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Third Wave Coffee Cafés in St. Petersburg, Russia

First, a bit of history. First wave coffee was "just coffee" – a mere commodity product – sometimes invigorating but rarely worth discussing, much less writing home about. Second wave coffee, sold mostly through chains like Starbucks, added some elements of sophistication - for example, highlighting the country of origin for beans and introducing a variety of quirkily named drinks, many with milk and other additives. But it was the "third wave" that finally made coffee into a bona fide gourmet product.

At a minimum, you should expect your drink to be made – by a professional barista, konechno – of high-quality 100% Arabica beans, often of so-called "single origin". The coffee can be served with or without milk. Most cafés offer one or more lactose-free milk substitutes in the form of almond, coconut, soy, or oat milk. Real milk-based drinks should be prepared with so-called micro-foam; this is done for taste, but the one obvious sign of milk being foamed correctly is the barista's ability, upon the assembly, to add a simple and usually playful drawing, such as a heart, an apple, or something along these lines. Cut the barista a little slack, however, if you've ordered your cappuccino / latte with one of the nut-based milks: they are extremely tough (in fact, nearly impossible) to make adequate microfoam with.

Of course, your coffee should taste like the premium product you're paying for (otherwise, your local bulochnaya can offer a cup for less than 40 rubles). Speaking of prices, the price of a cup of third-wave coffee is usually 1.5 to 3 times higher compared to its more banal equivalents. As of 2020, a "third-wave" cappuccino (in small size) will cost you at least 130 rubles (just under $2) and likely more (R150-200 being the more typical range; add an extra R50 for a fancy milk replacement). Hey, nobody said gourmet experience had to be affordable! But with some research, you can at least make it enjoyable. AAA

The Cafés

  1. Bonch
  2. Double B - Kronversky
  3. Double B - Vladimirsky
  4. Kofe na Kukhne
  5. Smena
  6. Soobschestvo

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Link to self: Third Wave Coffee Cafés in St. Petersburg, Russia

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