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Article: History of the Coffeehouse Part 4 | The Modern Coffeehouse

Coffee Culture

History of the Coffeehouse Part 4 | The Modern Coffeehouse

Haven’t read part 3 of this series? Click here to catch up!

The Evolution of the Modern Coffeehouse

The evolution of the modern coffeehouse starts with Alfred Peet’s work in bringing specialty coffee to the public and turning coffee roasting into an art form. From there, independent coffeehouses sprang up, but it wasn’t until Starbucks, and their model for fast-growing coffeehouses that provided arabica beans to the general public did we see a significant expansion in modern coffeehouse culture. Starbucks grew to such familiarity that they even removed the word coffee from their logo. I can speculate and assume they removed it to expand beyond coffee, but the reality is when you see the logo, you think coffee. Their rapid growth caused three significant shifts in the coffee culture:

  1. Made specialty coffee widely available.
  2. Offered customers a variety of options for coffee drinks.
  3. Spread the coffeehouse culture nationally at a rapid pace.

Alfred Peet distanced himself from the Starbucks founders, who he mentored because they experimented with darker roasts that were a departure from what he taught them. That distancing indicates that there are different ways of roasting and enjoying coffee and that the spectrum of flavors may indeed have a wide range. This idea would encourage and spur the development of different ways of roasting and enjoying coffee.

The Spread of Specialty Coffee

With the expansion of specialty coffee into American mainstream culture, those that wanted to give customers a different experience now could. As local roasting expanded, so did a wider variety of coffeehouses. Local, more modern coffeehouses that provided high quality and a different experience began to rise. Today, some coffee shops roast their beans onsite, or some procure from local roasters. There are more options for coffee and coffeehouses than there were just 20 years ago. Coffee shops have evolved to such an extent that even drive-thru is now commonplace. The pioneering spirit and the free market opened the floodgates of however you want to sell and drink coffee.

All around, everyone benefits from this development. Those that grow coffee all over the world have more people to sell to. Those that roast have more coffee producers to choose from. Those that roast and sell can provide a unique product, unlike the coffee from large chain coffeehouses. The options are endless. When I worked at a chain coffee shop many years ago, I could not have predicted that I would someday become a home roaster. At that time, I couldn’t even tell you how to get unroasted beans. Now I get them from Sagebrush Unroasted, but that’s a story for another time.

Welcome to the Sagebrush Coffee Shop

It’s been a busy 50 years for coffee, and after all the shifts and change and growth, the stage is set for us to offer a unique and excellent coffee experience. If you know anything about Sagebrush, you know that in 2012 Sagebrush opened as an online shop to provide the highest quality of specialty roasted coffee. Later on, the home roaster, like myself, could also take advantage of obtaining the best unroasted coffee to roast at home. 

July 1st, 2021, marked the opening day of the Sagebrush Coffee Shop with a wide variety of unique drinks in the Phoenix metro area in Arizona. Sagebrush stands on the foundation of producers who farm and distribute coffee with precision and excellence, roasters who have taken the arabica bean to its highest level of flavor, and coffee masters that have shared their coffee expertise with people across the nation and the world. Sagebrush Coffee has been primed to showcase what it has to offer to the coffee-loving world.

Through centuries of change and generations gone by, coffeehouses have and still bring people together and symbolize the culture and people. People still congregate at coffeehouses for work, social interactions, political discussions, or just to enjoy a cup of coffee. If you followed our History of the Coffeehouse Series, it was written to bring you to this moment. It’s our turn now to add to that rich history and invite you to come to the Sagebrush Coffee Shop. Take part in continuing the centuries-old tradition of visiting a coffeehouse.

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