The 5th Wave of Coffee: New Era of Business

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
The 5th Wave of Coffee New Era of Business

The 5th wave of coffee: 5th, 5th waveth Wave TM reflects an influential new era of retail luxury small-store service that is spreading and is the modern ideology that shapes the business trends of the global coffee industry.

To put it more simply, the fifth wave refers to continuous quality improvement to achieve successful business results, sustainability, and customer-centricity. The 5th wave of coffee is considered to be the culmination of previous waves of coffee industry development. During this period, new changes in business philosophy appeared. If you are a person in the coffee industry or a true “believer” in coffee, let’s join Helena Coffee Vietnam to update the latest news!

1. An overview of the development journey of the coffee industry 

1.1 The first coffee wave – Traditional coffee culture (20th century)

The early days of the coffee market.

During this period, coffee was still traditionally served by roasting as a food. Its quality is ranked according to purity and strength of taste. Coffee is usually drunk simply with sugar and milk or without using any other additives. Although it was widely used in Europe at that time, this drink was not yet the focus of product research and development.

1.2 The 2nd Coffee Wave – Brand Chain (Since the 1990s)

In the second wave, consumers have the opportunity to experience the service more carefully in terms of both taste and enjoyment. Coffee is roasted more and more delicately, the taste and quality are also gradually improved. 

The 5th Wave of Coffee: New Era of Business. Starbucks – one of the coffee brands that paved the way for the second wave of coffee.

Around 1970, the introduction of the Starbucks brand chain made the big move into the second wave of coffee. In particular, in the 1990s, coffee shop chains such as Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee became a trend to attract young people, opening up a whole new market. Coffee is served in a special space with a romantic atmosphere. This wave has opened up a bright future – when coffee becomes a popular and widely used beverage around the world. 

1.3 The 3rd Coffee Wave – Craft Coffee (Mid 2000s)

The history of the coffee industry welcomed the rise of artisanal coffee in the mid-2000s.

This is the period when customers gradually become aware of the importance of how coffee is grown and produced, affecting human health and the environment. Therefore, organic and pure coffee products are increasingly popular. Hand-crafted coffee takes the throne. At the same time, information on origin, origin or preliminary processing… is also provided transparently.

1.4 The 4th Coffee Wave – The Science of Coffee (Mid 2010s)

Continuing the history of the coffee industry, in the 2010s, coffee was no longer an emotional product, but was considered a product of scientific value. With the cooperation of coffee associations around the world, the coffee industry has set evaluation standards such as SCA and CQI to support the comprehensive development of the coffee industry.

Science of Coffee
Learning about coffee roasting helps you know how to distinguish and evaluate beans.

When using fermentation preliminary methods, coffee is continuously improved in taste and exploits new potentials. The coffee industry also gradually appeared more inventions of analytical equipment and tools, which created stability for coffee quality.

2. The 5th Coffee Wave – The Sublimation of Business Strategies

2.1 Where is the origin of the 5th wave of coffee?

The concept of the 5th Coffee Wave was developed by consulting firm Allegra Strategies and finalized on the World Coffee Portal after two decades of research and analysis. Wave 5 is considered the culmination of previous waves of industry development.

2.2 Discovering a new era of coffee industry

The 5th wave represents a new era of consistent high-quality scaling to achieve sustainable coffee business results. At this stage, we need to take leaps and bounds in terms of business vision, product quality, customer experience, and individual investment models. 

Join Helena Coffee Vietnam to update the history of the coffee industry through the 5th wave of coffee.

Based on this, businesses in the coffee business need to focus more on customers to give them the most impressive experience in terms of both service and product taste. This will certainly be a difficult problem because today, businesses need to meet the needs of a group of people who enjoy unique personalities like Gen Z.

2.3 The “ideal” business mindset to join the new wave

Businesses in the 5th coffee wave today have been clear in defining their target audience and constantly providing unique experiences. In particular, these entrepreneurs also possess the mindset of constantly striving for perfection, meticulous engineering and fine-tuning every process.

For effective operations, brand operators must be ambitious business professionals with an understanding of human culture and sound systems and processes. They invest in seamless technology, have a clear direction in the training path to conquer customer experience satisfaction. All because of the ease but because of their passion for the coffee business.

2.4 Quality requirements

Quality and scale can be relative. In wave 5, it is not necessary that a product needs to be too expensive, nor does it need to expand into hundreds of stores.

Cupping – One of the important skills to evaluate the quality of coffee beans.

Improving the quality of interactions with customers requires high discipline, acumen and constant innovation. More specifically, the 5th wave is not only encapsulated in the coffee sector. Many other industries (from retail and restaurants to sports and technology) also recognize that the need of this era is to scale up quality and enhance the customer experience. Only then can we maintain a competitive advantage in the fierce market.

In the coffee sector, brands such as Blue Bottle Coffee, Bluestone Lane, Caravan Coffee Roasters and many others are examples of smart businesses setting new standards for quality and customer engagement. row.

The journey to become true coffee experts with Helena Coffee Vietnam.

In short, you can identify the 5th wave through:

  • Small coffee shops, carefully invested in design space with attractive concepts, diverse products, attractive display forms.
  • Constantly striving to improve to become more perfect.
  • Commercialize products with incremental value (no discount).
  • Customer-centric.
  • Constantly investing in human resources quality and new technology to “realize” the above.

What is the 5th wave?

The fifth wave concept was developed by consultancy Allegra Strategies and refined in the Allegra World Coffee Portal after two decades of research and analysis. The fifth wave is the culmination of all four previous waves in the development of the coffee industry. The first wave depicted traditional coffee drinking in the 20th century.

It reflects different cultures and geographical regions throughout history – characteristic of the second wave in the early development of lifestyle-based brands such as Starbucks Coffee Company. The third wave is characterized by handcrafted coffee. The fourth wave is characterized by coffee science.

Each wave period has its value, contributing significantly to the deep layer and the rise of coffee enjoyment.

The fifth wave reflects the times we live in, representing the dramatic change in vision and practice required to satisfy the desires, needs, and aspirations of thousands of people today who are wise, knowledgeable, and always associated with technology and meeting the future Generation Z.

Today’s 5th-wave businesses deliver inspiring experiences with dedicated service to clearly defined target customers. These pioneering enterprises are very commercial, have a constantly thriving mind towards excellent quality, meticulously accurate technology, and distill each process.

These businesses are characterized by professional, business-minded, well-invested, ambitious people who understand the critical role of culture, systems, and training throughout, investing in perfect and convenient technology development – not for light work, But with the desire to conquer the positive experience of customers.

The quality and scale may be relative. The fifth wave isn’t necessarily a costly offering, nor does it extend to hundreds of sales places.

Improving customer interaction requires a consistent code of conduct, extraordinary patience, natural talent, and constant innovation.

The fifth wave is not limited to the coffee industry. Many other industries are acutely aware that today’s era requires improving the quality and customer experience to maintain a competitive advantage.

These industries range from retail services to restaurants, hotels, and exercise to technology. In the coffee industry, brands such as Blue Bottle, Bluestone Lane, Caravan, Department of Coffee, and many others, are examples of intelligent businesses that create new standards of quality and engagement with customers.

Similarly, the Starbucks Reserve concept adds a new dimension to the customer experience in the largest coffee company in the world.

The definitions and characteristics of the companies in the fifth wave will be further detailed in the future. This is just the beginning of the journey. Keep an eye on the significant strides in the growth of coffee shops around the globe.


Coffee waves have given consumers more choices. At the same time, providing coffee lovers with many interesting experiences in terms of both taste and enjoyment space. The development of the coffee industry also puts pressure on manufacturers and coffee shops to constantly improve quality, thereby launching more excellent products to the market.


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