To some, coffee is something like a delicacy, and these aficionados take extra time to seek out the best coffee joints as they traverse the world. Others equip their kitchens with coffee makers and other paraphernalia to craft the best self-brewed cup of joe in the comfort of their own home. And in this digital era, coffee draws people out to offline gatherings. In short, the way contemporary society consumes coffee is nothing short of a craze. And it wouldn’t be overreaching to say that coffee is the only beverage with such a significant social and cultural influence for as long as it has. One of my interviewees, a businessman from California, said, “the US was built on coffee.”
This coffee craze has largely been propelled forward by certain coffee houses or brands, rather than by the coffee itself. Blue Bottle Coffee, featured in this issue, is the leading coffee brand behind the beverage’s phenomenal popularity for the last decade. As a frontrunner of specialty coffee—which is regarded as the third wave of coffee—Blue Bottle Coffee managed to create its own distinctive tastes and improve the entire coffee experience. Thanks to the brand’s concerted efforts, the high-end coffee industry has seen incredible growth over the years. Harking back to our publication seven years ago, B also covered Intelligentsia, another specialty coffee brand that is often referenced alongside Blue Bottle.