Glossary of Coffee Terms

Welcome to the Solai Coffee Glossary , your ultimate guide to the world of coffee. 

Our comprehensive glossary offers concise definitions of key terms, covering everything from processing methods to flavor profiles. Developed by Solai Coffee staff based on various coffee references, the definitions in this glossary represent an everyday or general use of the term. Please note that some words and phrases may be defined differently by other entities or used in a context where the definition shown may not be applicable. 

Whether you're a coffee lover or just curious, our glossary is your go-to resource for unlocking the rich and diverse world of coffee.

A -Z


Term Description

Acidity

A desirable characteristic in coffee that contributes to its bright, tangy flavor. It adds liveliness and complexity to the coffee, often described as citrusy, fruity, or wine-like.  

AeroPress

A coffee brewing device that uses air pressure to extract flavor from coffee grounds.

Agtron

A numerical scale used in the coffee industry to measure the color of roasted coffee beans. Lower numbers indicate darker roasts, while higher numbers indicate lighter roasts. It helps maintain consistency in roasting and communicates roast levels accurately.

Altitude

Higher altitudes result in slower cherry ripening, promoting complex flavor development. Altitude impacts the acidity and overall quality of the coffee produced.       

Americano

A coffee beverage made by diluting espresso with hot water, resulting in a milder flavor profile similar to drip coffee.

Arabica

A species of coffee plant known for its delicate flavor and higher acidity typically grown at higher altitudes, contributing to its desirable taste profile. It is prized for its smooth, nuanced characteristics, making it a favorite for specialty coffee. 

Aroma

The pleasant and distinctive smell of coffee, influenced by factors such as bean variety, roast level, and brewing method. It is a crucial component in the sensory evaluation of coffee, contributing to the overall flavor experience. 

Balance

A key aspect of coffee flavor where different taste elements, such as acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and body, are harmoniously blended without one overpowering the others. Achieving balance results in a well-rounded and enjoyable coffee drinking experience.

Barista

A trained professional skilled in the art of preparing and serving coffee. Baristas typically have expertise in various brewing methods, espresso preparation, milk steaming, and latte art. They play a crucial role in creating high-quality coffee beverages and providing excellent customer service in coffee shops and cafes.

Batch

Refers to a quantity of coffee beans roasted or brewed together at one time. In roasting, it can denote a single roast of coffee beans, while in brewing, it can refer to the amount of coffee grounds used for a single brewing cycle. Proper batch size management is crucial for maintaining consistency in flavor and quality across multiple servings of coffee.

Bitter

A taste sensation often associated with over-extracted coffee or dark roast profiles. It can result from brewing methods that extract too many bitter compounds from the coffee grounds, leading to an unpleasant, sharp flavor. Bitterness can also be a natural component of certain coffee beans, particularly those with higher levels of caffeine or certain processing methods.

Burr Grinder

A type of coffee grinder that uses two abrasive surfaces, called burrs, to grind coffee beans to a consistent size. One burr remains stationary while the other rotates, crushing the beans between them. Burr grinders offer more precision and control over grind size compared to blade grinders, resulting in a more uniform and flavorful coffee extraction.

Blade grinder

A type of coffee grinder that uses a spinning blade to chop coffee beans into smaller particles. Blade grinders are typically less expensive than burr grinders but offer less consistency in grind size, leading to uneven extraction and potentially bitter or over-extracted coffee.

Bland 

A taste characteristic of coffee that lacks distinct flavor or complexity. It typically results from under-extracted coffee or beans with low inherent flavor profiles. Bland coffee may lack acidity, sweetness, and other desirable qualities, resulting in a dull or uninspiring taste experience.

Blend

A coffee term referring to a mixture of two or more different types of coffee beans, often from different regions or varieties. Blending is done to achieve a desired flavor profile, balance, or consistency in the final coffee product. Blends may combine beans with varying characteristics such as acidity, body, and flavor notes to create a unique and well-rounded coffee experience.

Bloom

The initial phase of the coffee brewing process where freshly ground coffee grounds release carbon dioxide gas upon contact with hot water. This gas release causes the coffee grounds to swell or "bloom," forming a foamy layer on the surface. Blooming is a crucial step in brewing methods such as pour-over and French press, as it allows for better extraction and flavor development by degassing the coffee grounds before the main brewing process begins.

Body

Refers to the tactile sensation or mouthfeel of coffee, typically described as light, medium, or full. It relates to the thickness, viscosity, and texture perceived on the palate when drinking coffee. A coffee with a light body may feel thin and watery, while one with a full body may feel heavy and syrupy. Body is influenced by factors such as bean variety, roast level, and brewing method, and it contributes to the overall sensory experience of the coffee.

Brew

The process of making coffee by extracting flavor from coffee grounds using hot water. It involves various methods such as drip brewing, immersion brewing, or espresso extraction. The brewing process typically includes steps like grinding coffee beans, measuring the appropriate coffee-to-water ratio, and controlling variables such as water temperature and brewing time to achieve the desired flavor profile.

Brew pressure

The amount of force exerted on the coffee grounds during the brewing process, typically measured in bars in espresso machines. Brew pressure is a critical factor in controlling the extraction of flavors from the coffee grounds.

Brew Ratio

The proportion of coffee grounds to water used in the brewing process, often expressed as a ratio or percentage. It is a critical parameter in coffee brewing that affects the strength and flavor of the final cup. Common brew ratios include 1:15 (1 part coffee to 15 parts water), 1:16, or 60 grams of coffee per liter of water.

Brew temperature

The temperature of the water used during the coffee brewing process. It plays a crucial role in extracting flavors from the coffee grounds and affecting the overall taste of the brewed coffee. The optimal brew temperature varies depending on the brewing method and coffee type but generally falls between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C)

Brew Time

The duration for which water is in contact with coffee grounds during the brewing process. It is a critical parameter in coffee extraction, influencing the strength, flavor, and balance of the brewed coffee. Brew time varies depending on the brewing method, grind size, and desired flavor profile. For example, espresso typically has a shorter brew time of around 25 to 30 seconds, while immersion methods like French press may have longer brew times ranging from 3 to 4 minutes.

Bright

A term used to describe the acidity or liveliness in the flavor profile of coffee. Bright coffee often exhibits a crisp, tangy, or citrusy taste sensation that is perceived on the palate. It adds a refreshing quality to the coffee and is typically associated with high-quality Arabica beans grown at high altitudes. Brightness is a desirable characteristic in specialty coffee and contributes to the overall complexity and balance of the brew.

Briny

A flavor note in coffee that resembles the taste of saltwater or brine. This taste can occur when coffee beans have been exposed to moisture or when brewing water has high mineral content. Brininess is generally considered an undesirable characteristic in coffee and may indicate issues with the beans' storage conditions or the water used in brewing.

Caffeine

A natural stimulant found in coffee beans that acts on the central nervous system, temporarily increasing alertness and reducing fatigue. Caffeine content varies depending on factors such as coffee bean type, roast level, and brewing method. It is one of the main reasons why people consume coffee and is responsible for its energizing effects.

Cappuccino

A popular espresso-based coffee beverage consisting of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. It is typically served in a small cup and is known for its creamy texture and rich flavor. Cappuccinos are often topped with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon for added flavor.

Caramelization

A chemical process that occurs during coffee roasting where sugars in the coffee beans are heated and undergo a series of complex reactions, resulting in the development of caramel-like flavors and brown color. Caramelization contributes to the overall flavor profile of roasted coffee, adding sweetness and depth. Proper caramelization is essential for achieving desired flavor characteristics in roasted coffee beans.

Chaff

The thin, papery skin that surrounds the coffee bean and is removed during the roasting process. Chaff is composed of cellulose and is a natural byproduct of coffee roasting. It becomes detached from the coffee bean as it expands and darkens during roasting, and is typically collected in the roasting chamber or ventilation system.

Chemex

A pour-over coffee maker invented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm in 1941. It consists of an hourglass-shaped glass vessel with a narrow neck and a wooden or plastic collar around the neck. Chemex uses specially designed paper filters that are thicker than standard filters, resulting in a cleaner cup of coffee with less sediment.

Clean bean

A term used to describe coffee beans that are free from defects, off-flavors, or any undesirable characteristics. Achieving clean beans requires careful processing, storage, and handling of the coffee beans throughout the production chain, from harvesting to roasting.

Coarseness

Refers to the size of the coffee grounds produced by grinding coffee beans. It is determined by the duration of grinding and the spacing between the grinder's burrs or blades. Coarseness affects the rate of coffee extraction during brewing, with coarser grinds generally requiring longer extraction times and finer grinds requiring shorter extraction times.

Coffee bean

The seed of the coffee plant, typically contained within a cherry-like fruit known as a coffee cherry. Coffee beans come in various varieties and can be roasted to different levels, resulting in a wide range of flavors and aromas in brewed coffee.

Coffee Belt

Also known as the "Bean Belt" or "Coffee Zone," the Coffee Belt refers to the geographical area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn where coffee is grown. Countries within the Coffee Belt, such as Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Vietnam, are major producers of coffee beans.

Coffee Berry Borer

A small beetle (Hypothenemus hampei) considered one of the most damaging pests to coffee crops worldwide. The Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) infests coffee cherries, laying eggs inside the fruit where the larvae feed on the coffee seeds (beans). This damages the beans, reducing yield and quality.

Coffee ground

The coarsely or finely crushed particles of coffee beans resulting from the grinding process. After brewing, used coffee grounds can be disposed of or repurposed for other purposes such as composting, gardening, or skincare.

Coffee Cherry
It is the fruit of the coffee plant (botanically known as Coffea that contains two seeds, which are coffee beans. Depending on the coffee variety, ripe coffee cherries are typically red but can also be yellow or purple. The color of the cherry indicates the optimal time for harvesting. Understanding cherry anatomy is crucial for proper processing and quality control.

Coffee Grading

The process of evaluating and categorizing coffee beans based on various factors such as size, appearance, and quality. Grading systems vary depending on the country of origin and industry standards but generally involve assessing characteristics such as bean size, color, moisture content, defects, and flavor profile. Higher grades typically indicate superior quality beans with fewer defects and more desirable flavor attributes.

Coffee Pod

A single-serving portion of pre-packaged ground coffee enclosed in a filter, typically made of paper or plastic. Coffee pods are designed for use in pod-based coffee machines, also known as pod or capsule coffee makers. They offer convenience and ease of use, allowing users to quickly brew a single cup of coffee without the need for grinding coffee beans or measuring portions.

Coffee processing

The series of steps involved in transforming freshly harvested coffee cherries into green coffee beans ready for roasting. Coffee processing methods vary depending on factors such as geographical region, climate, and desired flavor profiles.

Coffee Roasting

The process of heating coffee beans to transform them from their raw, green state into the aromatic and flavorful beans used for brewing coffee. During roasting, the beans undergo chemical changes that affect their color, aroma, and taste. This process is crucial in developing the unique flavor profiles of coffee beans (light, medium, dark) and is considered an art form by coffee roasters.  

Cold Brew

A method of brewing coffee using cold water over an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. Coarse coffee grounds are steeped in cold water, allowing for a gradual extraction of flavor compounds without the use of heat. The resulting brew is smooth, mellow, and less acidic compared to traditional hot-brewed coffee. Cold brew is often served over ice and can be diluted with water or milk to taste.

Complexity

A desirable characteristic in coffee that refers to the presence of multiple distinct flavor notes, aromas, and nuances that contribute to a rich and layered taste experience. A complex coffee may exhibit a combination of fruity, floral, spicy, nutty, or chocolaty flavors, along with varying levels of acidity, sweetness, and body. Achieving complexity in coffee requires careful cultivation, processing, and roasting techniques that preserve and enhance the unique flavor profiles of the beans

Cooperative

A group or association of coffee farmers who collaborate to collectively grow, process, market, and sell their coffee beans. Coffee cooperatives are formed to empower small-scale farmers by providing them with access to resources, technical assistance, and fair market opportunities. By pooling their resources and bargaining power, cooperative members can achieve better prices for their coffee, improve quality through shared knowledge and training, and gain access to international markets.

Crema

A layer of foam that forms on the surface of a freshly brewed shot of espresso, characterized by its creamy texture and golden-brown color. Crema is created during the espresso extraction process when carbon dioxide gas, released from the coffee grounds during brewing, emulsifies with coffee oils and water to form a stable foam. It serves as a visual indicator of espresso quality, with a thick and persistent crema often associated with well-extracted espresso shots.

Cup of joe

A slang term commonly used to refer to a cup of coffee. The origin of the phrase is uncertain, but one popular theory attributes it to Josephus Daniels, a U.S. Navy secretary who banned alcohol aboard Navy ships in 1914. As a result, sailors turned to coffee as their primary beverage, leading to the term "cup of Joe" as a colloquialism for coffee.

Cup of excellence(COE)

A prestigious coffee competition and auction program established to identify and reward the highest quality coffees from around the world. The COE program involves a rigorous selection process where expert judges evaluate coffees through blind cuppings, scoring them based on various criteria such as flavor, aroma, acidity, body, and balance. The COE program aims to promote transparency, traceability, and fair compensation for coffee farmers, while also showcasing exceptional coffees to the global specialty coffee market. Winning coffees often command premium prices and are highly sought after by coffee enthusiasts and roasters.

Coffee Wave

The concept of the "coffee wave" refers to the evolution and trends within the coffee industry over time. It's often divided into several distinct waves, each characterized by shifts in consumer preferences, advancements in coffee culture, and changes in the coffee supply chain. These are: First Wave,  Second Wave, Third Wave and, Fourth Wave (Emerging)

Coffee Parchment
It consists of the endocarp and mucilage, a paper-like layer surrounding the coffee bean that develops during maturation. Parchment is removed during the processing stage to reveal the green coffee bean, which is then roasted to produce the familiar brown bean used for brewing. Parchment protects beans during drying, preventing external contaminants.   
Cupping
A standardized tasting method used to evaluate and score different coffee beans. It involves smelling, slurping, and evaluating coffee to identify various flavor attributes. This method is essential for quality control, enabling consistent evaluation of coffee characteristics.  

Dark Roast

A coffee roast level characterized by longer roasting times and higher temperatures, resulting in beans that are darker in color and often have an oily surface. Dark roast coffees typically have bold, robust flavors with pronounced bitterness and low acidity. Common examples of dark roast coffees include French roast, Italian roast, and espresso roast. These coffees are favored by those who enjoy intense flavors and prefer a strong, full-bodied cup of coffee.

Decaf

Short for decaffeinated coffee, decaf refers to coffee that has had most of its caffeine content removed. Decaf coffee allows people to enjoy the taste and aroma of coffee without the stimulating effects of caffeine, making it suitable for those who are sensitive to caffeine or prefer to limit their intake.

Degassing

The process by which freshly roasted coffee beans release carbon dioxide gas that has accumulated during the roasting process. Degassing typically occurs over the first few days after roasting, with most of the gas being released within the first 24 to 48 hours. Proper degassing is important for ensuring that coffee beans reach their optimal flavor profile before brewing, as excessive carbon dioxide can negatively impact the brewing process and result in off-flavors in the coffee.

Direct Trade

A sourcing model in the coffee industry where coffee roasters or buyers establish direct relationships and transactions with coffee producers or farmers, bypassing traditional coffee brokers or middlemen. Coffee buyers often visit coffee farms personally to assess the quality of the beans, negotiate prices directly with farmers, and ensure fair compensation for their efforts. This approach enables coffee roasters to have more control over the sourcing process, fosters long-term relationships with producers, and allows for better quality assurance throughout the supply chain. 

Doppio

An Italian term used in coffee culture to refer to a double shot of espresso.

Dose

In the context of coffee, "dose" refers to the amount of coffee grounds used in a single serving or extraction. It is typically measured by weight and can vary depending on factors such as the brewing method, desired coffee strength, and personal preference.

Drip method

A popular coffee brewing technique that involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans contained in a filter, allowing the water to drip through and extract flavor as it passes. The drip method allows for customizable brewing parameters such as water temperature, grind size, and brewing time, resulting in a flavorful and aromatic cup of coffee.

Earthy Flavor

A tasting note in coffee that describes the presence of flavors reminiscent of soil, forest floor, or minerals. They are commonly found in coffees grown in regions with rich volcanic soil or in beans processed using natural or dry processing methods.

Elevation

Refers to the height above sea level at which coffee plants are grown. Elevation plays a significant role in determining the quality and flavor characteristics of coffee beans. Generally, higher elevation coffee plants tend to produce beans with more desirable qualities, such as increased acidity, complexity, and sweetness.

Espresso  A concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans under high pressure. Espresso is characterized by its rich flavor, creamy texture, and a layer of golden crema on top, formed during brewing. It is typically served in small quantities, known as shots, and is the base for coffee-based drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos.   

Estate Coffee

Refers to coffee that is sourced from a single farm or estate, rather than being a blend of beans from multiple farms or regions. Estate coffees are often prized for their traceability, consistency, and unique flavor profiles, which reflect the specific terroir and farming practices of the individual estate.

Exotic

Unique flavor profiles that stand out from typical coffee flavors. These flavors are often associated with single-origin coffees sourced from remote regions or beans that undergo uncommon processing methods.

Extraction

Refers to the process of extracting soluble flavor compounds, oils, and other desirable elements from coffee grounds using water. It's a fundamental step that occurs during brewing, where hot water interacts with the coffee grounds to dissolve and extract flavors.

Farm-Direct

This refers to sourcing coffee directly from the farm or producer, bypassing intermediaries such as exporters, importers, or distributors. It allows for closer relationships between coffee buyers and producers, promotes transparency in the supply chain, and often ensures better prices for farmers. The specialty coffee industry values this approach for its emphasis on traceability, quality, and supporting sustainable practices at the farm level.

Fair Trade
A trading approach that champions equity and transparency and supports sustainable practices, community development, and social responsibility. Fairtrade certification ensures fairness in trade relationships, benefiting farmers and consumers by promoting ethical standards.

Fermentation

Refers to the microbial breakdown of sugars and other organic compounds in the mucilage surrounding coffee beans, typically during the wet processing method. After pulping the coffee cherries, the beans are placed in fermentation tanks or soaking tanks filled with water. This allows naturally occurring microorganisms to break down the sugars in the mucilage over a period of time, typically 12 to 48 hours. Fermentation helps to remove the mucilage from the beans, resulting in cleaner flavors and enhancing the beans' inherent characteristics.

Filter

A filter refers to a porous material, commonly made of paper, cloth, metal, or plastic, used to separate coffee grounds from brewed coffee. Filters are an essential component in many brewing methods, including drip brewing, pour-over, and French press.

First Crack

A significant stage in the coffee roasting process characterized by a cracking sound as the coffee beans expand and release moisture. This marks the beginning of the development of roasted flavors, which is crucial for timing the roast. Roasters use the first crack as a reference point to achieve desired flavor profiles.       

Flavor

Refers to the perceived taste and aroma characteristics of the brewed coffee. It encompasses a wide range of sensory experiences, including sweetness, acidity, bitterness, fruitiness, nuttiness, chocolatey, floral, and spicy notes, among others. The flavor of coffee is influenced by various factors such as the coffee bean variety, growing conditions, processing methods, roast level, and brewing technique.

Fluid Bed Roaster

A type of coffee roasting machine that uses hot air to lift and suspend coffee beans in a chamber, allowing for even roasting.  Heated air is blown through a perforated plate or mesh at the bottom of the roasting chamber, creating a fluidized bed of coffee beans.

Froth

Refers to a layer of microbubbles created by aerating milk or dairy alternatives, typically through steaming or frothing with a steam wand. Froth has a creamy texture and is often found on top of espresso-based drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. It adds a velvety mouthfeel and visual appeal to the coffee beverage, enhancing its texture and overall drinking experience.

French Press

Also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a manual coffee brewing device consisting of a glass or stainless steel cylindrical carafe and a plunger with a metal or nylon mesh filter. To brew coffee using a French Press, coarsely ground coffee is added to the bottom of the carafe, followed by hot water. After allowing the coffee to steep for several minutes, typically around 4 minutes, the plunger is pressed down to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee.

Funnel

A cone-shaped or cylindrical device used to guide coffee grounds into a brewing vessel, such as a filter basket, portafilter, or French Press carafe. Funnels are commonly made of plastic, metal, or glass and come in various sizes to accommodate different brewing methods and equipment.

 Green Bean 
Coffee beans in their raw, unroasted state (typically green or yellowish) after processing and drying. The beans have their maximum shelf life at this stage, preserving freshness. They are the starting point for coffee roasting, during which they develop the familiar brown color, aroma, and flavor associated with brewed coffee. 

Grind size

Refers to the degree of fineness or coarseness to which coffee beans are ground before brewing. Grind size plays a crucial role in coffee extraction, as it determines the surface area of the coffee particles exposed to water during brewing. Different brewing methods require specific grind sizes to achieve optimal extraction and flavor balance

Hand Picking (Selective Harvesting)

A method of harvesting coffee in which only ripe cherries are hand-picked while the unripe cherries are left on the tree. This method requires careful inspection, timing, and manual labor, but it produces better-quality crops than other harvesting methods, such as mechanical harvesting. 

Hard Bean

Refers to coffee beans grown at high altitudes, typically above 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) sea level. Coffee plants grown at higher elevations tend to develop more slowly due to cooler temperatures and longer maturation periods. This slower growth process results in denser beans with higher concentrations of desirable flavor compounds. Hard bean coffees are commonly associated with regions such as Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Kenya, where high-altitude coffee cultivation is prevalent.

Honey Process
A coffee bean processing method combining elements of both washed and natural processes. Ripe cherries are pulped, leaving some or all of the mucilage intact during drying. The remaining pulp imparts sweetness and complexity to the beans during drying. It comes in various degrees (white, yellow, red), each influencing flavor differently.    

Hulling

Refers to the removal of the dried husk or parchment layer that surrounds the coffee bean after it has been dried.  

Immersion

Refers to a method where coffee grounds are fully immersed in water for an extended period to extract flavor. Unlike drip or pour-over methods where water flows through the grounds, immersion brewing involves steeping the coffee grounds in water, allowing the flavors to infuse.

Instant coffee

A coffee type made from brewed coffee beans that are either freeze-dried or spray-dried into a concentrated extract. It's commonly known as soluble coffee or coffee powder. To prepare, simply rehydrate the dried coffee powder with hot water, providing a quick and convenient cup of coffee.

Italian Roast

A dark roast level characterized by its deep, rich flavor profile and shiny, oily surface. Italian roast coffee beans are roasted for an extended period at high temperatures, resulting in a bold and intense flavor with pronounced smoky and caramelized notes. This roast level typically produces coffee with low acidity and a heavy body, along with bitter-sweet flavors. Italian roast is commonly used in espresso blends

Jute Bag

A bag made from the natural fiber of the jute plant, used for packaging, storing, and shipping green coffee beans. These bags allow air circulation around the beans, preserving freshness during transit.

Keurig cup ( K-cup)

A single-serving coffee pod designed for use with Keurig single-serve coffee machines. K-Cups contain pre-measured coffee grounds sealed in a plastic container with a filter. When placed in a Keurig machine, the machine punctures the K-Cup and forces hot water through the grounds to brew a single cup of coffee.

Keurig machine

A type of single-serve coffee brewing system produced by Keurig Dr Pepper, Inc. Keurig machines are designed to brew a single cup of coffee or other beverages quickly and conveniently. They use proprietary pods called K-Cups, which contain pre-measured coffee grounds or other ingredients sealed in a plastic container with a filter.

Kopi Luwak

Often referred to as the world's most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted by the Asian palm civet, a small mammal native to Southeast Asia. The civet selects and eats ripe coffee cherries, but the beans are not fully digested and pass through the animal's digestive tract. After excretion, the beans are collected from the feces, thoroughly washed, and then roasted to produce Kopi Luwak coffee.

Latte
A popular coffee beverage made with espresso and steamed milk and known for its creamy texture and balanced ratio of espresso to milk. For aesthetic appeal, Latte art (flavor syrups or toppings such as whipped cream, cinnamon, or cocoa powder) is often created on the drink's surface.  

Latte Art

A decorative technique used by baristas to create intricate designs on the surface of a latte or other espresso-based beverages. Latte art is typically achieved by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso in such a way that a pattern or design forms on the crema (the golden-brown layer of foam on top of the espresso). Common designs include hearts, rosettas, tulips, and ferns.

Light Roast

A coffee roast level characterized by its light brown color and minimal development of roast flavors. Light roast coffee beans are roasted for a shorter duration at lower temperatures, preserving much of their natural acidity, floral aroma, and delicate flavor notes.

Lungo

A term used in coffee culture, particularly in espresso brewing, to describe a longer extraction of espresso with more water than a standard shot. Lungos are often enjoyed for their smoother, milder taste and are commonly served in larger cups or glasses.


Machine drying

method of drying coffee beans after they have been washed or pulped during the coffee processing stage. This process involves the use of specialized drying equipment, such as mechanical dryers or drum dryers, which utilize hot air or other heat sources to remove moisture from the coffee beans.

Maillard reaction

a crucial process that contributes to the transformation of raw coffee beans into roasted coffee with complex flavor profiles. During roasting, heat causes the amino acids and sugars present in the coffee beans to react, producing a range of aromatic compounds that contribute to the coffee's flavor, aroma, and color.

Medium Roast

A coffee roast level that falls between light and dark roasts, characterized by a medium brown color and balanced flavor profile. Medium roast coffee beans are roasted for a moderate duration at moderate temperatures, allowing the beans to develop a more pronounced body and sweetness while retaining some acidity.

Micro Lot

A term used in the coffee industry to describe a small batch of coffee beans harvested from a specific section or plot within a coffee farm. Micro lots are typically distinguished by their unique characteristics, including distinct flavor profiles, aroma, and quality, which are influenced by factors such as altitude, soil composition, climate, and cultivation practices.

Mucilage A sticky, jellied substance that surrounds coffee beans within cherry fruit. It is a protective layer for the coffee seeds and contains sugars and other organic compounds. The presence or removal of mucilage can significantly impact the flavor profile of the resulting coffee beans.
Micro-lot
 A small, distinct batch of coffee beans harvested from a specific plot of land within a coffee farm. Micro-lots allow for focused quality control and highlight unique flavor profiles. Specialty coffee enthusiasts highly seek micro-lot coffees, often associated with premium quality and higher prices.

Milk Pitcher

A container used by baristas and coffee enthusiasts to froth and steam milk for making espresso-based beverages such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. Milk pitchers are designed with a narrow spout, which allows for precise pouring and control over the milk flow when creating latte art or layering milk and espresso in beverages.

Mocha

A coffee drink typically made with espresso, chocolate syrup, steamed milk, and topped with whipped cream.

Natural Process
Also known as the dry process, it's a method of coffee bean processing where ripe coffee cherries are dried whole, allowing the bean to absorb flavors from the fruit as it dries. The cherries are spread out in the sun or on raised beds for several weeks, and the outer skin and pulp naturally dry and ferment around the bean. This process produces coffee beans with a fuller body, sweeter taste, and fruitier flavor than other processing methods. Natural coffees often exhibit fruity and wine-like characteristics.

Nitro Coffee

Cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas, resulting in a creamy texture and frothy head similar to a stout beer.


Organic Coffee

Coffee produced without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, following organic farming practices. Organic certification ensures environmentally friendly and sustainable coffee production, appealing to health-conscious and environmentally aware consumers.           

Origin

refers to the geographical region or specific area where coffee beans are grown and harvested. Specialty coffee enthusiasts often seek out single-origin coffees to experience the unique flavors and terroir associated with a particular coffee-growing region.

Over-extraction

Occurs when the brewing process extracts too many solubles from the coffee grounds, resulting in a brew that is overly bitter, harsh, and astringent. Over-extraction can happen when coffee grounds are exposed to water for too long or when the water temperature is too high, causing undesirable compounds to be extracted from the grounds.  

Parchment

Refers to the thin, papery layer that surrounds the coffee bean after it has been removed from the cherry and dried. The parchment, also known as the "pergamino," serves as a protective layer for the coffee bean during the drying process and helps maintain its moisture content and freshness.

Portafilter

A key component of espresso machines used for brewing espresso-based drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos. The portafilter is a metal device with a handle and a perforated basket at one end where coffee grounds are placed.

Peaberry

A coffee bean that develops as a single round seed within the coffee cherry, rather than the usual two flat-sided beans.

Percolator

A type of coffee brewing device that uses gravity to cycle boiling water through coffee grounds, resulting in brewed coffee. The percolator consists of a pot with a chamber at the bottom to hold water and a perforated basket or chamber above to hold coffee grounds.  

Piston Machine

Also known as a lever espresso machine, a piston machine is a traditional type of espresso machine that uses a lever mechanism to generate pressure for extracting espresso. It consists of a lever that is manually operated by the barista, a piston, and a chamber for holding water and coffee grounds.

Pour-over

A manual brewing method that involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter, allowing the water to drip through into a container below.

Processing

refers to the series of steps involved in transforming freshly harvested coffee cherries into green coffee beans ready for roasting. Coffee processing methods vary depending on factors such as region, tradition, and desired flavor profile.

Producer

An individual or entity responsible for growing and harvesting coffee plants to yield coffee cherries. Producers can range from small-scale farmers to large estates and cooperatives, depending on the scale of production and the region.

Puck

The term "puck" refers to the compacted coffee grounds left behind in the portafilter after brewing. When espresso is extracted, hot water is forced through the coffee grounds in the portafilter, extracting flavors and oils to produce the espresso shot.

Pulling a shot

A term commonly used in espresso brewing to describe the process of extracting espresso from coffee grounds using an espresso machine. When baristas "pull a shot," they initiate the brewing cycle by activating the espresso machine, which forces hot pressurized water through a compacted puck of finely ground coffee in the portafilter.

Pulping

The Initial stage where the pulp machine separates seeds (coffee beans) from the outer skin and surrounding material. Effective pulping is essential for further fermentation and drying stages. It helps to remove excess moisture and unwanted substances from the beans, ultimately influencing the flavor and quality of the final coffee product.

Q- grader

A professional certification program developed by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) to train and certify individuals in coffee quality assessment and grading. Q-Graders are certified coffee tasters who undergo rigorous training and testing to evaluate and score coffee based on specific criteria related to flavor, aroma, body, acidity, balance, and overall quality.

Quakers

Undesirable, underdeveloped coffee beans that fail to roast properly and often result in a sour or grassy flavor.

Red eye

A coffee drink made by combining drip coffee (typically a cup of brewed coffee) with a shot of espresso. This combination results in a stronger, more caffeinated beverage than a regular cup of coffee, making it popular among those seeking an extra boost of energy.

Ristretto

A short shot of espresso made with less water, resulting in a more concentrated and intense flavor.

Roast Profile

A roast profile refers to the specific details and characteristics of how coffee beans are roasted. This includes factors such as the temperature, duration, and airflow during the roasting process. Roasters use roast profiles to achieve desired flavor profiles and characteristics in the final coffee product.

Roasting  

The process of heating green coffee beans to transform them into roasted coffee ready for brewing. Roasting is a crucial step in coffee production that greatly influences the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the final brewed coffee.

Robusta

A species of coffee plant known for its strong flavor and higher caffeine content compared to Arabica coffee, it is grown primarily in regions with warmer climates and lower altitudes, such as parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. Frequently used in espresso blends to add body and crema to the final cup.

Seasonal Coffee

Coffee that is harvested during specific times of the year, known as the coffee harvest season, and is typically available in limited quantities for a certain period. The availability of seasonal coffee is influenced by the growing regions' climate, altitude, and agricultural cycles.

Second Crack

In coffee roasting, the "second crack" is an audible popping sound that occurs during the later stages of the roasting process, typically when coffee beans reach a higher internal temperature of around 435-440°F (224-227°C). This cracking sound is caused by the expansion of the coffee beans as moisture and gases inside the beans rapidly expand and release. The second crack is an important indicator for roasters and is associated with darker roast levels, such as Full City Roast or Vienna Roast.

Shade Grown Coffee

Shade grown coffee refers to coffee plants that are cultivated under a canopy of trees or other shade-providing vegetation. This traditional method of coffee farming involves growing coffee plants in harmony with existing forest or tree cover, rather than clearing land for full sun exposure.

Shot

Refers to a serving of espresso extracted from an espresso machine. This term is commonly used in cafes and coffee shops when ordering espresso-based drinks.

Silverskin

Refers to the thin, papery layer that remains attached to the coffee bean after the parchment has been removed during hulling. Silverskin is a protective layer surrounding the coffee bean and is composed of cellulose and mucilage remnants.

Single Origin Coffee sourced from a specific geographic location, such as a country, region, or even a single farm. Single-origin coffees highlight the unique characteristics influenced by the specific growing area's local climate, soil, and altitude. This term is commonly used in the specialty coffee industry to emphasize the traceability and distinct flavors associated with a particular origin. Traceability enhances transparency and supports sustainable and ethical practices.    
Shade Grown A method of cultivating coffee plants under the natural canopy of taller trees or artificial shade structures. This method promotes biodiversity, helps conserve soil and water, and reduces the need for chemical inputs. Shade-grown coffee often produces beans with richer flavors and contributes to sustainable farming practices.              
Selective Harvesting 
A method of harvesting coffee cherries where only the ripest cherries are harvested from the coffee plants, leaving unripe and overripe cherries on the tree. This approach requires careful inspection and manual picking of coffee cherries to ensure that only the optimal fruits are harvested at peak ripeness.

Siphon Pot

Also known as a vacuum pot, is a unique coffee brewing device that uses a combination of vapor pressure and vacuum suction to brew coffee. It consists of two chambers: a lower chamber filled with water and an upper chamber for holding coffee grounds.

SL-28

SL-28 is a coffee varietal known for its exceptional cup quality and distinct flavor profile, primarily cultivated in Kenya. Developed by Scott Agricultural Laboratories in Kenya, SL-28 is a hybrid of Bourbon and native Kenyan varieties, selected for its resistance to coffee diseases and favorable cup characteristics.

Slurry

Refers to the mixture of coffee grounds and water during various stages of the brewing process. The term is commonly used in methods like pour-over, French press, espresso, and immersion brewing.

Sorting

Sorting in coffee refers to the process of categorizing and separating coffee beans based on various criteria, such as size, density, color, and quality. Sorting is a crucial step in coffee processing that helps ensure consistency and uniformity in the final product.

Specialty Coffee

High-quality coffee made from beans that have been grown and processed with meticulous care to bring out unique flavors and characteristics.

Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence and sustainability in the specialty coffee industry. Established in 1982, the SCA serves as a global community of coffee professionals, enthusiasts, and companies committed to advancing the craft and quality of specialty coffee worldwide.

Strip Picking

A harvesting method used in coffee cultivation where coffee cherries are selectively picked in strips or sections from coffee trees. This method involves harvesting ripe cherries from specific sections of the tree at a time, leaving unripe and overripe cherries for subsequent passes.

Sun Grown Coffee

Refers to coffee plants that are cultivated in full sun, without the shade of trees or other vegetation. This method of coffee farming contrasts with shade-grown coffee, where coffee plants are grown under a canopy of trees.

Tamper

A tamper is a tool used in espresso preparation to compress coffee grounds into a compact puck inside the portafilter basket. The purpose of tamping is to create a uniform and level surface of coffee grounds, which is essential for achieving proper extraction and flavor consistency during espresso brewing.

Tasting Notes

Refer to descriptive characteristics used to describe the flavors, aromas, and other sensory attributes of a coffee. These notes are often used by coffee professionals, enthusiasts, and consumers to communicate and appreciate the unique qualities of different coffees.

 Terroir Refers to the unique combination of environmental factors (soil, climate, and altitude) that affect coffee flavor. Different coffee regions have unique terroirs, leading to distinct taste profiles. Understanding terroir is essential for identifying and appreciating specific coffee characteristics.

Traceability

Refers to the ability to track the journey of coffee beans from their origin (farm or region) through various stages of production, processing, and distribution until they reach the consumer. It involves documenting and maintaining records that provide transparency and accountability in the coffee supply chain.

Trigonelline

Trigonelline is a naturally occurring compound found in coffee beans and various other plants. It is a member of the alkaloid family and contributes to the characteristic flavor and aroma of coffee.

Turkish Coffee

A traditional method of brewing coffee commonly practiced in North Africa and Middle East where very finely ground coffee is boiled in water with sugar, then served unfiltered in small cups.

Typica

A coffee varietal known for its historical significance and widespread cultivation in coffee-growing regions around the world. It is considered one of the foundational Arabica coffee varieties and has contributed to the genetic diversity of coffee plants.

Under-Extracted

Refers to a condition in coffee brewing where insufficient flavor, aroma, and desirable compounds are extracted from the coffee grounds during the brewing process. This results in a suboptimal cup of coffee characterized by certain taste and texture characteristics.

Unwashed

A coffee processing method where the beans are dried with the fruit still intact, resulting in a more fruity and fermented flavor profile.

Varietal

A specific cultivar or type of coffee plant, such as Bourbon, Typica, or Geisha.


Variety

Refers to the specific subspecies or cultivar of the coffee plant. Coffee varieties can vary widely in terms of their genetic characteristics, growth habits, flavor profiles, and adaptation to different environmental conditions.

Washed Process
A coffee bean processing method involving thorough washing and fermentation to remove mucilage, enhancing cleanliness. This method is known for producing clean, bright, and acidic coffees that highlight the unique characteristics of the coffee's terroir. Washed coffees often exhibit brighter acidity and distinct flavor clarity.

Wet-Hulled Process

Also known as "Giling Basah" in Indonesia, is a unique coffee processing method commonly used in regions such as Sumatra and Java. This method differs from the more common fully washed or natural processing methods and results in distinct flavor profiles characteristic of Indonesian coffees.

Wet-Mill

A wet mill (or wet processing mill) is a facility used in the coffee industry to process freshly harvested coffee cherries into green coffee beans ready for drying and further processing. This method is commonly used in regions where coffee is grown, particularly in countries known for producing high-quality Arabica coffees.

World Coffee Organization

Also known as the International Coffee Organization (ICO), is an intergovernmental organization established in 1963 with the aim of promoting international cooperation in the coffee sector and ensuring a sustainable coffee economy.




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