The Art of Craft Coffee


The culture of coffee is changing, in a good way. More and more cafés are striving to serve higher quality coffee, and consumers are into it. Coffee drinkers are excited to learn about coffee origins, to taste unique natural flavor notes, and to try new brew methods or specialty drink recipes. In this post, we break down some terminology used to talk about these coffee trends and describe our aspirations as a craft coffee business.

In the United States, we are in what is known as the third wave of coffee, which describes the third major shift in coffee culture in our history. The first wave roughly represents when coffee became a staple in the home of the average American. (Think Folgers.) In order to make coffee so widely available and affordable, however, coffee was treated as a cheap commodity product, and it lacked in quality and taste. The second wave of coffee came as coffee shop culture spread, turning coffee into not just a staple but also a luxury drink. (Think Starbucks. In fact, thank Starbucks. Like it or not, they were a pivotal player in getting the consumer demand for coffee culture to where it is today.) After the second wave, coffee aficionados saw potential for an even more elevated and involved coffee experience, and that brings us to the third wave.

The third wave of coffee is what has brought us specialty coffee, a term that is used to describe coffee that has met the highest standards of quality in each part of the coffee process. Strong partnerships are created between the farmers, green coffee buyers, roasters, baristas, and consumers, which often promotes more sustainable and ethical practices. Care and attention to detail every step of the way results in the ability to bring out the most complex and enjoyable flavors from the coffee beans. Drinking specialty coffee can allow us to learn about the land that the coffee came from and the journey it took. While we are fortunate to live in the Triangle of NC, where specialty coffee is almost becoming a norm, in many less populated areas of the U.S. and around the world, specialty coffee is still a novelty.

Here at Apt N, we also like the term craft coffee. Our partnership with Counter Culture Coffee gives us access to incredibly high quality, unique coffees that have been responsibly sourced and artfully roasted. We use top-notch brewing equipment and appropriate methods for excellent extraction and drink creation. However, it takes more than great beans, great tools and some know-how to serve great coffee. It takes creativity, skill and a passion, and that’s where our craft comes in.

Every member of our team puts that craft to work. Our baristas train with Counter Culture’s professional development program to master the skills of making great coffee. Brewing science, espresso tasting, milk chemistry, and coffee origins are just a few of the many topics that we get to study with other coffee professionals at Counter Culture’s roastery and training center in Durham. When serving coffee, our baristas enjoy sharing that education while helping guests find a coffee they’ll love. We use the inspiration of each season and fresh ingredients to craft our handmade simple syrups for our specialty drinks. Our menus are custom created to perfectly match each event that we cater. Finally, our carefully chosen decor adds the finishing touch to make each experience memorable.

A delicious drink that has a story to tell, served with a smile and sipped in a beautiful setting. . . that is the craft we hope to bring to your coffee. Whether your next cup of coffee is with us, at home, or at your nearby café, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the many hands that crafted it. Even when it is a daily routine, coffee can always be considered a special occasion. 

Emilene Whidbee