Glossary beginning with F

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

F

Facing

Facing refers to scorch marks found on the flat side or face of the coffee bean. Along with tipping, it is one of the telltale signs of scorching, a roast problem.

Faded

A general characterization that cup flavors are diminishing in quality due to age of the green coffee, and loss of organic compounds.

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.

Farm Gate

Farm Gate Coffee is the name we give to our direct trade coffee buying program. Farm Gate pricing means that we have negotiated a price directly with the farmer "at the farm gate," that is, without any of the confusing export and import fees. The prices we pay for our coffees are above Fair Trade minimums, and with our Farm Gate coffees we can easily verify that the good price we pay makes it to the people who do the work, and are responsible for the great cup quality of our coffee. Farm Gate is a simple principle that allows coffee producers to make premium prices in reward for coffee quality, and to reinvest to improve quality even more in the future. See http://www.sweetmarias.com/farmgatecoffee.html for more information.We guarantee that Farm Gate prices are 50% over Fair Trade (FT) pricing, but often they are 100%+ more that FT minimums. We support FT, and continue to offer FT lots. Fair Trade is a co-op certification - that is, it also does not allow certification for small independent farms - it is for co-ops only. We do support coffee co-ops, they are often not what consumers might think. There are many excellent co-ops, and many that are large, powerful, corrupt, and mired in bureaucracy. We avoid the bureaucracy of coops that sometimes do not share premium prices with their farmer members. Fair Trade certifies that the co-operative received the FT price, but it does not guarantee that the men and women who produce your coffee were paid the FT price.On the flip side, bear in mind that FT is a global standard, is verified by certifiers that make regular (if infrequent) visits to the coops. We don't have a third-party certifier. Instead we substitute our direct involvement at ground level in the buying process with farms, that we know what they received if we are paying them through a middle-person. Exporters and importers have a changing role, offering a service as logisitcs coordinators (and an important one at that) rather than coffee resellers. Any coffee bought off an importer/broker list does not qualify for Farm Gate, and we do still buy some coffees that way. Further, lots from origins where hundreds of tiny farms contribute to even the smallest importable lots, such as Sumatra, or Yemen, can't qualify for Farm Gate in many cases nor can Auction Lot Kenyas, even though we pay extremely high prices for all these coffees, and know from direct observation that a premium reaches the farmer.

Fazenda

Fazenda is the Portuguese word for farm, hence it is the term used in Brazil. Fazenda is not a coffee-specific term.

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.

Fermentation

A key part of the wet process of coffee fruit is overnight fermentation, to break down the fruit (mucilage) layer that tenaciously clings to the coffee seed, so it can be washed off. Fermentation must be done soon after picking the cherry from the tree, and lasts 12 - 24 hours depending on temperatures and other factors. When you feel the slimy coffee and the parchment layer feels rough like sandpaper, the coffee is ready to wash. Good fermentation and subsequent drying can lead to the cleanest coffee flavors in wet-process lots. Note that when I talk about fermentation, I don't mean to imply that the coffee seed is subject to fermentation. That would create defective coffee. The fruit coating the outer parchment skin is broken down with the action of peptic enzymes in the coffee. Cacao is fermented, coffee is not.

Fermented

As a defect flavor, a fruit quality in a coffee that is excessively ripe, toward rotten. Fermented flavor can be the result of poor wet-processing, over-ripe cherry, or some other contamination in the processing. As a processing step, all wet-process coffee is fermented to break down the mucilage. Coffee is fermented for 12-24 hours, sometimes longer, so the mucilage can be washed off the parchment layer.

Fermenty

A defect flavor, a fruit quality in a coffee that is excessively ripe, toward rotten. This often takes the form of vinegar-like aroma and flavor. Fermenty or vinegar flavors can result from high levels of acetic acid, whereas moderate levels lead to positive winey flavors.

Filtercone

Filtercones, as the name implies, are simply cones that hold a coffee filter. The cone fits on to the top of a coffee cup, grounds and a filter are put in, water drips straight through into the cup. A filtercones must be used with either a paper filter or a permanent filter.

Filterscreen

This is the part of the French Press that actually filters the coffee as the plunger is being pushed downward. It is a circular mesh screen either made of nylon or stainless steel and threads onto the plunger shaft. The screen must be cleaned after use and replaced periodically.

Finca

Finca is the Spanish word for farm. Sometimes the term Hacienda is used to imply an Estate, which would mean the farm has it's own wet-mill. A Finca does not necessarily have a mill. Finca is not a coffee-specific term.

Finish

Similar to aftertaste, but it refers to the impression as the coffee leaves the palate. Aftertaste is the sensations gathered after the coffee has left the mouth. We combine these to form the "final flavor impression" of the coffee

Flat Bean

The normal coffee fruit has 2 seeds inside, facing each other on their flat side. A percentage of each plant has peaberries, which are fruits where one of the ovules aborts and the remaining single seed grows to a rounded form; a "peaberry". Usually it goes without saying that a coffee is a flat bean, but in some origins like Tanzania with high percentages of peaberry, the term is used.

Flat Burr Grinder

A grinder with two flat, parallel disc-shaped burrs. Produces the most even grind at all settings, fine, medium and coarse. Typically more expensive than other mills.

Flavor Profile

Flavor Profile implies a graphical impression of a particular coffee, whether it be an artistic portrait or data graph of the perception of flavor compounds. In the case of our spider graph charts in each of our coffee reviews, this could be considered a flavor profile. It implies the inter-relationship of flavors.

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.

Floater

In the wet process, and sometimes in Pulp Natural or Forced Demucilage process, coffee cherries or parchment are floated in a tank of water. Good cherries or seeds are dense and sink. A coffee bean that did not mature inside the parchment layer will float in wet-processing.

Floaters

During the wet-process method, coffee cherry or the de-pulped (without skin) coffee seeds are floated in a water bath and/or transported down a channel in water. At this time, floating fruit can be skimmed off, whereas good fruit/seeds will sink. Coffee will float if the bean is hollow, undeveloped, under-developed, damaged by the coffee berry borer or other pest.

Floral

Primarily an aromatic quality, but also a flavor, reminiscent of flowers. If generally perfumey and flower-like, it might be described simply as floral, but usually a specific type is described; jasmine, rose-like, fruit blossoms (cherry, orange, peach, etc)

Flores

Flores is small by island standards, just about 360 kilometers end to end. It is in the Indonesian archipelago, between Sumbawa and Timor islands. The name is an abbreviation of Cabo da Flores which was used by Portuguese sailor in the 17th century to identify the cape on the eastern end of the islands because of its underwater gardens. Divided by mountain chains and volcanoes, the island populated by ethnic groups with their own traditions and languages. Predominantly Catholic, the have retained several aspects of the Portuguese culture such as the Easter parade held annually at Larantuka on the eastern part of the island and the Royal Regalia of the former King of Sikka. The coffee areas are higher altitude compared to other Indonesian origins, but the highest peak is just 1736 meters. The milling tradition is wet-process, so this coffee bears resemblance to the coffees of Timor-Leste, New Guinea and Java more than to the semi-washed coffees of Sumatra and Sulawesi. It is sweet, floral (appropriately since Flores means Flowers), with good syrupy body, and a clean cup overall. It has uses in espresso.

Fluid Bed Roaster

A fluid-bed roaster works by pushing hot air across coffee beans. The roast chamber is filled with heated air provided by a small fan and heating coil located beneath the chamber. In a fluid-bed roaster, the flow of air is both the heat source and the mechanism responsible for agitating the beans. Since air is the heat source, heating happens via convection, rather than via convection and conduction, as in a drum roaster. Fluid-bed roasters are generally less expensive than comparable drum roasters, and they produce a bright flavor profile. This type of roaster works well with small size batches (under half a pound).

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

FNC

The FNC is the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, the coffee association of Colombia. They fund CENICAFE research institute, which has an extensive cultivar collection.

Foresty

A flavor found in rustic Indonesia coffees, wet-hulled types from Sulawesi and Sumatra in particular. It is sometimes called "Forest Floor" flavors and refers to a combined set of sensory experience, like a walk in the forest: earthy, humus, woodsy, mushroomy. reminicient

French Mission Bourbon

French Missionaries brought the original coffee to East Africa, from Reunion island to Tanzania, then Kenya. There are still areas with original Bourbon rather than the SL varieties. This Bourbon appears to have Mokka inputs as well, since coffee was brought directly from Aden, Yemen to northern Tanzania (Tanganyika) by French fathers, and the two naturally mutated into what was called French Mission coffee.

French Roast

Sugars are heavily caramelized (read as burned) and are degraded; the woody bean structure is carbonizing, the seed continues to expand and loose mass, the body of the resulting cup will be thinner/lighter as the aromatic compounds, oils, and soluble solids are being burned out of the coffee and rising up to fill your house with smoke. 474 is well beyond any roast I do on the Probat. Second crack is well finished. I will go as high as 465 on a couple blends, and that's my limit.

Fresh Roast Coffee Roaster

A home air roaster with a 2.25oz capacity.

Fruited

In some coffee taster’s lexicon, “fruity” means the coffee is tainted with fruit, and “fruited” means a coffee is graced by positive fruit notes. We don’t exactly see the difference in terms of these two words, but the question of fruit flavors emerging in a coffee context is critical. Is it a good quality? Is it fresh, aromatic, sweet fruit? Is it ripe, or is it over-ripe, fermenty, vinegary fruit? And there’s a side argument as well: did the fruit flavors come from well-prepared coffee, or did it emerge in a process where the coffee had too much contact with the mucilage of the coffee cherry. (This might happen in over-fermenting, in a hybrid process such as Indonesia wet-hulling, or in poorly executed dry-processing).

Fruity

In some coffee taster’s lexicon, “fruity” means the coffee is tainted with fruit, and “fruited” means a coffee is graced by positive fruit notes. We don’t exactly see the difference in terms of these two words, but the question of fruit flavors emerging in a coffee context is critical. Is it a good quality? Is it fresh, aromatic, sweet fruit? Is it ripe, or is it over-ripe, fermenty, vinegary fruit? And there’s a side argument as well: did the fruit flavors come from well-prepared coffee, or did it emerge in a process where the coffee had too much contact with the mucilage of the coffee cherry. (This might happen in over-fermenting, in a hybrid process such as Indonesia wet-hulling, or in poorly executed dry-processing).

FTO

FTO is shorthand for a coffee that is certified as both Fair Trade and Organic.

Full City Roast

A coffee that has been roasted to the brink of second crack. The internal bean temperature that second crack normally occurs at is 446 degrees F. But in fact second crack is a little less predictable than first crack, in my experience. Why? It could be explained as this: first crack is the physical expansion of the coffee seed as water and carbon dioxide split and CO-2 outgassing occurs. Second Crack is the physical fracturing of the cellular matrix of the coffee. This matrix is wood, also called cellulose, and consists of organized cellulose that reacts readily to heat, and not-so-organized cellulose that does not. Since every coffee is physically different in size and density due to the cultivar, origin, altitude, etc. it might make sense that the particular cell matrix is different too, and not as universally consistent in reactiveness as H-2O and CO-2.

Full City+ Roast

A roast slightly darker than Full City. At Full City+, the roast is terminated after the first few snaps of second crack. The main cue that distinguishes the difference between the Full City (or FC) and Full City + is audible, not visual. This is a term Sweet Maria's basically invented, and while used in the trade a bit, it has it's context in our communications to home roasters more than anything.

Furans

Furans are important contributors to coffee aroma, contributing to sweet, nutty, fruity or caramel-like smells. They are derived mainly from sucrose and Polysaccharides during roasting, a product of caramelization. It is estimated there are 126 possible furans found in coffee.