The 4th Wave of Coffee

The 4th Wave reflects an influential new era of consumer and producer empowerment built on P2C (Producer-to-Consumer), the latest ideology shaping business trends across the global specialty coffee industry.

Producer-to-Consumer Sparks the Next Wave The 4th Wave of Coffee

4th Wave of Coffee

Table of contents

Evolution of Specialty Coffee (p.3) Waves of the coffee culture P2C sparks the 4th wave

Market Insights (p. 15) Meet Next Gens Next-Gen spending spending power Digital habits

Technology (p. 7) Bridging connections First mover advantage Benefits

4th wave coffee (p.23) Meet the Farmer® Bwe Kafe Muchacha Coffee Innovators

©️ 2024 - ifinca LLC

Evolution of specialty coffee

Waves of the coffee culture

The term 'wave of coffee' denotes successive movements in the coffee industry, marking significant shifts in global coffee culture and social discourse. Coined by Trish Rothgeb in 2002 in the Roasters Guild Publication, these waves outline three significant movements in coffee mass production and distribution.

They encompass changes in sourcing and growing coffee beans and advancements in packaging and roasting techniques, reflecting evolving practices and consumer expectations in the industry.

Traditional Coffee Culture (20th Century): This era was dominated by commodity-driven coffee consumption. Bulk brewed coffee was the norm, and instant coffee offered a convenient alternative.

Branded Chains (1970's): The rise of branded coffee chains like Starbucks offered a more standardized and accessible coffee experience. Espresso-based beverages became increasingly popular.

Artisan Coffee (2000): The third wave of coffee, which began in the mid-2000s, saw a surge in specialty coffee. This wave emphasized quality, origin, and craft brewing methods.

P2C sparks the 4th wave

The 4th Wave reflects an influential new era of consumer and producer empowerment built on P2C (Producer-to- Consumer), the latest ideology shaping business trends across the global specialty coffee industry. This new trend is a unique consumer experience that aims to achieve highly successful, customer-centric, direct relationships with coffee producers worldwide. "The Next Wave of coffee focuses on consumer and Producer empowerment through P2C, fostering direct, customer- centric relationships with coffee producers for a unique and engaging consumer experience."


Producer-to-Consumer ( P2C ) involves connecting consumers directly with producers through technology, enhancing transparency, building trust, supporting ethical practices, and enriching customer experience. This direct relationship meets new consumer demand for innovation, creativity, and community, giving coffee a greater value. Consumers are more informed and engaged, creating a deeper connection with the coffee products and the people behind them. "Empower your consumers by connecting them directly with producers through technology to enhance transparency, build trust, support ethical practices, and enrich the customer experience."


Eliminate the time and cost associated with verifying coffee origins, only to receive unreliable data.

Provide your clients with real-time access to comprehensive coffee data and tap into a global market of buyers seeking transparency and traceability.

Don't be part of the 98% who greenwash their claims. Stand out with genuine, verifiable coffee data.

"Stand out with real-time, verifiable coffee data, eliminating the costs and uncertainties of origin verification, and attract global buyers who value transparency and traceability over greenwashing."

Bridging connections

With a simple scan of the on-product QR code, unlock the power of transparency and authenticity with "Meet the Farmer®" technology for your specialty coffee business. This innovative platform connects you directly with the farmers who cultivate your coffee, providing real-time access to comprehensive data about their farming practices, sustainability efforts, and personal stories. Offering a fully traceable coffee experience enhances your brand's integrity and builds customer trust. Stand out in the crowded market by showcasing your commitment to ethical sourcing and quality, fostering a deeper connection between your customers and those behind their favorite brew.

"Unlock transparency and authenticity in your specialty coffee business with 'Meet the Farmer®’ technology. This innovation connects your company to a new untouched market of a consumer seeking connectivity with the producers of their products.”

First Mover Advantages

Being a first mover in this untouched new market space allows a company to establish it’s an industry leader and build a strong reputation for trust and integrity. This pioneering position also provides a significant competitive advantage, attracting discerning consumers who value ethical and transparent business practices. Achieve up to 15% increase in margins per cup or bag by capitalizing on the high consumer demand for fully traceable coffee.

"Position your company as an leader and build a reputation for trust and integrity by entering a new market space, gaining a competitive advantage, attracting new consumers who value ethical practices.”


P2C offers substantial benefits for specialty coffee businesses by enhancing transparency and authenticity. It provides real-time access to data on farming practices, sustainability efforts, and personal stories of coffee farmers. This strengthens your brand's integrity and, builds customer trust, and fosters more profound connections between you and your customers. As a first mover, you'll attract discerning coffee lovers. Notably, 89% of consumers are likelier to remain loyal to a brand or retailer offering traceable and transparent coffee. “Build lasting relationships with customers through transparency, trust, storytelling, and brand identity, along with economic impact.“


1. Transparency and Trust:

Importance: Building trust is essential in the specialty coffee market. Consumers want to know the origin of their coffee, the farmers, and the overall ethical considerations involved in the coffee’s journey. Value: When coffee companies provide transparent information and connect consumers directly with producers, it fosters trust and loyalty. Consumers are more likely to support brands they trust and believe in, leading to long-term customer relationships.


Storytelling & Brand Indentity 2.

Importance: Today’s consumers value authentic stories behind the products they buy. Knowing the story of the coffee’s journey from farm to cup adds emotional value to the purchase. Value: Brands that connect consumers and producers can tell compelling stories about the people and processes behind their coffee. This strengthens brand identity and differentiates the brand in the market.



Economic Impact

Importance: Supporting direct trade can positively impact the economies of coffee- producing regions, leading to sustainable development and better living standards for producers. Value: Consumers are increasingly aware of their purchasing power and its impact on global economies. Brands facilitating direct connections can leverage this awareness to enhance their reputation and appeal to socially conscious consumers.

Marketing Insights

Introducing the Next Gens

How Consumers Spend

4th Wave Coffee

Meet the 3 Gens

Gen Z

1997 - 2012

Aged 12-27


1981 - 1996

Aged 28-43

Gen X and older

Before 1981

Aged 44+

The Next Gens

The Next Gens Index is an economic outlook on consumer spending and 4 ᵗʰ wave coffee. The insights provided recognize the growing power of younger generations in the economy, and how their behaviors and preferences are shaping the future of commerce.

The Index consists of two components:

How Consumers Spend: Explore overall consumer spending by each generation. 4 ᵗʰ Wave Coffee: Deep-dive into the spending trends of digital customers, which shares the trend for the demands for digital coffee experience.

NexGen Spending

Key takeaways on how consumers spend

Gen Z and Millennials are becoming a powerful force in the economy Gen Z and Millennials currently account for 38% of the total retail spend in the United States. Their share of retail spend will grow to 52% by 2030.

Spending by Gen Z & Millennials is now above pre-Covid levels The COVID-19 crisis took a heavy toll on consumer spending but spending by Gen Z & Millennials has recovered fast. Their level of spending is now 20% above pre-COVID levels.

“Gen Zers have a spending power of over $160 billion, and it's driving the frenzy of retailers and brands trying to win their dollars.” Business Insider

Millennials and younger generations already outnumber older generations

Total population in the US MILLIONS




Millennials, Gen Z & Gen Alpha


Baby Boomers & Gen X










Source: Census Bureau Population projections for United States - Table 3

Millennial and Gen Z share of spend will increase to 55% by 2030

Millennials and Gen Z peak earning years are still to come

Retail spending over time for Millennials and Gen Z $BN, USD










Retail spend by generation in 2023

Retail spend by generation in 2030

2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030 0

Gen Z


Gen X and older

Source: Forecasts based on the University of Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamic 2005-2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics CE Generation Tables, Census Bureau Population projections for United States - analysis by CoffeeChain as part of Accenture Note : Retail expenditure

Insights to NexGen digital habits

Consumer Facts:

First digitally native generations.

They are a massive audience with high expectations of brands' conduct and sustainability.

New marketing strategy is to be telling a powerful, distinctive story that talks to the customer in the most relevant way possible and leaves a lasting impression. These shoppers are willing to pay more for items that offer a unique buying experience. According to Charles Schwab, 60% would buy a cup of coffee that costs more than $5.

4 ᵗʰ wave drivers

Consumer Drivers:

4 out of 5 companies agree that retaining loyal customers is cheaper than acquiring new prospects. (The Circular Board) 67% say that their purchase decisions are driven by a brand’s values and transparency. (Source: Morning Consult) 89% would be more loyal to a brand or retailer that sells coffee verified by an independent, third-party company. A 5% rise in customer retention can lead to a 75% increase in company profitability. (The Circular Board)

Bwe Kafe forges connections between customers and coffee producers

ifinca partnered with bwe Kafe to enable their customers, for the first time, to connect directly with the producers who grew their coffee. Enabling bwe kafe to seamlessly share information about the coffee and farmers. Honesty is in bwe’s DNA!

First fully woman-owned coffee supply chain

ifinca partnered with Muchacha to verify that it is the first-ever coffee brand using a supply chain where every member is a woman-owned company.

Sourcing exclusively from women producers in Central & South America.

Empowering Women, One Cup at a Time!

Hey Coffee Innovators

The time for action is now. The market won’t wait and neither should you. Take advantage of our limited-time offer for a new ifinca partnership.

Ready, Set, Brew Profit! |

Scan the QR code!

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