Glossary beginning with R

Click one of the letters above to go to the page of all terms beginning with that letter.

R

Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance certification is a broad certification guaranteeing that an agricultural product has met certain economic, ecological, and social standards.

Raised Beds

Raised beds, also refered to as "african-style beds" are elevated beds used for drying coffee when dry-processing. Coffee can either be dried on raised beds or patio-dried (dried on the ground). Raised beds promote airflow, and thus they may promote even and rapid drying.

Rambung

An Ethiopia cultivar brought to Java in 1928, along with a type called Abyssinia

Refined Sugar

Refined sugar refers to common white sugar. In coffee tasting, it refers to a clear, clean sweetness, with an absence of other characteristics, as might be found in Muscavado, Turbinado or Brown sugars.

Region

Region is a more specific area within the country. Arabica coffee grows roughly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Country of Origin is where the coffee is grown in general terms. Micro-Region is more specific. For example of a Country for a specific lot is Nicaragua, the region might be Nueva Segovia ( a state as well, the Micro-Region might be Dipilto, and then perhaps a nearby city name would locate the coffee even further.

Resting

Resting might refer to "reposo", the time after drying the parchment coffee, when it is held for 30-60 days to stabilize. In Brazil, the reposo time is longer. This step is critical for longevity of the coffee and occurs before processing/removal of the parchment. Coffee that is not rested in this way will fade quickly, becoming baggy. Resting might also refer to the step after home roasting a batch; coffee brewed immediately has so much C0-2 coming off it that it prevents good extraction or infusion of water. Also, certain characteristics are not developed immediately after roasting, such as body. A rest of 12-24 hours is recommended, or up to 3-5 days for some espresso coffees.

RFA

Rain Forest Alliance designation for coffee grown under sustainable conditions working towards organic farming when possible. RFA certification is applied in a sensible way, working with farmers to employ best practices for water and soil management. It is considered at easier certification to receive than a USDA compatible Organic certificate, as the use of nitrogen fertilizers and moderate use of pesticide is allowed.

Rich

Rich almost never refers to coffee, but instead to the coffee buyer who can afford over-priced Jamaica Blue Mountain and such.

Rio Zona

The lowest grade in the Brazil scoring system

Rioy

Result of continued enzyme activity when coffee beans remain in the fruit and the fruit dries on the shrub. Usually associated with natural processed coffees grown in Brazil. The Brazil grading rates coffee as Strictly Soft (the best), Soft, 'Soft-ish', Hard (+1, +2), Riado, Rioy, Rio Zona (the worst).

Ristretto

A smaller version of espresso where extraction is restricted is called a Ristretto. While espresso averages 20 ml, a ristretto is 15 ml.

Roast Defect

Roast defects indicate a problem with the roasting machine or process, resulting in off flavors in the cup. These are distinct from flavor defects that are a result of green coffee processing, or other factors from the plant itself. While roasting cannot make bad coffee good, it can easily make good coffee bad! Roast defects are sometimes characterized by a lack of sweetness, whether that be caramel, sugar, chocolate, syrup, etc.

Roast Profile

Roast Profile refers to the relationship between time and temperature in coffee roasting, with the endpoint being the "degree of roast". Roast profiling is the active manipulation of the "roast curve" or graphed plot of bean temperature during the roast, to optimize the results in terms of flavor. Two batches might be roasted to the exact same degree of roast, temperature endpoint or time, and have very different cup results due to different roast profiles. It's not just important how dark a coffee is roasted, it is equally important how it got there, and that is expressed in the roast profile.

Roast Taste

"Roast Taste" is a term we started to distinguish it from "Origin Flavor". We use the "roast taste" term define the set of flavors that result from the degree-of-roast, how light or dark a coffee is roasted. These are flavors related to caramelization, the browning of sugars, or other roast reactions. The wide range of flavors from sweet to bittersweet, from caramel to chocolate to carbony burnt tones, are the ones most often assigned to the set of "roast tastes". These are conceptually useful, but flawed distinctions since the compounds that form "roast taste" flavors are inextricably linked to the compounds that result in the "origin" flavors. But to describe the way that dark roast tastes eclipse origin distinctness of coffee, it is useful.

Roasted Coffee Storage

As coffee rests after roasting, it releases CO2. This process is called "out gassing". This generally prevents staling, or oxidation, for the first few days of a roast. Dark roasts will out gas longer than medium or light roasts, and hence they can benefit from a longer resting period. Generally coffee is best rested for 24 hours before brewing. Once cool, roasted coffee is best stored in an air tight container or container with a one-way valve designed to release CO2. Roasted coffee can be double wrapped and placed in a freezer and left there to prolong its freshness. Once you are using the coffee, it is best to leave it out at room temperature and not store it in the freezer as the temperature changes are not good for the coffee.

Robusta

Robusta usually refers to Coffea Robusta, responsible for roughly 25% of the world's commercial coffee. Taxonomy of Robusta is debated: some sources use “Robusta” to refer to any variety of Coffea Canephora, and some use "Robusta” as a species name. Caffeine content of Robusta beans is about twice that of Arabica.Robusta can be used in espresso blending to increase body and crema content.

Round

Usually referring to mouthfeel, a sense of completeness and fullness

Rubbery

A taste fault giving the coffee beans a highly pronounced burnt-rubber character. Result of continued enzyme activity in the coffee bean when it remains in the fruit and the fruit is allowed to dry on the shrub. Usually associated with natural processed robusta coffees grown in Africa.

Ruiru 11

Ruiru 11 is named for the station at Ruiru, Kenya where it was developed in the '70s and released in 1986. The initial test were with Hibrido de Timor (a cross between Arabica and Robusta, resistant to Coffee Leaf Rust) and Rume Sudan, an original coffee strain resistant to CBD, Coffee Berry Disease. Later they added SL-28 and SL-34 imputs due to poor cup character of the early tests. The Robusta content of Ruiru 11 is still an issue, and the cup does not match the quality of the SL types

Rust Fungus

Rust Fungus is a big problem in Colombia, but is found in many coffee producing countries. Known as La Roya in the Americas, this disease diminishes fruit production and ultimately kills the plant. Combating the disease with selectively-applied fungicides, especially in seasons with heavy rains, is key to saving the coffee plants.

Rustic

What is Rustic? This is a general term we came up with: A general characterization of pleasanty "natural" flavors, less spohisticated and less refined, but appealing. Dried Apricots from Sunmaid at the supermarket, vs. unsulphered dried apricots from the bin at the Health Food Coop. White sugar vs. Muscovado natural dry brown sugar. Buckwheat pancakes vs Bisquick. Bacon from the supermarket vs bacon from the farm. None of those are what I am talking about with the Robusta, but rustic is a lower process level in general, and might involve more earthy, woody, foresty, mushroom, mossy hints like a Sumatra, or might be more fruity, pulpy, winey, ripe fruit, light ferment, balsamic vinegar etc etc in a fruited natural coffee. Sometimes I refer to lemonade from a mix and homemade honey lemonade, hand-pulped, etc. So it's a very general and broad comparison. It could be made along many flavor lines, such as fruity, or sweet, or herbal (which tends to be weighted toward rustic), or even floral. Very clean coffees, traditional wet process types, would rarely have rustic flavors. Natural dry-process coffees would almost always have rustic flavors. Hybrid processes such as pulp natural (miel or honey coffees) range between wet- and dry-process. Mechanical demucilage coffees can be very clean, very rustic, or anything inbetween depending on process conditions.