Coffee Glossary

There are several terms, descriptors, acronyms, and words used in the coffee industry. Some of the terms can be quite confusing. We have prepared this coffee glossary to help you understand the key terms used in the coffee industry.

woman pouring freshly brewed coffee into a cup

 

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1st Wave of Coffee

The first wave of coffee describes a historical period in the coffee industry during which mass coffee consumption and coffee houses emerged. The first wave dates back to the 1800s. It was the longest coffee wave. During this period, entrepreneurs found a gap in the market for affordable coffee. That’s when coffee houses and coffee brands such as Maxwell House and Folgers emerged.

Unfortunately, the first wave is associated with poor coffee quality. Coffee brands sacrificed quality for mass production and convenience. Most coffees were bitter, super dark, and artificially flavored. Before the 1st wave of coffee, access to coffee was limited to the elites. With the 1st wave, coffee was readily available for mass consumption. The end of the 1st wave is believed to lie between the 1950s and 1970s.

2nd Wave of Coffee

The second wave of coffee is a period during which coffee consumption shifted from a commodity to a coffee culture. The second wave emerged from the 1970s to the 1990s. During this period, coffee houses such as Caribou Coffee and Starbucks emerged to revolutionize the coffee culture. Also, the quality of coffee improved.

Starbucks found a great opportunity to capitalize on the need for higher quality coffee. They introduced a wide variety of ways to enjoy coffee. For instance, Starbucks introduced specialty coffee by mixing coffee with several flavorful ingredients. As more coffee shops emerged in metropolitan areas and cities, coffee lovers found them as ideal places to socialize or escape from the home or office environment.

3rd Wave of Coffee

The 3rd wave of coffee was a term coined in the early 2000s. The third wave focused on finer coffee details such as roast profiles, origins, flavors, and coffee brewing methods. During this wave, coffee lovers focused more on quality and packaging. As a result, packaging started displaying finer details to consumers such as origin, processing method, date of roasting, type of coffee beans, and roast profiles among other details.

4th Wave of Coffee

The fourth wave of coffee is the current coffee wave today. It focuses on the science of coffee and a perfect taste experience. In the fourth wave, there’s more focus on accurate measurements when brewing coffee, a deeper understanding of coffee properties, and the development of advanced brewing equipment. Also, it focuses on commercializing higher quality coffee by ensuring more people access the best coffee.

 

A

AA Coffee

AA is a terminology used in grading coffee. It refers to coffee beans that are larger than the normal size.  It’s a common term in grading Kenyan coffee. For instance, AA beans pass through a Grade 18 sieve but cannot pass through a Grade 16 sieve.

AA+ Coffee

AA+ is a coffee grading terminology for coffee beans larger than AA. Also, AA+ grade is common in Kenya.

AB Coffee

AB is another coffee grading terminology. It comprises a mixture of grade A and grade B coffee beans. In this case, grade A beans are sorted with a 6.8 mm screen whereas grade B beans are sorted with a 6.2 mm screen.  The two grades are mixed to form grade AB.

ACE

ACE is an abbreviation for Alliance for Coffee Excellence. It is a nonprofit organization whose role is to host global coffee auctions and award-winning coffees with a Cup of Excellence.

Aceh

Aceh is a mountainous region in Indonesia where specialty coffee is grown. Aceh coffee is characterized by wood, earth, and fruit notes. Basically, Aceh coffee is processed using a traditional wet hulling process known as gilling basah.

Acidity

Acidity in coffee describes the level of acidity in various coffees. It is determined using a pH scale. Most varieties of coffee are acidic. On average, the pH value of most coffees ranges from 4.85 to 5.10. Acidity is affected by several factors including roasting, brewing, and ground size.

AeroPress

The AeroPress is a manual coffee maker used in making customized coffee brews. It features a piston that is pushed to force coffee through a paper filter and into a cup. It brews a single cup of coffee at a time. Also, it is a portable coffee maker. You can easily carry it along with you when traveling or camping.

Aftertaste/Finish

Aftertaste, also known as finish, is a term used to describe a residual taste that’s left in the mouth after swallowing coffee.

Affogato

An Affogato is a combination of espresso and dessert. Its preparation involves pouring a shot of espresso over ice cream. The two are served in a small glass or a cup. You can eat an Affogato with a spoon. Alternatively, you can stir it to melt the ice cream and drink it.

Aged Coffee

It is coffee that is carefully aged for a period of 6 months to 3 years. Traditionally aged coffee can be aged for a period of 3 to 6 years, but it’s very rare. Aging coffee is usually done by storing it in barrels. The beans are monitored regularly and rotated to allow for an even aging process and distribute moisture.

Altitude

In coffee, altitude refers to the height at which coffee is grown. In this case, the height is measured with respect to the sea level. Essentially, coffee grown at higher altitudes is classified as higher quality than coffee grown at lower altitudes.

Altura

Altura is a Spanish word that means altitude. The word Altura is mainly used in reference to Mexican coffee grown at an altitude of at least 1,600 meters above sea level.

American Roast

Refers to a roasting level at which coffee beans attain a rich, medium brown color. At this point, coffee oils don’t appear on the surface of the beans. American roast makes complex and flavorful brews.

Americano

Also known as caffé Americano, it’s a type of espresso drink that’s prepared with espresso and hot water. It can be prepared using one or two espresso shots. The water ratio varies depending on how strong you want the brew. It does not contain milk.

Antestia

They are a type of pests that mainly affect Arabica coffee grown in East Africa. They target coffee cherries and insert a toxin that causes a potato taste in coffee.

Aquapulping

Aquapulping refers to a coffee process technique whereby the mucilage or pulp is removed from coffee beans using a mechanical machine known as an EcoPulper or AquaPulper.

Arabian Mocha

It is the most famous and oldest coffee in the world. It has a rich history in Yemen. Arabian Mocha grows under harsh and primitive conditions in the mountainous regions of Yemen. Coffee brewed with Arabian Mocha beans features a complex aroma. Also, it has a full-bodied taste with hints of dates and cocoa.

Arabica

Arabica is one of the main coffee species. Botanically known as Coffea Arabica, it’s grown at relatively higher altitudes than Robusta coffee. Its quality is typically higher than that of Robusta coffee due to higher levels of sugars and lips and lower levels of chlorogenic acids and caffeine.

Aroma

Aroma is a major coffee quality that denotes the flavor, sweetness, bitterness, acidity, body, and aftertaste of a coffee drink. Coffee tasters use aroma as one of the key categories when judging the quality of coffee.

Artisan Coffee

Artisan coffee is a type of coffee produced under extremely high-quality standards. A lot of attention and care goes into farming artisan coffee. Harvesting involves handpicking, where only the ripest cherries are picked. Roasting is also done carefully as a science.

A/X

It is a specialty coffee grade grown in Papua New Guinea by smallholder producers. The coffee is often grown alongside leguminous trees to offer the coffee plants some shade. A/X coffee can be taken in its straight single origin form. Also, it’s perfect for espresso and blending.

 

B

Baggy

Describes the flavor profile of coffee that has been stored longer than necessary in whatever storage item, such as jute or burlap bags. Baggy flavors result from coffee oils absorbing the smell of the storage item, chemical changes, and loss of moisture due to aging. Bagging flavors are often concealed by roasting the beans to a darker roast.

Balance

When tasting coffee for defects to determine its quality, the term balance is used to describe coffee that doesn’t have any single attribute overpowering the others. These attributes include flavor, aroma, and acidity. These attributes are determined by the sense of smell and taste when tasting coffee.

Barista

A barista is a professional who works in a coffeehouse, with the role of making and serving coffee and coffee-based drinks.

Barrel

The term barrel refers to a drum-like storage container for aging coffee. Coffee beans are stored in barrels for several weeks to months or years to form barrel-aged coffee. When coffee beans are aged in barrels, they develop more flavor slowly.

Batch Roaster

Refers to any coffee roasting machine that can roast a fixed batch of coffee beans at a time. Once a batch of beans is roasted, it is removed from the batch roaster before roasting another batch. The goal of a batch roaster is for the roaster to have more control over the roasting process for more even roasting.

Bean

A coffee bean, or simply bean, is the seed of a coffee plant that is dried and roasted to dark-brown color. Once roasted, the bean is ground to form ground coffee for brewing various types of coffee beverages. A coffee bean is contained in a coffee cherry. Coffee beans are obtained by removing the pulp from cherries in a process known as coffee milling.

Beneficio

A Latin American word that refers to a wet mill coffee processing plant that processes red or purple coffee cherries to obtain green coffee beans. The process emphasizes the acidity and fruity notes of coffee. It is also known as a coffee factory in Kenya and a washing station in Rwanda as they use similar setups.

Bica Corrida

The term bica corrida is used in the Brazilian coffee industry. It refers to an ungraded green coffee bean. In Brazil, green beans are obtained on coffee farms by producers. The producers deliver bica corrida to cooperatives or exporters for cleaning, sorting, and export.

Bitter

Describes a pungent, sharp taste of some coffees. Bitter coffee results from low-grade coffee beans, super dark roasts, finer grounds, and over-brewing.

Blade Grinder

A coffee grinding machine that chops roasted coffee beans into smaller pieces by whirling a sharp blade around them. It results in unevenly sized grounds. Although it is convenient and inexpensive, you get an unbalanced brew from the uneven grounds.

Bland

Coffee that lacks rich taste or flavor. Low-grown Robusta coffee is especially prone to bland taste. Blandness also results from under-extraction by brewing with a coarser grind than necessary or brewing with too little grounds. Also, brewing for a shorter time than necessary can result in blandness.

Blend                                                                              

Refers to coffee made up of beans with different origins. Different origins can be varying altitudes on the same coffee farm, different regions in one country, or different countries. Blending is mostly done to meet unique or complex flavor preferences that cannot be obtained from single origin coffee. It is also done by roasters to meet certain quantity requirements.

Bloom

The act of bubbling when coffee grounds are soaked in hot water. Bubbling occurs when the beans expand and release carbon dioxide. As the beans release carbon dioxide, the gas repels water surrounding the grounds, thereby resulting in bubbling. Carbon dioxide has a sour taste. Thus, Blooming allows carbon dioxide to escape rather than infusing into the brew.

Body

Refers to the sensation of texture and weight of coffee when drinking it. It is what you feel, not what you taste. The body of coffee is determined by the level of insoluble coffee compounds such as the oils in coffee. Oilier coffee roasts result in a heavier coffee body while less oily roasts result in a lighter body.

Bourbon

It is a sub-species of Arabica coffee. It is also known as Coffea Arabica var Bourbon. Bourbon originated in France. It is commonly grown in South America.

Bright

Describes coffee with high acidic notes. Simply put, bright coffee is coffee with more noticeable acidic notes such as nutty, citrusy, chocolaty, or fruity notes. Brighter coffees denote higher quality coffee grown on a higher altitude farm.

Briny

A salty sensation or taste resulting from heating coffee continuously after brewing. For instance, if you brew coffee and allow it to continue sitting on a burner, it may taste briny.

Burr Grinder

A coffee grinding machine that comprises flat or conical burrs (protruding and ragged edges) that funnel a few coffee beans at a time through the grinding section of the machine. As a result, it grinds beans into uniformly sized grounds. Although a burr grinder is relatively expensive, you get a more balanced brew from uniform grounds.

 

C

Café Americano

Café Americano is an Italian word for Americano. An Americano is a coffee drink that is prepared by topping a shot of espresso with hot water.

Café Au Lait

A French term for hot coffee topped with an equal amount of hot milk.

Café Breve

An espresso-based coffee drink that is prepared with steamed and frothed half-and-half rather than milk. It is also known as breve latte, café breve, or breve coffee. It is heavier than latte due to the foam.

Café Con Leche

It is a Spanish word for a coffee drink prepared by mixing scalded milk and strong coffee in equal parts. A preferred sweetener is added to the drink.

Café Con Panna

Café con panna, also known as espresso con panna, is an espresso drink topped with whipped cream. Panna is an Italian word for whipped cream.

Café Corretto

Café corretto is an Italian coffee drink that is made by adding a small amount of liquor into a shot of espresso.

Café Crème

Café crème, which means cream coffee, is a strong coffee drink containing a small amount of cold or hot milk. The drink is thickened and creamy. It is served either cold or hot. Café crème is prepared with an automatic coffee machine or an espresso machine.

Café Doppio

It is an Italian word for a double espresso. Simply put, it refers to two shots of espresso served in one larger cup.

Café Latteccino

An espresso comprises one part of foamed milk and two parts of steamed milk.

Café Lungo

Café Lungo is an Italian word for a long espresso shot. It is also known as café allongé, long shot, or lungo espresso. Café lungo is an espresso prepared with more water for a longer period than a standard espresso.

Café Noir

Also known as demitasse, café noir is coffee without cream or milk.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a compound found in beverages such as tea and coffee. It works as a natural stimulant. Coffee contains the highest amount of natural caffeine. Caffeine works by stimulating the brain and promoting a state of focus, alertness, and arousal.

Cappuccino

It is an Italian coffee that is made with double espresso, steamed milk, and topped with steamed milk foam. These ingredients are added in equal parts.

Caracol

It is a Spanish word for a peaberry. A peaberry is a single seed in a coffee cherry. A normal coffee cherry contains two seeds/coffee beans. However, if there is a natural mutation such that the coffee cherry develops one mutated bean instead of two normal beans, the single mutated coffee bean is known as a peaberry.

Catacion

Catacion, or simply cata, is a Spanish word for coffee cupping, which means tasting coffee to determine its flavors and aroma.

Catimor

It is a hybrid coffee varietal that is made by crossing Timor coffee and Caturra coffee. Timor coffee is resistant to leaf rust while Caturra coffee is high yielding but susceptible to leaf rust. The cross creates Catimor coffee which is high yielding and resistant to coffee berry disease and leaf rust.

Catuai

Catuai is a high-yielding Arabica coffee variety. It is a cross between Caturra coffee and Mundo Novo coffee.

Caturra

Caturra is a naturally occurring hybrid of Bourbon coffee, which is a variety of Arabica coffee. It produces better yields than Bourbon, but it is susceptible to coffee leaf rust and nematodes.

Chaff

Chaff is a dry and thin outer skin of a coffee bean. It falls off when roasting coffee beans. Thus, chaff is a waste product of the coffee production process. It is often thrown out or used to make compost for gardens.

Chemex

The Chemex is a coffeemaker that features a borosilicate glass container with a wooden collar and rawhide tie. It uses a funnel-shaped paper to filter ground coffee when brewing. It is a pour-over coffee brewing device. The Chemex was invented by a chemist known as Peter Schlumbohm in 1941.

Cherry

The cherry is a fruit produced by a coffee plant. Unripe coffee cherries are green. Ripe cherries are red, orange, or yellow. The color of ripe cherries depends on the coffee variety.

Chicory

Chicory is a plant whose roots are roasted to make chicory coffee. It can be mixed with coffee to add flavor or drunk in its plain form as a caffeine-free alternative.

Clean

Clean coffee is a coffee that leaves little or no taste after drinking. It means the coffee doesn’t have any defects.

Clever Coffee Dripper

The clever coffee dripper is an immersion coffee maker that also functions as a manual drip coffee maker. It features a cone-like design and is made of BPA-free plastic, with a valve at the bottom. It works with a paper filter. The device only opens when placed on a mug. Thus, you can split the brew between several cups.

Clover Brewer

Clover brewer is a commercial-grade automatic coffee maker designed for retail purposes. However, it is also ideal for domestic coffee brewing. It makes a single cup of coffee at a time. It heats water at the exact temperature you set and also brews for the exact time you set.

Coffee Bag

A coffee bag, also known as burlap, is a woven container used for storing coffee beans, especially during shipping. There are also smaller paper coffee bags used for packaging roasted coffee beans for retail purposes.

Coffee Berry Borer

Also known as a coffee borer beetle, the coffee berry borer (CBB) is a coffee pest that lives and feeds on coffee berries. It is one of the most harmful coffee pests known today.

Coffee Cup

A coffee cup is a container in which coffee is served. It is typically made of ceramic and has a single handle. It is relatively smaller than a coffee mug in volume.

Coffee Fest

An annual event that brings coffee farmers, industry players, and coffee lovers together to promote coffee culture.

Coffee Leaf Rust

Coffee leaf rust (CLR) is a coffee disease that affects coffee Arabica species. It is caused by a fungus known as Hemileia vastatrix.

Coffee Mug

A coffee mug is a ceramic or glass container in which coffee is served coffee. It has a handle on the side. A coffee mug is typically larger than a coffee cup.

Coffee Plantation

It is a large farm where coffee plants are grown. Coffee plantations are mostly found in tropical countries due to their favorable weather for growing coffee plants.

Coffee Pod

A coffee pod is a pre-packed paper filter containing ground coffee. It resembles a tea bag, only that it contains ground coffee. It is steeped in hot water to make a cup of coffee within minutes. Coffee pods are a quick way of brewing coffee, especially when traveling or camping.

Coffee Filter

A coffee filter is a specially designed filter used when brewing coffee to trap ground coffee and allow extracted liquid coffee to pass through. Most coffee filters are made of paper. Some are made with cloth or metal.

Cold-Water Method

It is a coffee brewing method that involves soaking ground coffee in cold water for about 12 hours. Thereafter, the coffee is filtered into a carafe. The cold-water brewing process eliminates most of the acidity in coffee.

Complexity

Complexity is a term used to refer to a coffee that has several desirable flavor notes. If the coffee tastes stale, then it would not be described as complex.

Conilon

Conilon is another name for Robusta coffee or Coffea canephora. It is a coffee species that thrives best in low to medium elevations. It is mostly grown in tropical regions of Asia, South America, and Africa. Robusta coffee has a higher yield and is easier to grow than Arabica coffee. However, Arabica coffee tastes better than Conilon.

Cortado

Cortado refers to a coffee drink that is prepared by mixing espresso with warm, steamed milk to reduce acidity. However, the milk is not frothed like with most Italian coffees.

Crema

Cream is an aromatic and flavorful froth that sits on top of a shot of espresso. It features a light, brown golden color. Cream is formed when extracting coffee oils from coffee beans with hot water.

Cupping

Coffee cupping is a professional practice that involves tasting brewed coffee to observe its flavors and aromas. Cupping is done by a group of people individually and silently. Thereafter, they discuss their tasting experiences and scores for that particular brew.

 

D

Dark Roast

Dark roast is a coffee roasting level that results in dark brown coffee beans. Dark roasted beans feature a glossy surface due to the drawn-out oil. It is the highest roasting level. It is achieved by roasting beans for a longer time.

Decaffeinated

Decaffeinated, or decaf coffee, is coffee whose caffeine content is removed by at least 97 percent. Caffeine is removed in a process known as decaffeination. Decaffeination is done using several techniques such as water, carbon dioxide, or organic solvents.

Defect

Defect is a term that refers to irregular or unpleasant coffee flavor or taste sensation in brewed coffee. It results from various issues such as processing unripe coffee beans, improper storage, poor harvesting methods, physical defects, or other issues that damage the natural coffee aroma/flavor.

Degassing

It is a natural process through which roasted coffee beans release gases. Degassing starts as soon as the roasting process is completed. The process continues for several days or weeks depending on the roast level. Essentially, darker roasts have more buildup of gases that result in a more open and expansive cell structure. Consequently, darker roasts lose the gas buildup and become stale more quickly.

Demitasse

It is a small cup used for serving strong, after-dinner coffees such as Turkish coffee, cappuccino, and espresso.

Demucilage

Demucilage or demucilagenador is a method of removing the mucilage or pulp from a coffee cherry. The mucilage is a fruity layer of a coffee cherry. Removing the mucilage exposes coffee beans.

Differential

Differential is a term used in the commercial trading of green coffee. It refers to the difference between the price of physical coffee and the worldwide price indicator.

Doppio

Doppio is a double shot of espresso. It is extracted using twice the amount of coffee used in making a single shot of espresso in a large portafilter.

Doser

It is a chamber that is located in the front area of a coffee grinder that collects ground coffee into a container when grinding coffee beans.

Double Picked

Double picked coffee is coffee that is cleaned by hand twice. The best coffees are hand-cleaned twice.

Drip Method

It is a coffee brewing method that involves passing hot water through ground coffee placed in a coffee filter. The drip method uses an automatic drip coffee machine.

Drugar

Drugar is an abbreviation for Dry Uganda Arabica coffee. It is a low-grade naturally processed Ugandan Arabica coffee.

Dry

The term dry or dry cappuccino means a cappuccino that has a thick, dense form sitting on the espresso.

Dry Mill

A dry mill is a coffee processing machine in which coffee beans undergo the final cleaning, sorting, polishing, and grading. The last step of a dry mill outputs graded coffee beans that are ready for bagging.

Dry Process

The dry process is a natural method of processing coffee from harvesting to exporting green beans. In the dry process, coffee is picked by hand, dried in the sun, and hulled to remove the outer layer to expose the green bean. Dry processing is mostly practiced in arid areas.

 

E

Earthy/Earthiness

Earthy or earthiness refers to a musty/mushroomy odor, aroma, or taste that resembles that of wet earth, soil, or humus. Earthiness may be an undesirable or desirable quality depending on the personal preferences of the one drinking the coffee.

Espresso

A strong Italian-style black coffee that is prepared by forcing steam or boiling water through ground coffee at high pressure. Espresso is prepared by a manual espresso machine or an automatic espresso maker.

Espresso Roast

It is a technique of roasting green coffee beans to ensure they test best when making an espresso brew out of them. Thus, the goal is to roast coffee beans to suit the espresso coffee-making process. Essentially, espresso roasts are roasted a little hotter and longer than regular roasts to decrease acidity and increase the body.

Espresso Romano

Espresso Romano, also known as Romano Espresso, is an espresso shot containing a little lemon juice, served with a slice of lemon, or a lemon rind placed in the espresso. It can be served cold, iced, or hot.

European Prep

European Prep (EP) is the process of removing foreign matter and defective beans by hand from a certain amount of green beans. In EP, only up to 8 defects are allowed per 300 grams of coffee beans.

Exotic

Exotic refers to exceptional and very rare coffee beans that brew top-quality coffee. You are not likely to find such coffee beans in a local grocery store. You may only find exotic coffees from select dealers. Exotic coffees are often shipped rather than being stocked in local grocery stores due to their rare nature.

Extraction

Extraction is the process through which desirable compounds in coffee such as flavors, caffeine, and oils are dissolved from ground coffee when brewing. Extraction occurs when ground coffee comes into contact with water.

 

F

Fair Trade Coffee

Fair trade coffee refers to coffee that is certified as having been processed under certain labor and sustainability standards. Fair trade standards are set to ensure that coffee farmers are paid for their coffee at a rate that allows for sustainable living.

Filter Method

Filter method is a coffee brewing method that involves pouring hot water over ground coffee placed on a paper filter. Extracted coffee collects in a pot placed beneath the filter.

Finish

The term finish describes the sensation you feel immediately after swallowing or spitting out coffee. The finish can be complex, clean, or dry.

Flat White

Flat White is an espresso drink that contains microfoam. Microfoam refers to steamed milk with fine bubbles and velvety consistency. It is prepared by pouring steamed milk over a shot of espresso.

Flavia Fresh Pack

Flavia Fresh Pack is a single-serve coffee brewed by a Flavia coffee machine. The Fresh Pack works as a brewing chamber from which the Fresh Pack drink pours directly into a cup instead of pouring through the same channel all the time. As a result, the next Fresh Pack drink is not contaminated by the previous Fresh Pack. Used packs collect in a tray for emptying.

Flavor

Flavor describes the overall perception of the distinct taste and aromatic characteristics of coffee such as aroma, aftertaste, body, sweetness, bitterness, and acidity.

Flight

A coffee flight refers to small servings of three or more different coffee drinks. The drinks are assembled and served as a set rather than one serving at a time.

Floater

A coffee bean that floats during the wet process method. If a coffee bean floats, it means it never matured within the parchment layer. Removing floaters increases the quality of coffee that comes from the pulping machine.

Fly Crop/Mitaca

Fly crop, or mitaca, is a smaller coffee harvest that occurs before the main harvest.

Foam

Foam is a fluffy layer of light but big bubbles that sit on top of coffee after mixing coffee with milk. It is often used in making cappuccinos.

Frappuccino

A Frappuccino is a blended iced coffee from Starbucks. It comprises a crème or coffee base blended with ice and other ingredients such as whipped cream, flavors, spices, and syrups.

French Press

A French press is a manual coffee machine that brews French press coffee. The French press works by steeping ground coffee in hot water and pushing the plunger down by hand to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee. The bottom of the plunger contains a filter that pushes down the grounds and leaves strained French press coffee on top for serving. It is also known as a cafetiere, caffettiera a stantuffo, cafetiere a piston, coffee press, coffee plunger, or press pot.

French Roast

French Roast is a category of dark roast coffee that features an intense but smoky-sweet flavor with a thin body.

Froth

Froth is a thick layer of tight bubbles that sit on top of coffee after mixing coffee with milk. It is often used in making lattes.

Fruity

It is a relatively sweet flavor that occurs when the acidity in coffee combines with natural sugars in a coffee cherry. As coffee cherries sit out to dry processing, some of their sweetness dissolves into the coffee bean, thereby resulting in a relatively sweet flavor.

Full-City Roast

Full-city roast is a roast level where coffee beans roast beyond the first crack but roasting is completed before the second crack. In this roast level, the beans are darker than city roast. The beans are mostly dry with sporadic patches of oil.

 

G

Geisha Coffee

Geisha coffee or Gesha coffee is an exclusive type of coffee that originated from the Gori Gesha forest in Ethiopia. It is among the most expensive coffees today due to its rare nature. It has a distinctive fruit-like, flowery flavor. Geisha coffee often has a hint of papaya, mango, guava, and citrus among other exotic fruit flavors.

Giling Basah

Giling Basah is a term that means wet hulling coffee. It comes from an Indonesian language known as the Bahasa language. It is popularly used in processing Sumatran coffee, specifically to remove the hulls.

Green Coffee

Green coffee refers to raw coffee beans that are yet to be roasted. They can be used to brew green coffee, which tastes like herbal tea. Green coffee is often used as a dietary supplement.

Green Coffee Association (GCA)

The Green Coffee Association (GCA) is an organization that offers various benefits and resources to companies and individuals who deal with coffee trade and/or roasting green coffee.

Group Head

The group head is a component of an espresso machine where hot water coming from the boiler is dispersed into the filter. It protrudes from the front part of an espresso machine. The filter and portafilter clamp to the group head.

Guayaba

Guayaba is a Spanish word for Guava. It is a fruity coffee flavor that feels like guava.

 

H

Hard Bean

Hard bean, also known as strictly high grown bean, refers to coffee grown at an altitude of at least 4,000 feet from sea level.

High-Grown

High grown coffee, or hard bean, refers to coffee grown at an altitude of at least 4,000 feet from the sea level.

History of Coffee

The history of coffee discusses where coffee originated, how it was discovered, and how it became one of the most popular beverages worldwide. It is believed coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia by a goat herder in 700 AD. Thereafter, coffee found its way into Yemen through the port city of Mocha.

From Yemen, it found its way into Egypt, Turkey, and Persia. Thereafter, it spread to the East through India and Indonesia. Next, coffee spread to the West through Venice, Italy in 1570. From Italy, it spread throughout Europe. In the early 18th Century, coffee found its way from Paris, Italy into the Caribbean, South America, and Central America. Today, coffee is mostly grown in tropical countries. It is exported to many countries worldwide.

Hulling

Hulling is a coffee processing stage that involves removing the husk after drying coffee cherries. The husk comprises several layers including the outer skin, pulp, mucilage, and parchment.

 

I

International Coffee Organization (ICO)

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) is an intergovernmental organization for coffee whose role is to bring together coffee exporting and importing nations to deal with the challenges that face the coffee sector globally.

Italian Roast

Italian roast is an extremely dark roast that produces very oily and dark beans. It is mainly used for brewing espresso. Italian roast brings out a burnt and bitter flavor.

 

J

Jamaican Coffee

Jamaican coffee, or Jamaica coffee, is coffee of Jamaican origin. Jamaica is associated with Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.

Jamaica Blue Mountain

It is a single origin coffee grown in the Blue Mountain District of Jamaica. It is grown at an elevation of at least 3,000 feet above sea level. It has a sweet, rich flavor with no noticeable bitterness. In fact, Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is one of the best coffees in the world.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Style Coffee

It is a blend of several coffees prepared with the aim of matching the qualities of original Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. These blends often lack any Jamaican coffee.

Java

Java is a nickname for coffee. The word java means distant or home. It is used to refer to coffee because coffee originates from a distant land but makes a consumer feel at home.

 

K

Kaldi

Kaldi refers to an Ethiopian goat herder who is believed to have discovered coffee while herding his goats. According to the history of coffee, it is believed that Kaldi realized that his goats were becoming energetic and hardly slept at night after feeding on the fruits of a certain plant.

Kaldi shared his findings with a local monk who prepared a drink with the fruits of the plant. The monk felt energetic after drinking the beverage and shared the discovery with other monks. These fruits are what we now call coffee cherries from the coffee plant.

K-Cup

A K-Cup is a single-serve coffee capsule. The capsule containing coffee is sealed within a cartridge, which is mostly a tiny plastic cup. The top of the cup is covered with a foil while the inside is lined with a filter. Ground coffee is sealed within the filter. Essentially, a K-Cup is placed in a K-Cup machine to brew coffee. The K-Cup machine punctures the lid and the bottom surface of the cup. Water flows through the top to extract coffee. Brewed coffee comes out through the bottom.

Kiboko

Kiboko is a word that means unhulled coffee. It refers to dried coffee without the husk removed during the hulling process.

 

L

Latte

Latte, also known as Caffé latte, is an espresso drink mixed with steamed or hot milk.

Latte Art

Refers to the art of decorating various types of coffee with steamed milk. Latte art is just for aesthetical purposes. It does not alter the flavor of the coffee.

Latte Macchiato

Latte macchiato is steamed milk topped with a small amount of espresso. It is typically served in a tall glass. In a latte macchiato, milk settles at the bottom, espresso above the milk, and milk foam on top.

Lungo

Refers to espresso with an extended extraction time. It contains a higher amount of water than a regular espresso. Thus, it has a less strong flavor than a regular espresso. It is also known as caffé lungo or lungo espresso.

 

M

Macchiato

Macchiato is an espresso drink topped with a small amount of frothy steamed milk.

Machine Drying

Machine drying is a mechanical method of removing moisture from coffee cherries. A mechanical coffee dryer is used in machine drying.

Malabar

Malabar, also known as Monsooned coffee or Monsooned Malabar coffee, refers to green coffee beans sourced from the Malabar Coast in southern India. The beans are exposed to monsoon winds and rain for some months, thereby swelling and losing acidity. Malabar coffee features strong, earthy, and smoky notes with a malty sweetness.

Maragogipe Coffee

Maragogipe coffee, also known as elephant coffee bean, is a natural mutation of Arabica coffee. It features extremely large and porous beans. It was first discovered in Maragogipe, which is located in the State of Bahia, Brazil.

MC Decaf

MC decaf or MC decaffeination is a method of removing caffeine from coffee beans using a solvent known as methylene chloride (MC).

Melitta Pod

A Melitta pod is an individually packaged portion of freshly ground coffee. Melitta pods are trademarked by a German company known as Melitta.

Mild

Mild or washed-down is a very light coffee. A mild coffee is almost watery with almost no bitterness.

Micro Lot

It is an exclusive and traceable coffee that is produced through great effort and care. In other words, it is the best coffee produced from a single firm, a single area of a farm, or a single harvest. Micro lots are selected for their unique flavor profiles and high quality.

Mocha

Mocha is an espresso coffee with hot milk, chocolate flavor, and sweetener. The chocolate flavor comes from the unsweetened cocoa powder ingredient. Granulated sugar is often used as the sweetener.

Mouthfeel

Mouthfeel or body refers to the thickness, tactile richness, or heaviness you feel when swishing coffee around your mouth.

 

N

Natural Process

Natural process, also known as natural sundried, unwashed, or dry process refers to the process of drying coffee cherries under the sun on raised beds or patios.

New Crop

A new crop is a fresh shipment of green coffee, which is within the first or two months of the earliest arrivals.

 

O

Organic Coffee

Organic coffee is a type of coffee that is grown or produced without the use of chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. It is only grown using organic fertilizers such as chicken manure, compost, or coffee pulp.

 

P

Parchment

Parchment is a papery layer that surrounds the silverskin (chaff). The chaff surrounds the coffee bean. To get to the parchment layer, you will need to remove the outermost skin, pulp, and mucilage. That leaves you with parchment coffee. Removing the parchment exposes the chaff. The chaff comes off when roasting the beans.

Past Crop

Refers to coffee that has been harvested before the arrival of a more recent crop.

Patio Drying

Patio drying is a natural method of drying coffee cherries under the sun by placing them on a brick or paved patio.

Peaberry

Also known as caracol, peaberry refers to a natural mutation in coffee, whereby the cherry develops only one bean rather than two.

Phytosanitary certificate

It is a certificate issued to certify that a fresh coffee produce being exported has been officially inspected and is free from pests and conforms to the phytosanitary regulations set by the importing country.

Piston Machine

A piston machine is a type of espresso coffee maker that works by pumping a lever to pressurize hot water and force it through ground coffee to make espresso.

Portafilter

Also known as a portaholder, a portafilter is a device that holds ground coffee is an espresso machine. The portafilter is attached to the group.

Potato Defect

It is a defect that occurs when sucking insects such as the Antestia create holes on coffee cherries, thereby allowing airborne bacteria to the outer skin of the cherries. Potato defect makes coffee taste and smell like raw potatoes.

Pour-Over Coffee

It is a manual coffee brewing method that involves pouring hot water over ground coffee placed on a filter. The filter is placed on a funnel. Brewed coffee drains into a carafe.

Puck

Refers to use coffee grounds in a portafilter.

Pull

The term pull refers to the process of producing a shot of espresso from an espresso maker by forcing pressurized hot water through ground coffee.

Pulp

Pulp is a fibrous layer of a coffee cherry. It is covered by the outer skin. Removing the outer skin exposes the pulp. The pulp covers the hull (parchment). It represents about 40 to 50 percent of the weight of a coffee cherry. It becomes a waste product when removed during coffee processing.

Pulping

Pulping is the process of removing the outer skin and pulp from coffee cherries.

Pump Machine

A pump machine is a motor-driven pump in an espresso machine. It generates high water pressure for brewing espresso.

Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is a chemical process that occurs when roasting coffee beans. It results in the degradation of some coffee compounds, creates new compounds, and alters other compounds. In simpler terms, pyrolysis can be described as the chemical breakdown of carbohydrates and fats into delicate oils that provide flavor and aroma in coffee.

 

Q

Quakers

Quakers are unripened coffee beans that are hard to notice when inspecting and hard sorting the beans.

 

R

Red Eye

Red Eye Coffee is a beverage that comprises brewed coffee topped with a shot of espresso.

Reposo

Repose means resting, which refers to the time that parchment coffee is held to stabilize after drying.

Rio

It is used to refer to an iodine defect in coffee. The word Rio is used for this purpose since coffee coming from the Rio port city of Brazil tends to have an iodine defect.

Ristretto

Ristretto means a short or restricted shot of espresso, whereby only the first portion of an espresso shot is pulled.

Roast

Roast refers to coffee beans that have undergone a certain level of heating. There are several roast levels including light, medium, and dark roasts. Light roast is the lowest level of roasting coffee beans. It features light brown colored beans with no oil on their surface. Medium roast features brown beans with a thicker body than light roast. Dark roast beans are dark brown with a glossy and oily surface.

Roaster

Roaster may refer to two things: A person who processes coffee beans by roasting them or a machine that roasts coffee beans by heating them to a certain roast level as needed.

Roastery

It is a place where hulled coffee beans are roasted.

Roasting

It is the process of heating coffee beans under high temperature to transform them from green to brown coffee beans. Roasting makes the beans undergo physical and chemical changes that transform proteins, sugars, acids, and other compounds in coffee beans into delightful flavors and aromas.

Robusta

Robusta, also known as Coffea canephora or Coffea Robusta is a coffee species with origins from western and central sub-Saharan Africa. It grows at a lower altitude than Arabica coffee.

 

S

Screen size

Screen size is an industry-standard for measuring the size of coffee beans. It is measured in increments of a 64ths of an inch. When sorting coffee beans, they are passed through metal sheets with punched holes. The holes have a diameter ranging from 8/64 to 20/64 inches. The beans are passed progressively through smaller screen sizes until the beans cannot pass through.

Seasonal Coffee

It means coffee produced in small or medium lots in a year. Seasonal coffee features a less industrialized process of growing, harvesting, and processing. Thus, the beans are often of a higher quality but are not available throughout the year.

Senseo Pod

Senseo pod or Senseo coffee pod is a single-serve coffee pod that brews coffee with a rich crema layer. These pods are used for brewing coffee in a Senseo coffee machine.

Shade Grown

Shade grown or shade grown coffee is coffee grown under a canopy of trees. The aim of shade grown coffee farming is to grow coffee in a traditional forest environment. Shade grown coffee conserves biodiversity, reduces soil erosion, and eliminates the need to use pesticides and fertilizers. As a result, the farms produce higher quality coffee beans.

Shot/Solo

A shot or solo is a single serving of espresso.

Silverskin

It is a thin layer of skin that directly covers a coffee bean. The silverskin is exposed after removing the parchment. The silverskin comes off when roasting coffee beans.

Single Cup

A single cup refers to a coffee maker that brews one cup of coffee at a time. Single cup coffee makers use a coffee pod to brew one cup.

Single Origin

Single origin is a term that means coffee beans that are grown within one geographical region or on the same farm.

Siphon Pot

Also known as a vacuum pot, a siphon pot is a coffee maker that works by mixing boiling water with ground coffee. It has two chambers including a bottom chamber and an upper chamber. The bottom chamber is filled with water whereas the upper chamber contains a filter at the bottom of the chamber. Ground coffee sits on the filter. The bottom chamber is heated to create a vapor pressure that forces hot water into the upper chamber, where it mixes with ground coffee. Next, the brewed coffee is pulled back into the bottom chamber to fill it with filtered coffee.

Soft Bean

Soft bean refers to coffee grown at a low altitude, usually below 4,000 feet. Soft bean matures more quickly. As a result, they are lighter and more porous than beans grown at a higher altitude (hard bean).

Sorting

Sorting refers to the process of separating coffee beans by density, size, and color. It is done in two steps. The first step involves sorting by density and size and removing foreign materials. The second step involves sorting by color, whereby good beans are separated from defective beans depending on their color. Sorting is done either by hand or with a machine.

Specialty Coffee

Specialty coffee is coffee that is grown at very high altitudes with much attention and care and is free of primary defects. As a result, it has premium quality.

Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA)

It is a non-profit trade organization that sets standards for specialty coffee.

Spicy

Spicy describes the flavor or aromatic scent of spices present in coffee. Spices in coffee are similar to those in food. They include cinnamon, chili, and vanilla among others.

Stale

Stale refers to roasted beans or ground coffee that is oxidized due to prolonged exposure to oxygen. When beans go stale, they have a musty, rancid, ashy, and dull aroma.

Strictly Hard Bean

Strictly hard bean, also known as strictly high grown, Refers to coffee grown at least 4,000 feet above the sea level. As a result, the coffee grows and matures more slowly, thereby becoming harder and higher in quality.

Sweet

It is a mild and smooth coffee flavor or taste sensation without any harsh taste or flavor defects.

Supremo

Supremo, also known as Colombian Supremo coffee refers to the largest Colombian coffee beans. It features smooth acidity, a rich medium/full body, and nutty overtones.

Swiss Water Process

It is a non-solvent method used in decaffeinating unroasted beans.

 

T

Tamper

It is a tool used for packing espresso coffee grounds into the portafilter.

Tassimo T Discs

They are coffee pods used for making coffee in a Tassimo machine.

Terroir

Terroir describes everything around a coffee-growing region including climate, terrain, and soil. It gives coffee a unique texture and tone. Thus, coffee grown within a specific micro-region has distinctive characteristics.

Tone

Refers to the palpable impression of the weight that coffee has in the mouth. Tone includes thin, medium, full, buttery, and syrupy.

Trifecta

It is a modern type of a single-cup coffee brewer.

Typica

It is a coffee varietal popularly grown in Latin America. It is preferred for its sweetness and cleanliness.

 

U

UTZ Certification

UTZ certification is a certification granted for UTZ Certified coffee. UTZ Certified is a standard for coffee that sets criteria for responsible coffee production, both environmentally and socially. In simpler terms, UTZ Certified promotes sustainable coffee farming.

 

V

Varietal

It is a term that identifies coffee under a certain variety. For instance, Bourbon, Catimor, Catuai, and Caturra are Arabica varietals.

Varietal Character

It is a term used in cupping or tasting coffee that describes positive characteristics that make coffee from one region feel different than that of another region.

Variety

Variety means the classification of a coffee plant. There are two main coffee varieties including Arabica and Robusta.

Viennese Roast

It is a medium-dark roast that is characterized by a heavy body with a bit more bitterness than sweetness. In this roast, the beans are a little shiny, fragile, and lightweight.

 

W

Washed Coffee

Washed coffee, also known as wet coffee or wet processed coffee, is a process that involves removing the layers of a coffee cherry before drying the beans. Thus, the beans are dried without the outer skin, mucilage (pulp), and parchment.

Wet Mill

Wet mill or wet milling is a coffee processing step that involves separating coffee beans from the layers of skin that cover the beans.

Winy

Describes coffee with an aftertaste that feels like wine.

Woody

Refers to coffee that smells like cardboard, dry wood, or dead wood. A woody defect results from improper storage of coffee beans for a prolonged period.