alfred Peet in Berkeley, California. Peet opened small coffee shops in Berkeley and the Bay Area and soon attracted regular customers and followers who appreciated his dark, rich, full-bodied roasts. Starbucks Coffee of Seattle, Washington, was founded by three such followers who initially purchased their beans directly from Peets. The two companies merged for a few years during the 1980s and then separated. Together, Peets and Starbucks helped to popularize coffee as a gourmet food.
Third-wave coffee is a further development of coffee sophistication, emphasizing a deep appreciation for the wide range of flavors available from beans from all over the world, maximizing single-origin complexities as well as cultivar blending at the customer's request, commitment to mid-range roasting as well as darker, commitment to environmental sustainability, and above all, freshness. The latter is achieved by merging "recent roast" with "just-in-time grinding."
In addition, third-wave roasters also promote sustainable incomes for all persons along the production pipeline in order to ensure that we deliver the highest quality bean to you. This allows the growers to live and farm more healthily, eat better foods, in better homes, and send their children to school for more years.
In general, the final stages of the coffee pipeline (from cherry to cup) as practiced by third-wave roasters are the reverse of first- and second-wave processes. Rather than roasting green beans in large centralized roasters and sending them to highly distributed customers, the third wave preserves freshness by sending green beans to highly distributed micro roasters who then deliver them to customers much closer to their zip code and roast day.
With varying degrees of dedication (or aggressiveness), third-wave producers promote lighter roasts as the best way to experience the complex sugar, fruit, berry, herb, nut and cocoa flavors available in coffee. While HelioRoast enthusiastically commends these roasts and tastes to our clients – especially those whose coffee palates were formed by second-wave roasting habits – in the final analysis we want to sell you the coffee that makes your tongue happy. This is why we strongly encourage you to tell us your roasting preferences when you buy from us.
"Think of us as yourself in front of the roaster. And let us know how you're doing!"