Sweet Maria's Glossary

Abyssinia

Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, or a coffee cultivar

Acaia

Acaia is planted mainly in Brazil, an offspring of Mundo Novo cultivar.

Aceh

The northernmost district in Sumatra, which is north of North Sumatra. Seriously...

Acerbic

A synonym for unpleasant sourness. This can result from fermentation problems in the coffee (Sours beans) or from brewing problems.

Acetic Acid

Acetic acid can lead to vinegar-like flavors in over-mature coffees, or bitterness, but in moderate amounts it adds a positive winey note.

Acidity

Acidity is a positive flavor attribute in coffee, also referred to as brightness or liveliness. It adds a brilliance to the cup, whereas low acid coffees can seem flat.

Acids

Many acids contribute to coffee flavor: acetic, malic, citric, quinic, tartarric, phosphoric, etc.

Acrid

A general negative flavor term, from defect bean, bad roast, or bad brewing: Unpleasantly sharp, astringent or bitter to the taste or smell.

Aeropress

A portable coffee brewer that makes a unique dense brew, somewhat similar to an Americano.

African Coffee

African coffee is known for its wild flavors, from bright Kenyas, to floral Ethiopia Yirgacheffes, to rustic, earthy Ethiopia Sidamos.

After-dinner Roast

A roast created specifically for coffee consumed after the final meal of the day

Afternose

Commonly used in reference to wine, afternose compliments aftertaste, but refers to residual olifactry sensations after the coffee has left the palate.

Aftertaste

Aftertaste refers to lingering residual sensations in the mouth after coffee has swallowed.

Aged Coffee

Aged coffee is not the same as old coffee. Aged coffee typically has very strong earthy flavors, and can be very pungent, leather or tobacco aromas and flavors.

Agronomy

science and study of crops and soils

Agtron

A machine and a color matching system used for quality analysis generally in the food industry, and specifically in coffee

Aldehydes

An important factor in coffee aromatics, partially formed in roasting by the interaction of fatty acids and oxygen

Alfred Peet

The founder of Peet's Coffee in Berkeley California, Alfred was known for reintroducing a dark roast style to the West Coast.

Alkaloid

Dry and bittering flavors, usually in the aftertaste, caused by alkaline substances,

Altitude

The height above sea level that a coffee is grown. Coffee grown at higher altitude is often considered better, though this is far from a rule.

Ambient Temperature

The temperature in a given room or space.

Americano

A coffee beverage made by combining espresso with hot water.

Anise

Anise seed is highly aromatic and has a flavor similar to fennel and licorice, used to flavor various foods and liquors

Arabica

Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible for around 75% of the worlds commercial coffee crop.

Arabigo

Arabigo is a term seen in Latin America and refers to Typica cultivar

Arabusta

An interspecific hybrid of coffea arabica and coffea canephora (robusta).

Aroma

Aroma refers to sensations perceived by the olfactory bulb and conveyed to the brain; whether through the nose or retro-nasally

Arusha

The name of a cultivar from Tanzania, as well as a general trade name for Tanzania coffees from Mount Meru area

Asalan

The term in Bahasa Indonesian for green coffee that is hulled, dried, and ready to sell to an exporter.

Ashy

The smell or taste of ash, such as an ashtray, cigarette smoke, or fireplace. Often a roast defect.

Astringent

A harsh flavor sensation, acrid flavor, that provokes a strong reaction. It can have dryness, saltiness, sourness and bitterness as components.

Ateng

Ateng is a common name for Catimor coffees widely planted in Sumatra and other Indonesia isles.

Australia

Australian coffee bears resemblance in the cup to the soft, sweet Island Coffee flavor profile.

Backflushing

Backflushing is a process done to espresso machines to clean them, where water is forced back into the machine to flush out coffee residue.

Baggy

The flavor of coffee that has been stored for too long, it has absorbed the flavor of whatever it has been stored in.

Baked

Under-developed flavors that result from long, low-heat roasting or a too-light roast level (before 1st crack is fully finished).

Balance

Suggests a harmony and proportion of qualities, and implies mildness since no one quality dominates.

Bali

Coffee from the Indonesian island of Bali was formerly sold exclusively to the Japanese market. Perhaps it is the changing face of world economics that finds the first exports of Balinese coffee arriving under exclusive contract in the U.S.

Basic Flavors

In the mouth sensations derived from the basic flavors: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, savory (umami).

Batch

A carefully weighed or measured amount of coffee for roasting.

Behmor Coffee Roaster

A drum roaster designed for home roasters, with variable batch sizes (from 1/4 pound to 1 pound) and a smoke-reduction system.

Beneficio

In Latin American countries, a wet mill is called a Beneficio, where fresh coffee cherries are brought for pulping, fermentation, and drying.

Bergamot

Bergamot Orange is the size of an orange, with a yellow color similar to a lemon, and has a pleasant fragrance. The juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than grapefruit.

Bergendal

Bergendal is an older Typica cultivar in Indonesia. It is a specific area in the Gayo area in Aceh near Takengon.

Bitter

Bitter is one of four basic sapid (in the mouth) tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter. It has an essential role in coffee flavor, but is unpleasant in excess...

Bittersweet

Borrowed from the language of chocolate, this refers to pleasant bittering compounds balanced by sweetness, and is usually a function of roast.

Black Bean

A coffee bean whose interior is totally back (endosperm), due to fungii, mold, yeast, pest.

Blackberry

Blackberry flavor in coffee sometimes relates to slightly more developed roast levels.

Blade Grinder

A coffee grinder that works by way of a high-speed rotating blade.

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.

Blue Mountain Cultivar

Named for the Jamaica coffee brand, a form of Typica

Body

Body is sense of weight and thickness of the brew, its viscosity.

Bold

A high level of intensity, an aggressive flavor profile. We use it as the highest level of intensity in our coffee reviews.

Bolivia

Bolivia has always been a coffee origin with great potential, the potential to have a unique Specialty coffee offering with unique cup character.

Bottomless Portafilter

An espresso portafilter with the bottom machined off so the bottom of the filterbasket is exposed.

Bourbon

Along with Typica, a main arabica cultivar that was developed by the French on the island of Bourbon.

Bourbon Mayaguez

A Bourbon cultivar variant from Rwanda and Burundi.

Brazil

Brazil is a coffee giant . As Frank Sinatra sang, they grow an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.

Brazil Coffee Grades

Brazil has it's own grading system based on the physical properties of green coffee and on flavor.

Break

A dance, a beat, an error, an interruption ... or in coffee cupping, the breaking of the crust of floating grounds, part of aromatic evaluation

Brewed Coffee

Brewed Coffee refers to all coffee preparations produced by adding non-pressurized water to coffee grounds. This can be contrasted with espresso coffee, which is produced under pressure.

Brightness

A euphemistic term we use often to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic notes.

Brown Sugar

In coffee, a sweetness characterized by a hint of molasses, yet quite refined as well.

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.

Burnt

A defect flavor characterized by a lack of sweetness in the coffee, due to roasting problems.

Burr Grinder

A coffee grinder that grinds by passing a flow of beans between a pair of rotating metal discs.

Burundi

Burundi coffee bears striking resemblence to neighboring Rwanda, in both cup character, but also the culture surrounding coffee. Burundi is a small landlocked country at the crossroads of East and Central Africa, straddling the crest of Nile-Congo watershed.

Buttery

A mouthfeel description indicating thickness and creamyness. Can also be a flavor description.

Caffeine

An alkaloidal compound that has a physiological effect on humans, and a slight bittering flavor.

Cajuela

A standard volume measurement for coffee cherry used in Costa Rica.

Cane Sugar

In coffee cupping, a slight rustic sweetness, but without molasses-like flavors of brown sugar or raw sugar.

Cappy

A defect term referring to oxidized unpleasantly sharp cheese flavor.

Caracol

The Spanish-language term for Peaberry is the same for snail.

Caramel

Caramel is a desirable form of sweetness found in the flavor and aroma of coffee, and is an extension of roast taste.

Caramelization

A reaction involving sugars that occurs during coffee roasting. A caramelized sugar is less sweet, but has greater complexity of flavor and aroma.

Carbon Dioxide Process

A decaffeination method where beans are placed in a liquid bath of highly-pressurized CO2.

Carbony

A roast-related flavor term, referring to burnt flavors from dark roast levels

CATIE

A coffee non-profit research organization in Costa Rica

Catimor

A group of cultivars derived from HdT and Caturra cross, highly productive, sometimes with inferior cup flavor.

Catuai

Catuai is a high-yield dwarf Arabica cultivar resulting from a cross of Mundo Novo and Yellow Caturra.

Caturra

An Arabica cultivar discovered as a natural mutant of Bourbon in Brazil in 1937.

CBB

Coffee Berry Borer, a pest that burrows into the coffee seed, and a major problem in many coffee origins.

Cellulose

Cellulose is the main physical component of the coffee seed, its woody structural element.

Central American Coffee

Central American coffee is known for its classic, balanced profile.

Chaff

Chaff is paper-like skin that comes off the coffee in the roasting process.

Channeling

Channeling refers to the formation of small water jets during espresso brewing due to poorly distributed grounds.

Charrieriana

Coffea charrieriana is a caffeine-free species from the Cameroon. Cup quality is unknown at this point.

Cheesy

A coffee that has a kitchy quality, or literally cheese-like flavors in the cup.

Chemex Coffee Brewer

A glass filter drip coffee brewer with an extended brew time.

Chemical Process

A decaffeination method where beans are soaked in hot water, which is then treated with a chemical that bonds to caffeine (either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate).

Cherimoya

A delicious tropical fruit flavor found in some coffees from Central and South America

Cherry

Either a flavor in the coffee, or referring to the fruit of the coffee tree, which somewhat resembles a red cherry.

Chicory

Chicory was a popular coffee substitute and economizer for 2 centuries, back when coffee was more prized, and pure coffee was a luxury.

Chirimoya

A tropical fruit found in Colombia, with complex tropical fruit flavors. Very aromatic.

Chlorogenic Acid

Chlorogenic acids are important to coffee flavor, contributing to flavor when in the proper balance and level.

Chocolate

A general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of chocolate. But what type? Usually described with more specifics.

Chop

A chop refers to the lot marks on the cloth (burlap jute or sisal) coffee bag

Citric Acid

A positive flavor acid in coffee, that often leads to the perception of citrus fruits and adds high notes to the cup.

Citrus

Qualities in coffee that are reminiscent of a citrus fruit; orange, lemon, grapefruit, kumquat, etc.

City Roast

City roast is what we define as the earliest palatable stage that the roast process can be stopped and result in good coffee flavors. City roast occurs roughly between 415 and 425 Fahrenheit.