Not too long ago, one of my relatives shared a meme on social media that stated, “The fact one must make coffee without having first had coffee is proof we live in an unjust, chaotic universe.” My response noted that this is why I opt for cold brew coffee as I can just pour and enjoy. My affinity for cold brew coffee aligns me with what Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, has identified as part of the fourth wave of the U.S. coffee market.

In an Aug. 23 blog post titled “Coffee enters its fourth wave: What it means for retail and foodservice coffee brands,” Bryant details that cool brews, bottom up innovation and new approaches to coffee marketing are making up this fourth wave.

“The coffee market is now entering its fourth wave, marked by Gen Z’s unique coffee preferences and the growth of at-home specialty coffee drinks,” he wrote.

Among the components that will make up this new wave includes a backlash to the third wave ― the rise of craft coffee, primarily driven by coffee shops. Although consumers might be stepping back from craft coffee shops, Bryant notes that outsider brands are being embraced. 

This could bode well for retail sales Bryant noted, “Increased interest in premium at home coffee experiences will drive retail coffee sales and offer both coffee brands and complementary coffee categories key growth opportunities.”

In this realm of premium outsiders is Volcanica Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster that imports more than 150 exotic coffees from volcanic regions around the world. The company recently announced its new Exotic Coffee Sampling Collection. The collection was compiled by Volcanica Coffee’s experts to provide an opportunity to try rare and exotic coffees from the world’s top volcanic regions, the company says. 

“Experiencing a variety of new exotic coffees is an exciting adventure so we created the sampling collection for java lovers that want to try an assortment of rare coffees at a fraction of the cost,” said Maurice Contreras, founder and CEO of Volcanica Coffee, in a statement. “We receive a lot of requests from customers wanting to sample coffees from different countries before ordering an entire bag.” 

The cool brew aspect of this coffee wave also is seeing more options. This past summer, Verve Coffee Roasters launched its ready-to-drink (RTD) Flash Brew Oatmilk Lattes in three flavors: The Original, Chocolate and Honey Lavender. Initially available in all 13 Verve cafes in California, they also can be found on Verve‘s website, Amazon and in grocery retailers.

“We make thousands of delicious lattes every day between all of our cafes, putting us in the best possible position to bring a ready-to-drink product to market that uses the same high quality ingredients that we use at retail,” said Colby Barr, co-founder of Verve Coffee Roasters, in a statement at the time of the release. “Our team has been working to perfect our Flash Brew Oatmilk Latte recipe for several years to ensure it is unlike anything anyone has tasted.”

Neophyte coffee consumers will determine where this latest wave of the coffee market goes, but it looks like the “cool outsiders” are here for the onset.