Third Wave Wichteln - International Coffee Exchange
Here at London’s Best Coffee we’ve always loved the concept of Third Wave Wichteln. In its essence, this international Christmas coffee exchange is pure do it yourself coffee education. It’s a way to spread coffee knowledge and love. A wichteln is a German Christmas elf and Third Wave Wichteln is like a secret Santa. Markus Reuter, Thorsten Keller and Andre Kruger conceived the Third Wave Wichteln in December 2013 as a grassroots, Instagram based project that relied mostly on hobbyists exchanging great coffee. Over three years, it has grown into a huge operation, still run by amateur hobbyists and using mostly Facebook and Instagram to connect people to their website, blog and now crowd-sourced international coffee map.
There were 362 participants in the 2013 exchange. 2016 saw 1572 coffee enthusiasts exchanging coffees from 53 countries around the globe. There are over 5000 members of the Facebook group. If you sign up, you get sent a recipient’s address, that might be anywhere in the world. You agree to send freshly roasted beans to that address, according to the rules below. Some people also add small gifts or information but this is optional. Whether you receive anything back or not depends on trust as it just depends who is given your address. Every year, we have been successful and have received great coffee from Germany and the US but there is no guarantee and no system (or possible system given the lack of funding involved). You might just receive nothing, or like some – receive commodity coffee or ground coffee…but every year more people get the message, And the seasonal joy is in the giving.
This year Third Wave Wichteln is sponsored Comandante grinders, the World Aeropress Championship, and multimedia design company present progressive. Look out for a special Comandante competition of the Third Wave Wichteln. You can sign up for the 2016 Wichteln at http://thirdwavewichteln.com/. The deadline to sign up this year is December 5th. You need to be aware of the rules: you must send filter roast coffee beans (not espresso roast or capsules or ground). Coffee must be third wave speciality – i.e. not dark roast or commodity, it must be single origin rather than a blend and it must be freshly roasted, preferably within five days of purchase. No decaf. Check the website for more information. Join in, and then you can enjoy the Third Wave Wichteln cuppings (coffee tastings) in January.
The team between Third Wave Wichteln also produced the Third Wave Coffee Places map which is global, crowd sourced coffee map. We can’t vouch for all of the places on it but it has proved a valuable resource on our global travels.
Come join in Third Wave Wichteln and be part of a growing coffee sharing movement.
Image courtesy thirdwavewichteln.com
Article by Phil Wain - Editor