Sweet Maria's Coffee Glossary

All Terms:
(A-C), (D-L), (M-S), (T-Z)

By Category:
   Brewing    Chemistry    Equipment    Flavor    Roasting    Origin
   Processing    Biology/Cultivars    Trade Terms    Sweet Maria's Terms    Defects


Afternose
Commonly used in reference to wine, afternose compliments aftertaste, but refers to residual olfactory sensations after the coffee has left the palate.
Related Terms:
Aftertaste Sensory Analysis Cupping Fragrance Complex Flavor Aroma
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Agronomy
A branch of agriculture dealing with field-crop production, soil management and physiology, etc. Agronomy is an umbrella term dealing with all this and more.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Trade Terms


Alfred Peet
The founder of Peet's Coffee in Berkeley California, Alfred was known for reintroducing a dark roast style to the West Coast. For some time, the logic of light roasting had to do with economics: the longer you roast the more weight you lose, hence the less product you have to sell by the Lb. His dark roast style was contrary to this, and Peets was known for buying higher quality coffee. He sold Peets in 1979 but continued to buy green coffee until 1983. He passed away in August 2007.
Related Terms:
Cup Of Excellence Kenneth Davids George Howell Willem Boot
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Arusha
The name of a cultivar from Tanzania, as well as a general trade name for Tanzania coffees from Mount Meru area
Related Terms:
Cultivar Varietal Typica Bourbon Caturra Catimor Catuai Mundo Novo Pacamara Gesha Maragogype Arabica Robusta
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


Asalan
The term in Bahasa Indonesian for green coffee that is hulled, dried, and ready to sell to an exporter. Used in North Sumatra and the Aceh coffee regions. Easy to misread as Aslan, the friendly lion, just as Aceh is so easy to read as Ache.
Related Terms:
Kopi Labu Gabah Wet-hulled Sumatra
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Beneficio
In Latin American countries, a wet mill is called a Beneficio, where fresh coffee cherries are brought for pulping, fermentation, and drying. In Rwanda and some other African countries it is a "washing station". In Kenya it is a "coffee factory".
Related Terms:
Factory Washing Station Wet Mill
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Blended Coffee
A blend is a mixture of coffees from multiple origins. Coffees are typically blended to produce a more balanced cup. Here at Sweet Maria's, almost all of the blends you'll see are made with espresso in mind.
Related Terms:
Single Origin Espresso
Categories:
Flavor Processing Brewing Trade Terms


Brazil Coffee Grades
Brazil has it's own grading system for defects. There is a size and physical defect grade, as well as a flavor defect grade. The Brazil flavor grading rates coffee as Strictly Soft (the best), Soft, 'Soft-ish', Hard (+1, +2), Riado, Rioy, Rio Zona (the worst).
Related Terms:
Strictly Soft Soft Hard Rioy
Categories:
Trade Terms


Break
In coffee cupping, the "breaking of the crust" of floating grounds, part of aromatic evaluation. You add water to the coffee grounds, filling the cup, and wait 4 minutes. At this point there is still a crust of floating coffee grinds. You put your nose right above the cup and "break" this crust by stirring it with the spoon. The grinds sink, and the coffee can be tasted anywhere from 5-15 minutes after the break.
Related Terms:
Crust Cupping Body Aroma Flavor
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms


Burlap Bags
Burlap bags are the traditional container in which coffee is transmitted. Burlap is cheap, but long storage in burlap bags may result in a characteristic "baggy" defect taste.
Related Terms:
Coffee Storage Vacuum Packaging Baggy GrainPro SuperGrain Bag
Categories:
Equipment Processing Trade Terms Defects


Cajuela
A standard volume measurement for coffee cherry used in Costa Rica. A Cajuela is a standard box size, or can also be a basket. One Cajuela can result in about 1.5 kilos green coffee. A good picker can pick 15 cajuelas per day.
Related Terms:
Fanega Lata Crop Wet Mill Beneficio
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Caracol
The Spanish-language term for Peaberry, Caracol, is the same for "snail".
Related Terms:
Peaberry Flat Bean
Categories:
Trade Terms


Carbon Dioxide Process
A decaffeination method where beans are placed in a liquid bath of highly-pressurized CO2. As I understand it, supercritical CO2 acts as the solvent penetrating the coffee and extracting the caffeine, so when the coffee returns to normal temperature and pressure, there is no residue once the CO2 floats away. Some C02's approach the chemical decafs in cup quality, others are nearer to SWP decafs. Here's a longer and perhaps simpler explanation: Here is how it works: Coffee is mixed with water, and the beans expand in size, their pores get opened and the caffeine molecules become mobile. At this point carbon dioxide is added at 100 atmospheres pressure to the pure water. Basically the water and the carbon dioxide are mixed to create the sparkling water. The carbon dioxide acts like a magnet and attracts all the caffeine molecules that became movable. When the caffeine is captured by the carbon dioxide, this is removed. The carbon dioxide is very selective and it doesn't touch the carbohydrates and proteins of the coffee beans, which would damage quality. When the carbon dioxide has finished removing the caffeine, the coffee seeds are dried naturally. Carbon dioxide is then recycled and caffeine is sold for other commercial uses.
Related Terms:
Decaffeinated Coffee SWP WP
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Cherry
Either a flavor in the coffee, or referring to the fruit of the coffee tree, which somewhat resembles a red cherry. Coffee cherry is also called "coffee berry" especially in older English literature.
Related Terms:
Preparation Dry-Milling Beneficio Wet Process Dry Process Coffee Cherry
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms


Chop
Chop is an old term for the lot mark on a coffee bag, since the numbers are divided with forward slash marks. That is now correctly called the ICO number. Chops do not refer to music!
Related Terms:
Lot ICO
Categories:
Trade Terms


Coffee Berry Disease
A fungal disease that results in cherry dying and dropping to the ground before it is ripe. It is a serious problem in Kenya, and most of East Africa, and can be transmitted by the coffee seed.
Related Terms:
Coffee Berry Borer Coffee Leaf Rust
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


Coffee Grading
Coffee grading is the technical skill of evaluating and scoring of physical coffee defects in green coffee. The sample is 300 grams, and there is a particular point system to score the intensity of each defect, based on the full "black bean" which equals 1. Size is also rated in the unit of 1/64ths, so 17 screen means 17/64ths.
Related Terms:
Brazil Coffee Grades Screening
Categories:
Trade Terms


Conventional
Conventional means that a coffee is not organic certified, in the coffee trade.
Related Terms:
Organic Fair Trade RFA
Categories:
Trade Terms


Crust
In coffee cupping (tasting), you first judge the Dry Fragrance by smelling the ground coffee. Then you add hot water and judge the wet aroma. This is done in 2 steps: first by sniffing the crust of floating grounds that naturally caps the liquid mixture, then by "breaking" the crust with a cupping spoon.
Related Terms:
Aroma Body Cupping Flavor Break Fragrance
Categories:
Trade Terms


Cultivar
The naming of a cultivar should conform to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (the ICNCP, commonly known as the Cultivated Plant Code). A cultivar is a particular variety of a plant species or hybrid that is being cultivated and/or is recognised as a cultivar under the ICNCP. The concept of cultivar is driven by pragmatism, and serves the practical needs of horticulture, agriculture, forestry, etc. The plant chosen as a cultivar may have been bred deliberately, selected from plants in cultivation. This is the term we prefer to Varietal in terms of coffee, since it implies the intentional cultivation for organoleptic and production results.
Related Terms:
Caturra Typica Bourbon Origin Flavor Varietal Cultivar Flavor Catuai Catimor Organoleptic
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


Cup Of Excellence
The Cup of Excellence (COE) is a competition held more-or-less yearly in many coffee producing countries. Until 2008, the COE was limited to Central and South America, but with the 2008 Rwanda Cup of Excellence the competition has expanded to Africa, as well. In the COE, coffees are rated by an international jury and then auctioned off. COE coffees regularly fetch many times normal market rates for coffee, with the top coffees ofter selling for more than $20/pound. The Cup of Excellence was founded in 1999 in Brazil and expanded to other countries in the coming years.
Related Terms:
Cupping SCAA Specialty Coffee
Categories:
Trade Terms


Cupper
A cupper is a person who performs the somewhat formal analysis of coffee quality, called cupping. See the definition of cupping for more information. It has nothing to do with ancient Chinese medicine!
Related Terms:
Cupping
Categories:
Trade Terms


Cupping
Cupping is a method of tasting coffee by steeping grounds in separate cups for discrete amounts of ground coffee, to reveal good flavors and defects to their fullest. It has formal elements and methodology in order to treat all samples equally and empirically, without bias. In one long sentence ... a discrete amount of ground coffee is dosed into multiple cups or bowls for each sample, dry fragrance in evaluated, hot water is added, wet aroma is evaluated, the floating crust of grounds are "broken" with a fancy "cupping spoon" and the aroma is again evaluated, the cupper waits for a cooler temperature and skims the lingering foam from the top, then, after cleaning a spoon in hot water, carefully removes coffee from the top of the cup without stirring, and sucks the liquid across the palate, atomizing it into the olfactory bulb as much as possible, judging flavor, acidity, aftertaste, mouthfeel, and any other number of quality categories. Whew!
Related Terms:
Cup Tester Cupper Taster Liquorer
Categories:
Brewing Trade Terms


Cupping Spoon
A cupping spoon is specifically designed for the tasting procedure of the same name, cupping. It is similar to some bouillon spoons or gumbo spoons, and features (usually) a round deep bowl and arched handle. They are highly fetishized objects by the coffee cupper, and some guard their favorite spoon jealously!
Related Terms:
Cupping Cupper
Categories:
Trade Terms


Current Crop
Refers to any coffee that has not been replaced by new crop shipments, even if it was shipped from origin many months before. See Past Crop and New Crop as well.
Related Terms:
Past Crop New Crop Crop
Categories:
Trade Terms


Density
The density of a coffee bean is often taken as a sign of quality, as a more dense bean will roast more evenly. The higher a coffee is grown, the more dense it is likely to be. Coffee is sorted at origin by density, with the most dense beans graded as specialty coffee.
Related Terms:
Altitude
Categories:
Trade Terms


Direct Trade
A term used by coffee sellers to indicate that the coffee was purchased through a direct relationship with the farmer. Unlike Fair Trade and Organic certifications, Direct Trade is not an official, third-party certification. Our Direct Trade coffees are marked as "Farm Gate."
Related Terms:
Farm Gate Organic Fair Trade
Categories:
Trade Terms


Dry Fragrance
In the cupping procedure for tasting and scoring coffee, this is the smell of the dry, ground coffee before hot water is added. The term fragrance is used since it is normally applied to things we smell but do not consume (perfume, for example), whereas aroma is usually applied to foods and beverages.
Related Terms:
Wet Aroma Cupping
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Drying Coffee
In both dry-process and wet-process (and the other hybrid processes like pulp natural and forced demucilage) the coffee must always be dried before processing. In dry process you simply pick the coffee cherry fruit from the tree and lay it out in the sun to dry. In wet process you pulp the seed out of the fruit skin, ferment it to break down the fruity mucilage, wash it, and then dry it. Drying on raised beds is usually preferable by buyers like us, rather than on the ground or in a drying machine (a Guardiola).
Related Terms:
Dry Process Wet Process Dry Mill
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Erna Knutsen
Erna is known as the first dedicated "Specialty Coffee" importers/brokers in the US ... in fact she coined the term Specialty Coffee! Here bio reads, "After several years in the bay area Erna took a part time job as an executive secretary at a coffee and spice company. In addition to keeping the extensive "position book", taking dictation, and handling correspondence for the president of the company, she was called upon to deal with odd lots of coffee, and sell to the "small trade"." In other words, there were small Italian roasters still remaining in the Bay Area, and the salespeople did want to deal with them and their demands for better quality coffee from specific origins. She has a coffee importing business at www.knutsencoffees.com
Related Terms:
George Howell Kenneth Davids Cup Of Excellence Willem Boot Alfred Peet
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Ethyl Acetate
A chemical decaffeination process, but one using a mild type with low toxicity. It sometimes imparts fruity flavors to the coffee. This is a "direct contact method" of decaffeination since the solvent chemical that washes out the caffeine comes into contact with the coffee. Since Ethyl Acetate can be naturally derived from fruits and vegetables, it is considered benign.
Related Terms:
SWP Decaffeinated Coffee CO2
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Excelso
A Colombian coffee grade referring to screen size of 15-16. In the traditional bulk Arabica business, Excelso is a step below the large bean Supremo grade, which indicates screen size 17-18.
Related Terms:
Supremo Coffee Grading FNC
Categories:
Origins Trade Terms


Factory
In Kenya, a "Factory" is actually a coffee mill, where the fresh cherry is brought for wet-processing. It is called a wet mill usually, and a beneficio in latin america. In Rwanda and some other African countries it is a "washing station".
Related Terms:
Beneficio Dry Process Wet Process Wet Mill
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Faded
A general characterization that cup flavors are diminishing in quality due to age of the green coffee, and loss of organic compounds.
Related Terms:
Past Crop Baggy Straw
Categories:
Trade Terms Defects


Fair Trade
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to empowering developing country producers and promoting sustainability. Products are certified as fair trade, under guide lines developed by FLO, and administered in the USA by Transfair. It's benefit is that it is a global effort, coordinated by third-party certifiers. The problems are that it does not include the quality of the product, i.e. the taste of the coffee, as part of the certification. It applies only to products produced by co-operatives. It also DOES NOT MEAN that the cooperative member, the one who grew and picked your coffee, was paid according to any standard. It means the cooperative was paid a minimum price, and it is up to them to divide that among members fairly. In places I have been I have seen electricity brought in for coop members homes, schools built, clinics, etc. Great stuff! I have also seen extremely shabby conditions at FT coops, worse than private mills in the area. We support FT, while it is imperfect, and institute our own Direct Trade program in places we work with farmers, mills, and coops. In this case, we KNOW what the farm was paid at the gate, and we always pay higher that FT, often by 50%, 100%, or more.
Related Terms:
Organic Farm Gate FTO RFA
Categories:
Trade Terms


Fanega
A fanega is a measure of coffee used in some Latin America countries. It is equal to 250 kilograms of coffee cherry. It is used to measure only whole coffee fruit.
Related Terms:
Cherry Beneficio Wet-process
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Ferment
Ferment is the sour off flavor, often vinegar-like, that results from several possible problems. It might be the result of seriously over-ripe coffee cherry. It can come from coffee cherry that was not pulped the same day it was picked, and/or was exposed to high heat between picking and processing. Often it comes from poor practices at the wet mill, when coffee is left too long in the fermentation tank, or old coffee that is over-fermented is mixed with new coffee.
Related Terms:
Processing Winey Fruity Vinegar Defect Acetic Acid
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms Defects


Flavor Wheel
A term that probably refers to the SCAA Flavor Wheel, an analysis tool adapted from the wine industry. Half of it is dedicated to chiefly negative, defective flavors, while the other is mainly positive aspects. The hierarchy of flavor and aroma origins it connotes is highly questionable, but it remains a useful (if limited) tool for assigning language to sensory experience.
Related Terms:
Flavor Cupping Sensory Analysis
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms


Fly Crop
There are no flies in the "Fly Crop" but the term is intriguing, and it's origin yet a mystery to me. Fly crop is the smaller harvest that occurs in Kenya, in cyclical opposition to the Main crop harvest of August to October. It yields smaller amounts of coffee, and some say the quality is lower. While I have cupped occasional good fly crop lots, I have to agree; they qualify more as Kenya blenders than the "Grand Cru" powerhouses of the peak Main Crop auctions
Related Terms:
Harvest Crop Cycle
Categories:
Origins Trade Terms


FTO
FTO is shorthand for a coffee that is certified as both Fair Trade and Organic.
Related Terms:
Fair Trade Organic Farm Gate
Categories:
Trade Terms


Gabah
In Sumatra, the term in Bahasa Indonesian for coffee that is barely dried after pulping and fermenting (or not), and ready to sell to a collector. This coffee is usually 40-50% moisture content.
Related Terms:
Kopi Labu Asalan Wet-hulled Sumatra
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


George Howell
George Howell is a founder of the Cup of Excellence, devised the CoE cupping form, and is one who argues passionately for clean cup quality, free of flavors derived from processing. He currently owns Terroir coffee, and founded The Coffee Connection in the Boston area.
Related Terms:
Erna Knutsen Alfred Peet Willem Boot SCAA Cup Of Excellence Kenneth Davids
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Grade
Nearly every county of origin has its own grading scale. It can be incredibly confusing. Sometimes the coffee earns a higher grade than it deserves, sometimes the grade is actually lowered to avoid tariffs! Central and South Americans tend to follow the SHB and SHG model (Strictly Hard Bean and Strictly High Grown indicates altitudes above 1000m). So hard beans grow at higher altitude and that's good, right? Well, in Brazil's grading, Strictly Soft is a top grade. Many countries use a simple numeric scale. But a Grade 4 Ethiopian is the top Dry-Processed grade you'll see (Gr.2 in washed Ethiopians), and a Grade 1 Sumatra DP allows 8% defects (in fact Sumatra Grading is based on cup quality)! In essence, all should conform to the Green Coffee Classification System, but they don't. See the SCAA Green Coffee Classification Poster or the Green Coffee Association charts.
Related Terms:
Dry Process Wet Process Beneficio Dry-Milling Preparation
Categories:
Trade Terms


GrainPro SuperGrain Bag
A multi-layer plastic bag with a gas barrier enabling coffee "to build up a modified atmosphere, similar to the principle of the Cocoon" (quoted from the GrainPro literature). The bags can be used with any kind of commodity, and in tests using coffee, the bags have been shown to extend the flavor life of the coffee. We started using them extensively in 2008 to store delicate coffees and have found them to work very well. It means that we can buy more coffee at the peak of the season, when the best coffee is available, and then hold it in GrainPro for a few months with no flavor loss. In our coffee reviews, when we indicate GrainPro arrivals we are saying that, independent of the arrival month, the coffee is being stored to optimize freshness. For example, ordering a Costa Rica in Decemeber that arrived in jute bags in June formerly meant the coffee was on it's last legs, and might be showing some age in the cup flavors. Last year, we tapped into GrainPro shipments that arrived in June the following February and they were spectacular, with no indication of age in the cup flavor! These bags are for resealable safe storage of dry commodities. The bags act as a gas and moisture-proof barrier which guards against the ingress of water vapor, while retaining low Oxygen and Carbon-Dioxide levels created by the respiration of the commodity. They are made of tough, multi-layer plastic with gas barrier between layers of PE 0.078mm thick material. They are sealed using tie-wraps and placed inside the large jute bags of coffee in our warehouse.
Related Terms:
Vacuum Packaging Jute
Categories:
Equipment Processing Trade Terms


Green Coffee
Green coffee is a dense, raw green-to-yellow colored seed. In it's essence, coffee is the dried seed from the fruit of a flowering tree - each fruit having 2 seeds facing each other (the flat side of the coffee "bean") or in the case of the peaberry, a single rounded seed. Coffee is imported from coffee-producing origins in this form, then either roasted at home in small machines, on the stove or a host of other methods ... or roasted at a small, local shop in a batch roaster ranging from 5 kilos to 50 kilos ... or roasted at a large commercial roaster, either batch or continuous. Green coffee can be stored for months, up to a year or more in vacuum packs, with little to no flavor loss (whereas roasted coffee starts to stale within 10 days from roasting. Coffee is not really a bean, it is the seed from the fruit of a flowering tropical shrub.
Related Terms:
Silverskin Parchment
Categories:
Roasting Processing Trade Terms


Green Coffee Appearance
Appearance: This is an informal scoring of the Number of Defects per 300 gram sample (2d/300g = 2 defects) and is scored by the Specialty Coffee Association of Americas Green Coffee Classification System in most cases. It should communicate the quality of the preparation and sorting of the coffee, but doesn't directly indicate the "cup quality," which is the most important rating of coffee. A zero defect score doesn't mean that your 5 lbs. will have no defective beans either! The second number is Screen Size, expressed as 14/16 scr, or 18 scr. Once again, bigger isn't better, and small beans of varied screen size can make for a great cup too (i.e.: Yemeni coffee).
Related Terms:
Grade Preparation
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Hard
Brazilian coffee grading has a different logic than much grading in the rest of the coffee world. Terms like "hard" and "soft" describe the flavor, not the bean itself. So "hard" refers to a harsh, astringent mouth feel, "soft" is mild and fine. Note that hard in terms of bean density signifies quality and has nothing to do with hard flavors in the cup, such as SHB grade coffee - Strictly Hard Bean - from Central America.
Related Terms:
Strictly Soft Rioy Soft Brazil Coffee Grades Coffee Grading
Categories:
Origins Trade Terms


Hectares
We use this metric term often to discuss the size of coffee farms. The hectare is a unit of area, defined as being 10000 square metres, is primarily used in the measurement of land. 1 Hectare = 10000 Square Meters = 2.471 acres
Related Terms:
Direct Trade Finca
Categories:
Trade Terms


High Grow
High Grown, or HG, is the highest quality Mexican coffee designation but in Nicaragua it means 2nd quality.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Trade Terms


JBM
JBM is short for Jamaica Blue Mountain, which is both a trade name for certain Jamaica coffee, and a Typica cultivar. As a cultivar, it is one of the older New World Typica types since the Typica was circulated around the Carribean isles long before it was planted in the mainland of Central America. Not all Jamaica-grown coffee is necessarily JBM cultivar. As a trade name, it supposedly signifies the higher grown coffee from Jamaica, as opposed to Jamaica High Mountain, which is lower grown (!). There is no blue shade to the coffee or the mountain, or a specific geographical designation it indicates.
Related Terms:
Jamaica
Categories:
Origins Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


Kenneth Davids
A coffee writer and taster, he wrote the book on Home Coffee Roasting, literally, as well as other coffee subjects. He is known for his descriptive abilities, and has made much of his writing available through his web site: www.coffeereview.com .
Related Terms:
George Howell
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


KVW
A decaf plant in Germany specializing in the methylene chloride solvent method. KVW stands for Kaffee Veredelungs Werk. Solvent based methods have been shown to leave insignificant traces of chemicals that are fully dispatched by roasting the coffee.
Related Terms:
Decaffeinated Coffee SWP CO2 Ethyl Acetate Methylene Chloride Decaf
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Lot
Coffee can be separated by lot in any number of ways usually by the processor to distinguish one area of the farm, a particular altitude, particular trees, a particular day's pickings, a particular processing method, etc. For our purposes, the greater the delineation between coffees, the better; it allows us to taste new and different things in coffees that we thought we knew. Differentiating between coffees is the opposite of the commodity approach to coffee, where coffee is treated as corn or soybeans or steel, with batches being interchangeable.
Related Terms:
Chop
Categories:
Trade Terms


Mandheling
A trade name used for wet-hulled Sumatra coffees. It is an area and a culture group as well (spelled Mandailing often) but there is little coffee production in this area anymore. Mandheling coffees might have originated from anywhere in North Sumatra or Aceh provinces. They are graded on flavor defects in a very loose way, so a "Grade One" Mandheling might, in fact, have many physical defects.
Related Terms:
Sumatra Grade Preparation
Categories:
Trade Terms


Mbuni
Also spelled M'buni or Buni, this is a Swahili term that refers to dry-process coffee. In Kenya, M'buni coffees are harvested at the end of the season and sell for much less than red rip cherry from the middle of the season, which are wet-processed.
Related Terms:
Dry Process Wet Process Kenya Uganda
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Melange
A blend containing a coffee that has been roasted to a different levels (or steps) - light to dark.
Related Terms:
Step Blend
Categories:
Roasting Trade Terms


Methylene Chloride Decaf
The Methylene Chloride decaf method is a solvent-based process for washing the caffeine out of coffee. Called MC decaf for short. MC decafs have been shown to leave insignificant trace amounts of solvent that are fully dispatched in the roast process.
Related Terms:
Decaffeinated Coffee SWP CO2 Ethyl Acetate KVW
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Micro-Lot
Micro-Lot is a term ripe and ready to be abused. It already is. It's a term that designates not only a small volume of coffee, but a lot produced separately, discretely picked or processed to have special character. In other words, a Micro-lot should have been harvested from a particular cultivar, from a particular plot of land, from a particular band of altitude, processed in a separate way ...or a comination of these things. Ultimately, it is the result of some concerted effort to separate and carefully prepare a lot of coffee that will have special characteristics. If a large lot of, say 250 bags, is divided up into 25 bags lots and sold to small/medium roasters, that is NOT a Micro-Lot. It also implies some experimental or investigative input on behalf of the grower, the buyer or both working in relation with each other. Further, it implies cupping of lots and making qualitative selection, in an active relationship between farmer and buyer. Many lots sold in the trade as "Micro-lot" do not meet these standards, so it becomes a marketing word, as "natural" was in the '70s and '80s, used to imply a vaue to a product that it does not truly possess!
Related Terms:
Specialty Coffee Micro-Mill
Categories:
Trade Terms


Mokha
Mokha Yemeni type of coffee, both in terms of the family of cultivars planted there, and the general trade name. The alternate spellings are Mocca, Moka, Mocha. The name refers to the former coffee port on the Red Sea called Al Mahka, and all the spellings are derived from a phonetic interpretation of the Arabic pronunciation for this town. It is no longer a coffee port, and most Yemeni coffee ships from Hodeidah, also on the Red Sea. In terms of cultivar, all types of Mokha coffee are proved to come from Harar, Ethiopia or other areas on the Eastern side of the Rift Valley. Yemeni Mokha coffee is the first commercially planted "farms" (the coffee is grown on stone walled terraces) and the souce for what would become Typica and Bourbon cultivars. So all coffee comes from West Ethiopia and the Boma plateau of Sudan, then to Eastern Ethiopia and Harar via the slave trade route, then to Yemen, then to the rest of the world. Moka is an established cultivar as well, found in many ICO coffee research gardens and grown in some locales (such as Maui, Hawaii).
Related Terms:
Yemen Ethiopia Bourbon Typica Cultivar
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


Mouthfeel
A major component in the flavor profile of a coffee, it is a tactile sensation in the mouth used in cupping. quite literally can refer to how a coffee feels in the mouth or its apparent texture. In cupping mouthfeel is scored at light City roast level but mouthfeel can be directly affected in other ways by roast level as well, brew strength, and proper resting of the coffee after roasting. That is, Espresso and Dark Roast coffees have noticeably different mouthfeel than the same coffees at lighter levels. Body is synonymous with mouthfeel, but the latter implies a wider range of possible qualities, whereas body traditionally implies viscosity only. Mouthfeel is perceived by the trigemenal receptors, nerve fibers that surround taste buds.
Related Terms:
Aroma Body Cupping Flavor
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


New Crop
Refers to fresh shipments of green coffee within the first month or two of the earliest arrivals ... not quite the same as Current Crop.
Related Terms:
Past Crop Current Crop Crop
Categories:
Trade Terms


New York "C"
The New York "C" market is the NYBOT (New York Board of Trade) trading platform for arabica coffees that determine base contract pricing. Prices on coffee futures are fixed against the C market.
Related Terms:
Coffee Trade
Categories:
Trade Terms


Nitrogen Flushing
Pushing nitrogen, an unreactive gas, into a bag of coffee to force out oxygen, which is more reactive. Nitrogen flushing is often done as part of vacuum packaging, since vacuuming out oxygen is not sufficient to remove all oxygen in a bag.
Related Terms:
Coffee Storage Vacuum Packaging
Categories:
Equipment Processing Trade Terms


Organic
Organic coffee has been grown according to organic farming techniques, typically without the use of artificial fertilizers. Some farms have more local Organic Certification than the more well-known USDA Organic branding. In the US, when the "organic" label is used, it means (or it should mean) that the coffee is certified organic. There are plenty of areas where farmers are too poor to afford pesticides and so use other non-chemical methods to manage production and pests, but alas, they are also too poor to afford organic certification. In areas where coffee is handled many times between the farmer and the mill, and hence the exact location of its production is not known, organic certification is unavailable.
Related Terms:
Farm Gate Fair Trade
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Origin
In coffee talk, it refers to a coffee-producing region or country; such as, "I was just at origin."
Related Terms:
Country Micro-Region Department
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Outturn
An outturn is a term used in East Africa to describe a dry mill "batch" from a particular estate or coop. Each Outturn will be separated into AA, AB, Peaberry and other lower grades.
Related Terms:
Beneficio Mill Dry Mill Processing
Categories:
Trade Terms


Past Crop
Refers to an older coffee not from the "New Crop" or the "Current Crop". Cuppers will even use it as a general term for baggy, old hay or straw flavors; faded sensations of what it might have been when the green coffee was fresh; Past-Cropish
Related Terms:
Baggy Aged Coffee Straw Faded Defect
Categories:
Trade Terms Defects


Paul Songer
Currently on the staff of Cup of Excellence, Paul is head judge for many of the competitions, and an expert in sensory analysis. He is known for his knowledge of scientific and statistic principles, and synthesizing these in a meaningful way in sensory exercises. His consulting company is Songer and Associates.
Related Terms:
George Howell Kenneth Davids Cup Of Excellence
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Pour-Over Drip
New attention is being given to pour-over drip brewing, but the terminology is definitely not set yet. Pour-over drip brewing is simple and can yield great results based on technique. The older methods are Chemex and Melitta type filter cones. These use paper filters, usually. Newer types are the Hario V60, a modified ceramic come with a large orifice like the Chemex, and the Clever Coffee Dripper.
Related Terms:
Espresso Brewed Coffee SO Espresso
Categories:
Brewing Trade Terms


Preparation
Preparation refers to the dry-milling steps of preparing coffee for export: hulling, grading, classifying, sorting. Sorting means using density sorters (like the Oliver table), optical color sorting, and hand sorting. Then the coffee is bagged and ready to load in the shipping container. EP is a standard called Euro Prep.
Related Terms:
Dry Process Wet Process Processing Preparation Dry Mill
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Rainforest Alliance
Rainforest Alliance certification is a broad certification guaranteeing that an agricultural product has met certain economic, ecological, and social standards.
Related Terms:
Organic Fair Trade
Categories:
Trade Terms


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.
Related Terms:
Organic
Categories:
Trade Terms


Rio Zona
The lowest grade in the Brazil scoring system
Related Terms:
Brazil Coffee Grades Rioy Hard Soft Strictly Soft Coffee Grading
Categories:
Trade Terms


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.
Related Terms:
Defects Origin
Categories:
Chemistry Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


SCAA
The SCAA stands for Specialty Coffee Association of America, and is a trade group. The SCAA was formed by a group of roasters and importers who felt they did not have a trade association that represented their interests. The main commercial coffee group is the the NCA (National Coffee Association), which tends to cater to larger roasters, although that has changed over time. The annual SCAA trade show in one of the major gatherings for coffee people from all parts of the business, and all over the world. There is also the SCAE for Europe and SCAJ for Japan, who also have smaller trade shows each year.
Related Terms:
ICO CHOP
Categories:
Trade Terms


Second Crack
Second Crack is the second audible clue the roaster-operator receives about the degree-of-roast, following First Crack. Whereas First Crack sounds a bit like popcorn popping, Second Crack has a faster, shallower patter, much like Rice Krispies in milk, electrical sparking, a snapping sound. Second crack is a further stage of the pyrolytic conversion of compounds in coffee and occurs around 440 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The 2nd crack is a physical fracturing of the cellular matrix of the coffee, and results in an eventual migration of oils to the outside of the bean, as they are freed from their chambers within the coffee. When second crack is volatile, it can blow small discs off the coffee bean.
Related Terms:
Pyrolysis First Crack Roasting
Categories:
Roasting Trade Terms


Shade Grown
An ambiguous term used to describe coffee grown under shade. Shade grown coffee is said to better preserve animal habitats and avoid mono-culture on farms, but the truth of this may depend on the growing region. If a farm exists on the top of an arid plateau, for instance, it might be above the tree-line and, hence, naturally exposed to the sun. "Shade Grown" is also not an official certification (e.g. "Organic," "Fair Trade"), so no official standards for determining "shade grown" status exist.
Related Terms:
Organic Fair Trade Rainforest Alliance
Categories:
Trade Terms


Silverskin
On dried green bean coffee, the thin inner-parchment layer that clings to the bean and lines the crease on the flat side. Silverskin becomes chaff and falls off the bean during roasting. It is a fine inner layer coating the seed, between the thicker parchment and the bean. Formerly, dry mills would polish coffee to remove the silverskin, since the coffee looked better to the buyer. But this generates heat that damages cup quality, so the polishing step is discouraged.
Related Terms:
Chaff Green Coffee Dry Mill
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Single Origin
"Single Origin" refers to coffee from one location, in contrast to blended coffee. This term is particularly useful in discussing espresso, since most commercial espressos are made from blends. This is what the term "SO Espresso" means.
Related Terms:
Origin Flavor Blended Coffee Sensory Analysis Espresso
Categories:
Brewing Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


SO Espresso
Short for Single Origin espresso, meaning using one origin specific coffee to make espresso, as opposed to using a blended coffee.
Related Terms:
Espresso Pour-Over Drip
Categories:
Brewing Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Soft
Brazil has it's own grading system for coffee, and Soft is the grade just under Strictly Soft, meant to describe clean, mild cup flavors, and as opposed to "Hard" the grade below it.
Related Terms:
Brazil Coffee Grades Rioy Hard Soft Strictly Soft Coffee Grading
Categories:
Trade Terms


Specialty Coffee
Specialty coffee was a term devised to mean higher levels of green coffee quality than average "industrial coffee" or "commercial coffee". At this point, the term is of limited use, since every multi-national coffee broker opened a "specialty division" and because, under the same term, coffees of highly varying quality, high to low, are imported. Some say Erna Knutsen, the San Francisco coffee broker, coined this term. Some say it was Rod Lazar's grandfather, Frenchie Lazar. At the time the SCAA was formed, it certainly meant something more than now. And some called this "Gourmet Coffee" which means ?@$# ???
Related Terms:
Micro-Lot SCAA
Categories:
Trade Terms


Strictly Hard Bean
In Costa Rica, a classification/grading for specialty coffee. indicates the coffees was grown at an altitude above 1200 meters/4000 feet. Beans grown at a higher altitude, have a greater density, and thus a better specialty cup.
Related Terms:
SHG Grade Altitude Strictly High Grown
Categories:
Origins Trade Terms


Strictly High Grown
a general Specialty Coffee classification/grading. It indicates the coffees was grown at an altitude above 1200 meters/4000 feet. Beans grown at a higher altitude, have a greater density, and thus a better specialty cup. It is pretty much synonymous with SHB, Strictly Hard Bean, the classification used in Costa Rica for the same grade of coffee.
Related Terms:
SHB Grade Altitude Strictly Hard Bean
Categories:
Trade Terms


Strictly Soft
Brazil has it's own grading system for defects in the cup - Strictly Soft is the highest grade in the schema. Hard is considered a middle grade defective/commercial level coffee, so the term soft expresses clean, mild flavors
Related Terms:
Brazil Coffee Grades Rioy Hard Soft Strictly Soft Coffee Grading
Categories:
Trade Terms


Supremo
A Colombian coffee grade referring to screen size of 17-18 screen. In the traditional bulk Arabica business, Supremo was the top grade Colombia, with Excelso one step below at 15-16 screen. Neither of these refer to cup quality, only bean size.
Related Terms:
Excelso Coffee Grading FNC
Categories:
Trade Terms


SWP
Swiss Water Process is a patented water filtration decaf method, not a chemical solvent method. The plant is in Vancouver, Canada.
Related Terms:
CO2 Decaffeinated Coffee Ethyl Acetate
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Transparency
Transparency is a flavor characterization synonymous with clarity, or a business ethics term, implying that as much information as possible about a coffee is made available to the consumer.
Related Terms:
Direct Trade Fair Trade Farm Gate
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


USDA
USDA is The United States Department of Agriculture, that inspects coffee shipments and sets guidelines for importation. It is also an Indonesian cultivar of Ethiopian heritage that was part of varietal tests in the 1950's.
Related Terms:
Sidikalang Catimor Catuai Caturra Typica Bourbon Varietal Cultivar Bergendal Ateng
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


Vacuum Packaging
Sealing coffee in an air-tight container, with the air removed via vacuum. Green coffee and roasted coffee can both be vacuum packed to extend shelf life. Sweet Maria's is a big fan of vacuum-packing, even though we do not ship you your coffee in vac packs. We use it extensively, in a behind-the-scenes sort of way. We both receive many of our coffees from origin in vacuum pack (as well as GrainPro bags) and we switch lots into vacuum pack to offer at a later date. It is not a cure-all, and does not allow coffee to be stored indefinitely. But we feel it adds at least 6 months of shelf life to green coffee, when it is an approprately "rested" lot (i.e. has low water activity measurement) and is kept in a cool, dark place.
Related Terms:
GrainPro SuperGrain Bag Burlap Storage Jute Nitrogen Flushing
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Vinegar
Vinegar-like qualities are a defective flavor taint in coffee, resulting perhaps from poor processing, fermentation, sanitation. Usually, this comes from high levels of acetic acid, and come with a sour edge. Lower levels can lead to positive winey notes. Over-ripe coffee cherries, or delays in getting picked cherry to the mill can be the cause as well.
Related Terms:
Acetic Acid Fermenty Fermented Defect Sour Winey
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms Defects


Washing Station
In Rwanda and some other East African countries, a wet mill is called a Washing Station. In Latin American countries, a wet mill is called a Beneficio, where fresh coffee cherries are brought for pulping, fermentation, and drying.
Related Terms:
Wet Mill Factory Beneficio Wet Process
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Water Process
We use WP to mean Water Process, a a non-chemical decaffeination method. Since we use DP to mean Dry-process, it might be confusing that WP would mean Wet-process, but in Sweet Maria's vernacular, this is not how we use it. This is an "indirect" decaffeination method. Beans are soaked in near boiling water, extracting the flavor oils and caffeine from the coffee. The water is separated into a tank where it is forced through charcoal filters and generally stirred around in hot water to remove the caffeine. The beans are then reintorduced to the swill, absorbing their flavor. Since no chemicals are used, there's nothing to worry about but higher prices and duller coffee. We have had trouble in the past with the cup quality of SWP coffees; bright, lively coffees especially can end up cupping quite flat.
Related Terms:
Decaffeinated Coffee SWP Carbon Dioxide Process
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Wet Aroma
In cupping, wet aroma refers to the smell of wet coffee grinds, after hot water is added. The aromatics of a coffee greatly influence it's flavor profile, and comes from the perception of the gases released by brewed coffee. Aroma is greatest in the middle roasts and is quickly overtaken by carbony smells in darker roasts. Aroma is distinct from the dry fragrance from the coffee grounds; in general fragrance describes things we do not eat (like perfume) and aroma pertains to food and beverage we consume. Aromatics as a term may encompass the entire aroma experience of a coffee. Aromatics are a huge part of flavor perception (remember the 'hold your nose and eat an onion experiment). Aromatics reach the olfactory bulb through the nose and "retro-nasaly" through the opening in the back of our palate. While some taste is sapid, perceived through the tongue and palate via papillae, or taste buds, most of flavor quality is perceived through the olfactory bulb.
Related Terms:
Sensory Analysis Cupping Dry Fragrance Aroma Aromatics
Categories:
Flavor Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Wet Hulled Process
Wet-hulled process is a hybrid coffee method used in parts of Indonesia, especially Sumatra. It results in a dark, opal-green coffee with little silverskin clinging to it, and a particular low-acid, earthy, heavy body flavor profile. In this method, the farmer picks ripe coffee cherry, pulps off the skin and either dries it immediately for one day, or lets it sit overnight in a bucket (with our without water), then washes it the next day and dries it. In either case, the coffee is partially dried with some or all of the mucilage clinging to the parchment-covered seed. It is then sold at a local market to a coffee processor. They receive coffee at 40-50% mositure content, then dry it to 25-35%, and run it though the wet-hull machine. Friction strips off the parchment, and the bean emerges swollen and whitish-green. Then it is dried on the patio down to 11-14% moisture, ready for sorting, grading, bagging and export. In Bahasa, the method is called Giling Basah. See the related terms for the coffee stages: asalan, labu, gabah.
Related Terms:
Processing Pulp Natural Wet Process Dry Process Sumatra Sulawesi Indonesia Asalan Labu Gabah
Categories:
Processing Trade Terms


Willem Boot
Willem is a coffee consultant and taster, with a skill for leading panels. His company is Boot Coffee, based in the North Bay of San Francisco: www.bootcoffee.com
Related Terms:
George Howell Kenneth Davids Cup Of Excellence
Categories:
Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms