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


After-dinner Roast
An after-dinner roast, or after dinner roast, or after dinner blend, is intended to compliment after-dinner desserts. A typical after dinner coffee is dark roasted and has low acidity. Okay, this is a joke entry... but we saw it in a list of coffee flavor terms and had to add it. -Tom
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting Sweet Maria's Terms


Ashy
A quality in aroma or flavor similar to that of an ashtray, the odor of smokers' fingers or the smell one gets when cleaning out a fireplace. In the most moderate amount, it may not ruin a cup, but is never used by Sweet Maria's as a positive quality. Ashy flavors can hint at roasting defects, anything from smokey unclean air being recycled through a roasting drum (or a roaster that doesn't vent, like a barbeque drum roaster set-up). Softer, lower-grown coffees will show ashy tastes before high-grown, dense coffees, given the same roast treatment
Related Terms:
Roast Defect Tipping Scorching Smokey Burnt
Categories:
Flavor Roasting Defects


Baked
Baked flavor happens in under-roasted coffees haven't developed their character, or coffees that simply sat in the roaster too long without enough heat. It can also happen to scorched coffees where the outside of the bean is browned and the inside is under-roasted. Flavors are typically astringent, grain-like, sour, and body is thin and possibly gritty.
Related Terms:
Under-developed Grainy
Categories:
Flavor Roasting Defects


Batch
One of the most important variables in roasting coffee, the weight or volume of the coffee being put in to the roaster will dramatically effect the outcome of the roast. A good scale or the right scoop is a must when deciding what size batches to use as different coffees have varying densities and bean sizes. In using air roasters batches must be carefully measured by volume. In using drum roasters batches must be carefully weighed.
Related Terms:
Drum Roaster Air Roaster
Categories:
Roasting


Bittersweet
Bittersweet is from the language of chocolate, and describes the co-presence of positive bittering compounds balanced by sweetness. It is directly related to caramelization, but has inputs from other roast reactions, as well as bittering flavors such as trigonelline. Bittersweet is usually a roast flavor term, but is always specific to the green coffee too (good bittersweetness would not develop at any roast level in a coffee without the native compounds to engender it). Usually, bittersweetness of a coffee develops as the roast gets darker and eventually overpowers other flavors. It dark roasts, acidity is reduced, while the caramely taste of sugars form the stimulating bittersweetness.
Related Terms:
Roasting Caramelization Pyrolysis
Categories:
Flavor Roasting


Burnt
Burnt flavors in coffee are the result of over-roasting, fast roasting, or roasting in a high-heat environment. This often occurs when the initial roaster temperature when the green coffee is introduced is too high. Usually, scorching and tipping result in burnt flavors. Sometimes, smokey notes in a cup can be a result of native qualities to the coffee, and not necessarily a defect, or the result of an exotic process such as a Monsooned or Aged coffee.
Related Terms:
Tipping Scorching Smokey
Categories:
Flavor Roasting Defects


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. Sandwiched between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, Burundi has beautiful Lake Tanganyika for much of its western border. This is a country dominated by hills and mountains, with considerable altitude variation, from the lowest point at 772 meters (Lake Tanganyika)to the top of Mount Heha at 2670 MASL. The first arabica coffee tree in Burundi was introduced by the Belgians in the early 1930s and has been growing in the country ever since. Coffee cultivation is an entirely small holder based activity with over 800.000 families directly involved in coffee farming with a total acreage of 60.000 hectares in the whole country with about 25 millions of coffee tree. See our Burundi Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Caramelization
Caramelization is slower than Maillard reactions, and requires higher temperatures. These reactions involve only sugars. They really begin up around 150C to 180C, with water being lost from the sugar molecule beginning the chain of events. In all cases the sugar is converted to a furfuryl. These are a type of furans that have a caramelly, slightly burnt and also slightly meaty notes. The same compound is produced via a different route in the Maillard reactions. However it is with prolonged high temperature that many other types of aromas are generated. Caramelisation is more predictable than Maillard reaction due to less variation in the starting compounds. Without the sulphur or nitrogen found in the amino acids caramelization is unable to produce flavors as meaty as Maillard reactions. It is interesting to note how the sugar solutions taste changes in caramelization. A sugar solution initially will be sweet with no aroma. Through caramelization it becomes both sour and a little bitter, as a rich aroma develops. Generally the longer sugar is caramelized the less sweet it tastes, so the key is to balance the benefits of uncaramelized sugar sweetness while avoiding light roast astringency and sourness.
Related Terms:
Maillard Reaction Pyrolysis Roasting Roast Taste
Categories:
Chemistry Roasting


Chaff
Chaff is paper-like skin that comes off the coffee in the roasting process. Chaff from roasting is part of the innermost skin (the silverskin) of the coffee fruit that still cling to the beans after processing has been completed.
Related Terms:
Roasting First Crack Second Crack Degree Of Roast Flavor Aroma
Categories:
Roasting


Chocolate
Chocolate is a broad, general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of chocolate. But what type? There are so many forms of chocolate, either in its pure state, or as part of another confection. Chocolate flavors are often a "roast taste", and are dependent on the degree of roast. Look for more specifics; bittersweet chocolate, bakers chocolate, toffee and chocolate, rustic chocolate, cocoa powder, Dutch cocoa, cocoa nibs, Pralines and chocolate, milk chocolate, Mexican hot chocolate, etc. etc.
Related Terms:
Degree Of Roast Second Crack First Crack Roasting Flavor Aroma
Categories:
Flavor Roasting


City Roast
City roast is what we define as the earliest palatable stage that the roast process can be stopped and result in good quality coffee. City roast occurs roughly between 415 and 425 degrees Fahrenheit in many coffee roasters with a responsive bean probe where First Crack starts in the 395 to 405 degree range. The benefits of City roasts are that the origin flavor of the coffee is not eclipsed by the development of strong roast flavors, but the risk is that sourness, astringency, or under-developed sweetness makes the cup unpleasant. City roast generally has a light brown color with strong surface texture, even dark creases in the bean surface, and only moderate expansion of the bean size. This varies greatly in different coffees though. As a very general rule, to reach City roast the coffee is removed from heat at the last detectable sound of First Crack, or very soon after, with no further development toward 2nd crack. For more information and pictures of the degree of roast, see our Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide.
Related Terms:
Roasting Second Crack First Crack Pyrolysis
Categories:
Roasting


City+ Roast
City+ roast is an ideal roast level that occurs roughly between 425 and 435 degrees Fahrenheit in many coffee roasters with a responsive bean probe where First Crack starts in the 395 to 405 degree range. Also called a medium roast. This range of roast temperatures is after City roast (hence the + !) and indicates that the coffee has been allowed to develop further, anywhere from 10 seconds to 1 minute or more depending on roast method, after the last "pop" of First Crack was heard. These times and heat ranges vary greatly depending on the roast machine and green coffee. The benefits of City+ roasts is the balance between moderate roast flavor and the origin flavor of the green bean; astringent, sour or "baked" light roast flavors are reduced, yet the flavors specific to a particular coffee lot are still expressed in the cup flavor. City+ has a brown color and may not yet have the smooth surface that comes as further browning and bean expansion occur as the coffee approaches 2nd crack. This is a term Sweet Maria's basically invented (well, designating a +), and while used in the trade a bit, it has it's context in our communications to home roasters more than anything. For more information and pictures of the degree of roast, see our Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide.
Related Terms:
Full City Roast Second Crack City Roast First Crack Full City+ Roast Roasting Pyrolysis
Categories:
Roasting Sweet Maria's Terms


Coffee Growing Regions
Coffee is grown in a belt around the world - roughly from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn, in 50 different countries. For specialty grade coffee, altitude ranges from 1800- 6000 feet. The optimum temperature is between 15-24C (59-75F) year round. Soils and rainfall vary widely from one origin to the next - or even within a large coffee producing country like Ethiopia.
Related Terms:
Altitude
Categories:
Roasting


Conduction
The transfer of heat between matter. In coffee, conduction heating is contrasted with convection heating, which occurs in a moving fluid.
Related Terms:
Air Roasting Roasting Convection Drum Roasting
Categories:
Roasting


Congo
Kivu is the general name for East Congo (Kinshasa), covering a very broad geographical area. It borders on Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Lake Tanganyika on the east. Kivu is divided into three provinces, Nord-Kivu (North Kivu), Sud-Kivu (South Kivu), and Maniema. Coffee, cotton, rice, and palm oil are produced, and tin and some gold are mined. The Ruwenzori mountains, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, and part of Maiko National Park are in the region. See our Congo Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Convection
Transfer of heat through the bulk movement of a fluid. In the case of coffee roasting, we discuss convection in the context of heated air moving as a fluid through a roast chamber.
Related Terms:
Air Roaster Roasting Conduction Drum Roaster
Categories:
Roasting


Crack
An audible popping sound heard during roasting. In coffee, one refers to "first crack" and "second crack," which come from two different classes of chemical reactions.
Related Terms:
First Crack Second Crack Roasting
Categories:
Roasting


Creosol
A burnt flavor taste caused by phenolic compounds from dark roast levels.
Related Terms:
Roasting First Crack Second Crack Degree Of Roast Flavor Aroma
Categories:
Flavor Roasting


Degassing
Degassing, or resting refers 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. Time is often needed to allow the coffee to off-gas. 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.
Related Terms:
Resting Second Crack First Crack Roasting
Categories:
Roasting


Degree Of Roast
Degree of Roast simply means the roast level of a coffee, how dark it has been roasted. The longer a coffee is exposed to a constant heated environment, the darker it roasts. One part of roasting consistency is to match degree-of-roast from batch to batch, if that is desired. The second is to match the Roast Profile (AKA Roast Curve), the time-temperature relationship that was applied to the roast.
Related Terms:
City+ Roast City Roast Roast Taste Caramelization Pyrolysis Second Crack First Crack Roasting Full City Roast Full City+ Roast Vienna Roast French Roast
Categories:
Roasting


Drum Roaster
A roaster with a rotating drum that provides agitation to the beans, while a heating element (typically either electric or gas) provides heat. The metal drum conducts heat to the beans, so drum roasters heat beans both by convection and conduction. Drum roasters typically roast more slowly than air roasters, and impart a more rounded, less bright flavor profile.
Related Terms:
Coffee Roaster Fluid Bed Roaster
Categories:
Equipment Roasting


Endothermic
A term applied to chemical reactions, referring to a reaction that absorbs heat. Most parts of the coffee roasting process are endothermic.
Related Terms:
Exothermic Roasting
Categories:
Chemistry Roasting


Environment Temperature
The temperature of the roasting environment determines the specific types of chemical reactions that occur. There is a window of temperatures that produce favorable reactions for the ideal cup characteristics. Temperature values outside of this window have a negative effect on quintessential cup quality. Even within the window values, different temperatures will change the character of the cup, giving the roaster the latitude to develop a personality or style desired, or to tame the rough signature of certain coffees while still optimizing relative quality. System Energy: At any given environment temperature, the amount of energy (BTU) and the roasting system's transfer efficiency will determine the rate at which the specific chemistry will occur. Higher levels of both energy and transfer efficiency will cause the reactions to progress more quickly. There is a window of reaction rates that will optimize cup quality. This is called the Best Reaction Ratio
Related Terms:
Roasting First Crack Second Crack
Categories:
Roasting


Ethiopia
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa region that coffee arabica grew wild. Coffee is "Bun" or "Buna" in Ethiopia, so Coffee Bean is quite possibly a poor anglicized interpretation of "Kaffa Bun". Coffea Arabica was also found in the Harar region quite early, either brought from the Kaffa forests or found closer by. It is entirely possible that slaves taken from the forests chewed coffee berry and spread it into the Harar region, through which the Muslim slave trade route passed. Ethiopian coffees are available from some regions as dry-processed, from some regions as washed, and from Sidamo as both! The difference between the cup profiles of the natural dry-processed vs. the washed is profound. Washed Sidamo, Yirgacheffe and Limmu have lighter body and less earthy / wild tastes in the cup as their dry-processed kinfolk. See our Ethiopia Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Exothermic
A term applied to chemical reactions, referring to a reaction that releases energy. A classic example is burning. Most parts of the coffee roasting process are endothermic, but first crack is exothermic.
Related Terms:
Endothermic Roasting
Categories:
Chemistry Roasting


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.
Related Terms:
Scorching Tipping Creosoly Baked Defect
Categories:
Roasting Defects


First Crack
First crack in one of two distinct heat-induced pyrolytic reactions in coffee. It is distinguished by a cracking or popping sound in the coffee, and occurs between 390 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit in most coffee roasters. It has a sound more similar to the popping of popcorn, whereas the Second Crack that occurs around 440 to 450 Fahrenheit has a more shallow, rapid sound, like the snapping of Rice Krispies cereal in milk! First crack involves a rapid expansion of the coffee seed, and marks the point where water and carbon dioxide fracture, leading to the liberation of moisture from the coffee in the form of steam. First crack opens the crease in the bean enough to release remaining silverskin, or chaff. First crack is a clue to the roaster-operator about the roast level, and it's termination generally marks the first stage (City Roast) where coffee is acceptably dark enough to enjoy.
Related Terms:
Second Crack Roasting Pyrolysis
Categories:
Roasting


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).
Related Terms:
Drum Roaster Coffee Roaster
Categories:
Equipment Roasting


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. For more information and pictures of the degree of roast, see our Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide.
Related Terms:
Roast Flavor Roasting Second Crack
Categories:
Roasting


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. For more information and pictures of the degree of roast, see our Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide.
Related Terms:
Second Crack Roasting Roast Flavor Origin Flavor
Categories:
Roasting


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. For more information and pictures of the degree of roast, see our Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide.
Related Terms:
Second Crack First Crack Roasting Roast Taste Degree Of Roast Pyrolysis Origin Flavor Caramelization
Categories:
Roasting Sweet Maria's 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


Honduras
Honduran coffee has been absent from the top ranks of the Specialty market, but that is all changing. It has all the environmental factors on its side: soil, altitude, climate. All it's neighbors have sophisticated coffee production: Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. But what is lacking is infrastructure, good coffee processing and transporting, capital and a distinct "name" in the consumer market. This means that even a good quality Honduran does not fetch a good price (and in fact many from Copan and Santa Barbara districts are smuggled into Guatemala and sold as such). Without a premium price for quality, the incentive for the farmer, the mill and the exporter have no incentive to incur the added expense that would realize the coffee's potential. So Honduran coffee ends up as a good mild blender, and not as a single-origin or farm-specific coffee. It is, clearly, a vicious cycle. See our Honduras Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Kenya
Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both in the cup, and the way they run their trade, everything is topnotch. The best Kenya coffees are not sold simply as generic AA or AB. They are specific auction lots sold to the highest bidder, and heated competition drives the prices up. Their research and development is unparalleled. Their quality control is meticulous, and many thousands of small farmers are highly educated in their agricultural practice --and rewarded -- for top level coffee. In general, this is a bright coffee that lights up the palate from front to back. It is not for people who do not like acidity in coffee (acidity being the prized bright notes in the cup due to an interrelated set of chlorogenic acids). A great Kenya is complex, and has interesting fruit (berry, citrus) flavors, sometimes alternating with spice. Some are clean and bright, others have cherished winey flavors. See our Kenya Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


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


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.
Related Terms:
Degassing Dry Mill Preparation Processing Wet Process Dry Process Roasting Storage Roasted Coffee Storage
Categories:
Roasting Processing


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.
Related Terms:
Tipping Scorching Burnt Flavor
Categories:
Roasting Defects


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.
Related Terms:
Roasting First Crack Second Crack Pyrolysis Caramelization Roast Taste Degree Of Roast
Categories:
Roasting


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.
Related Terms:
Maillard Reaction Pyrolysis Origin Flavor Second Crack First Crack Roasting Caramelization
Categories:
Flavor Roasting


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.
Related Terms:
Rest Out-gassing
Categories:
Roasting


Roasting
Coffee roasting is a chemical process induced by heat, by which aromatics, acids, and other flavor components are either created, balanced, or altered in a way that should augment the flavor, acidity, aftertaste and body of the coffee as desired by the roaster. Pyrolysis, Caramelization and the Maillard Reaction are several thermal events that are important to the conversion of the many complex raw materials in the green coffee seed to positive flavor attributes in the roasted coffee bean.
Related Terms:
Pyrolysis Caramelization Maillard Reaction First Crack Second Crack Roast Taste
Categories:
Roasting


Rwanda
Rwandan coffee was, at one time, rarely seen in the United States as either a Specialty grade or low-end commercial coffee. There simply was not that much coffee produced in Rwanda that went anywhere besides one particular importer in Belgium, the former colonizer of the country. It is believed that coffee was introduced in Rwanda in 1904 by German missionaries. Around 1930, a considerable interest in coffee developed as it was the sole revenues generating commodity for rural families. The government encouraged (actually, they mandated) low quality, high-volume production. Even with this low grade coffee production, coffee played a considerable role in the economic development of the country because it was one of the few cash crops. See our Rwanda Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Scorching
Scorching refers to a roast error that can be discerned by inspecting the roasted coffee, where darker burn marks appear in patches, especially on the flat surfaces. These can be seen as the coffee reaches 1st crack, but can sometimes be hidden by roast color at darker roast levels. But the flavor defect that results will remain. It can easily be tasted in the cup; burnt or smoke flavors, or a lack of sweetness. It is usually the result of an over-heated roast environment (initial drum temperature too high), or over-charged roast drum (too much coffee in the drum, or possibly not enough air movement. Natural coffees from lower-grown sites can be more susceptible to tipping and scorching. Scorching is also called Facing.
Related Terms:
Roast Defect Tipping Burnt Creosol Facing
Categories:
Roasting Defects


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


Skunky
Skunky is a defect term related to improper roasting; tipping or scorching of coffee. It relates to a lack of sweetness, a presence of bitterness, and a particular skunk-like animal character
Related Terms:
Scorched Tipped Sour Baggy
Categories:
Roasting Defects


Tanzania
In terms of the Tanzania coffee character, it belongs to the Central/East African family of washed (wet-processed) coffees, bright (acidy), and mostly aggressively flavorful of which Kenya is certainly the dominant coffee. Peaberries are often sorted out and sold at high premiums, but the cup is sometimes tainted and not worth the price. It has become a novelty coffee, and sells well in the US, so many roasters capitulate. Yes, it is a coffee with great potential but shipments arriving in the US do not always express that truly excellent Tanzanian cup. See our Tanzania Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Tipping
Tipping refers to a roast error that can be discerned by inspecting the roasted coffee, where the ends of the elongated bean appear burnt. It can easily be tasted in the cup too; burnt or smoke flavors, or a lack of sweetness. It is usually the result of an over-heated roast environment (initial drum temperature too high), an over-charged roast drum (too much coffee in the drum), or possibly not enough air movement. Natural coffees from lower-grown sites can be more susceptible to tipping and scorching.
Related Terms:
Scorching Burnt Roast Defect
Categories:
Roasting Defects


Uganda
While Arabica was introduced at the beginning of the 1900's, Robusta coffee is indigenous to the country, and has been a part of Ugandan life for centuries. The variety of Wild Robusta Coffee still growing today in Uganda's rain forests are thought to be some of the rarest examples of naturally occurring coffee trees anywhere in the world. The coffee trees are intercropped with traditional food crops and grown in the shade of banana trees and other shade trees. In these self-sustaining conditions, coffee is left to grow naturally, flowering on average twice a year. Uganda has the unfortunate circumstance of being landlocked, and needing good relations with its neighbors to move its coffee crop to a port city. Transportation bottlenecks can result in containers of full of steaming coffee beans stuck on the back of a truck or a dock somewhere ...not good for quality!
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Under-developed
Under-developed refers to roast problems, usually too-light roasts. If a coffee is not roasted until the reactions responsible for the audible First Crack are completed, there will be astringent and un-sweet flavors (high trigonelline levels) and a grainy roast taste.
Related Terms:
Trigonelline Roasting Roast Taste First Crack Second Crack
Categories:
Roasting Defects


Vienna Roast
Vienna roast occurs at the beginning of second crack. The Vienna stage (also called Continental) to Light French stage is where you begin to find origin character eclipsed by roast character. If you buy coffee for its distinct origin qualities, it makes sense that heavy roasting is at odds with revealing the full effect of the differences we can sense in coffee due to distinct origins. Nonetheless, some coffees are excellent at this stage. Vienna is a common roast level for espresso. By the way; Espresso is not a roast. But Northern Italian style espresso is usually roasted to 440 - 446 internal bean temperature. Southern Italian (Scura) is generally a Light French Roast or a tad darker. For more information and pictures of the degree of roast, see our Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide.
Related Terms:
Roast Taste First Crack Pyrolysis Second Crack Roasting Caramelization Origin Taste Degree Of Roast
Categories:
Roasting


Zambia
From the country formerly known as upper Rhodesia in a country now named for the Zambezi River, Zambian coffees range from Kenya-like brightness to subtle, balanced coffee with complexity, body and nuanced flavors... Zambia has variable quality: it has the potential to be outstanding (which is why we offer particular lots when we find an excellent coffee), and it can be very off-tasting and defective (which is why sometimes we are out of stock on Zambian coffee for long stretches). Coffee is grown in the Northern district of the Muchinga Mountains (regions of Nakonde, Kasama and Isoka) and in the vicinity of the capital city of Lusaka. Coffee was introduced in the 1950's with cultivar seedstock from Tanzania and Kenya. See our Coffees of Zambia offering page for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting


Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe, formerly known as lower Rhodesia until independence in 1980, has produced great coffee since production was introduced in the 1960s. Like Zambian coffees, these coffees are often overshadowed by the great East African coffee: Kenya. But they can have great balance, complexity, body and finesse. (But note that not all do! It sometimes takes some rigorous cupping to find truly great estate Zimbabwe as there is an abundance of lesser non-estate in US warehouses...) Coffee production is chiefly from the Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces along the border of Mozambique. Coffee production towns are Chipinge (also spelled Chapina) and Mutare. Top AA quality coffee is often marked "Code 53" on the bags, an enigmatic and perhaps arbitrary internal designation for best quality. Lately, the power-grabbing by Mugabe and supression of democratic media in Zimbabwe is very troubling. While land reform doesnt affect the coffee areas, and perhaps has its merits, the way it was done was regrettable. Zimbabwe's future does not look as bright as it did 10 years ago, when it was a model of progress in East Africa. See our Zimbabwe Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Roasting