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


Decaffeinated Coffee
Coffee from which caffeine has been removed, either chemically or using water filtration. A variety of methods for decaffeination exist, but all operate on the same basic principle: coffee is soaked in a liquid (water or pressurized carbon dioxide) bath and the caffeine is extracted from the liquid. See SWP, CO2 process, Ethyl Acetate. Decaffeinated beans have a much darker appearance and give off little chaff when roasting. Decafs will roast differently than regular coffees because of their altered state; in most roasting methods, they will roast faster than regular beans.
Related Terms:
Carbon Dioxide Process Chemical Process Water Process
Categories:
Processing


Deep Roasted
Coffee that turns from green to brown under the watchful, loving supervision of a "roast master" is called "Deep Roasted Coffee". Only a craftsperson with years of experience can truly "deep roast" a coffee.
Related Terms:
After-dinner Roast Americano
Categories:
Sweet Maria's Terms


Defect
In coffee, a defect refers to specific preparation problems with the green coffee, or a flavor problem found in the cupping process. Bad seeds in the green coffee sample are termed defects, and scored against the coffee to determine it's grade. Also, defect flavors are those found in cupping the coffee, and described by a host of unfavorable terms, such as Skunky, Dirty, Cappy, Soapy, Animal-like, Sour, etc. Roast problems can produce defect flavors, as well as poor sorting or preparation of the coffee, mistakes in transportation and storage, problems at the wet mill, bad picking of the fruit or problems going back to the tree itself.
Related Terms:
Scorched Tipped Sour Skunky Baggy Coffee Grading Cupping
Categories:
Flavor Defects


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


Demucilage
Mucilage is the fruity layer of the coffee cherry, between the outer skin and the parchment layer that surrounds the seed. In the traditional wet-process method, the mucilage is broken down by fermentation and then washed off. A forced demucilage machine does this with water and friction, such as a Penagos or Pinhalense Demucilager. The early machines were called "Aqua-pulpers" but they damaged the coffee, resulting in fruity or fermenty flavors.
Related Terms:
Mucilage Processing Fermented
Categories:
Processing


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


Density Sorting
Density sorting is a step at the dry mill where coffee is run across a density table. Tilted at an angle, the table vibrates and dense coffee beans travel to the TOP or the highest side of the table, whereas less dense seeds go to the LOWER angle of the table. Less dense seeds are either outright defects, or tend to have poor cup character because they are damaged, or under-developed. The density table is often called an Oliver table, and there are inferior air-based sorters as well.
Related Terms:
Dry Mill Preparation Processing Wet Process Dry Process
Categories:
Processing


Department
A Department is the term used in many Latin American countries for a State. For example, Huila Department is the state in the South of the country where much coffee is grown
Related Terms:
Country Region Micro-Region
Categories:
Origins


Descaling
The process of removing harmful scale buildup from a boiler. Descaling is usually accomplished by adding a commercial descaling product or citric acid to water and running this solution through a machine. Espresso machines and brewers should be descaled regularly (with the frequency depending on the hardness of water used) to maintain optimal functionality.
Related Terms:
Scale
Categories:
Equipment Brewing


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


Dirty Cup
Dirty cup is a general term implying some form of taint, usually an earthy defect, but also a mixed defect of ferment, hardness, dirt, moldy flavors etc.
Related Terms:
Defect
Categories:
Flavor Defects


Dominican Republic
The Dominican has a tradition of coffee production that dates several centuries. In general Dominican coffees hold true to the soft, mild profile of Island coffees. The exports are dominated by one company, and while there have been pushes to improve quality, the potential of DR specialty coffee has not been realized. We cup it when available, and usually it grades in the commercial coffee range of 78 - 82 points. We hope for good samples, some day!
Related Terms:
Island Coffee Hawaii Puerto Rico
Categories:
Origins


Doser
A doser is a mechanism, usually attached to the front of a burr grinder, for putting coffee into an espresso portafilter basket. Ground coffee sits in the doser and is pushed out and into the portafilter by the pull of a lever. Dosers are designed to push out the same amount of coffee (typically 6-7 grams) every time the lever is pulled, but, in practice, this feature only works is the doser if full of grounds, which is unlikely to happen in the case of a home user.
Related Terms:
Burr Grinder Espresso Portafilter
Categories:
Equipment Brewing


Doserless
A grinder that ejects its grounds directly through a chute, rather than into a doser.
Related Terms:
Doser Burr Grinder
Categories:
Equipment


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


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


Dry Mill
A facility that accepts dried coffee cherry and mechanically separates the coffee bean from the dried fruit and parchment layer. The facility can be highly mechanized, as in Ethiopia, or very simple, as in Yemen. Images of both can be found in the Tom's Coffee Travel trip reports, from from Ethiopia and Yemen.
Related Terms:
Wet Mill Processing
Categories:
Processing


Dry Process
Dry process is a method to transform coffee from the fruit of the coffee tree to the green coffee bean, ready for export. Dry processing is the original method, and the wet process was devised later (as well as the very recent pulp natural process). It is a simple method, using less machinery and more hand labor, and has been a tradition in some growing origins for centuries. It risks tainting the coffee with defect flavors due to poor handling, drying, or ineffective hand-sorting. In dry processing the fruit is picked from the tree and dried directly in the sun or on raised screens, without peeling the skin, or any water-based sorting or fermenting. The dried coffee turns to a hard, dark brown pod, and the green seed is torn out from the skin and parchment layers in one step, or pounded out by hand. Because there is no chance to skim off floating defects, or removed under-ripes as with the wet process, most defects must be removed visually, by hand. Dry process coffees generally have more body and lower acidity than their wet process counterparts, with more rustic flavors due to the long contact between the drying fruit and the seed. They also can have more defects, taints, and lack of uniformity both in the roast and in cupping. A dry process coffee is sometimes referred to as natural coffee, full natural, or traditional dry process, or abbreviated DP.
Related Terms:
Tree-dry Natural Wet Process Pulp Natural
Categories:
Processing


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


E61
A classic espresso group-head design, originally invented by Faema and used on a variety of machines. The E61 is easily identified by its pre-infusion chamber located just behind the portafilter and by its small external lever used for activating the brew cycle.
Related Terms:
Pre-infusion Espresso
Categories:
Equipment Brewing


Earthy
Sumatra coffees can have a positive earthy flavor, sometimes described as "wet earth" or "humus" or "forest" flavors. But Earthy is a flavor term with some ambivalence, used positively in some cases, negatively in others. Usually, if we use the term dirty, groundy or swampy, we are implying a negative earth flavor, but earthy itself in Indonesia coffees is a positive assertion. Earthy in a Central America wet-process coffee is NOT a positive term though, since it is out of character, and does not fit the flavor profile
Related Terms:
Dirty Hard Defect Flavor Aroma
Categories:
Flavor


Ecuador
Coffee has a long history in Ecuador: it was introduced in the early 19th century and became its main export in the early 20th century. But coffee from Ecuador has never been included in the list of Specialty Coffee origins, mostly because of poor harvesting and processing practices. As other Ecuadorian exports (banana, oil, shrimp) exceeded coffee in export importance, hope that the quality of the coffee would improved became less. They managed to continue to ship low grade arabica and robusta coffees, finding a market among the istitutional and commecial roasters of the U.S. and Europe who are more concerned with price than cup quality. But coffee employed about 15% of the rural population. See our Ecuador Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Origins


Effervescent
While coffee is not a carbonated beverage, at times a combination of factors (brightness/acidity with a light mouthfeel) can make the coffee dance on the palate. I use the term effervescent to describe this light and lively sensation.
Related Terms:
Mouthfeel Acidity Brightness
Categories:
Flavor Sweet Maria's Terms


El Salvador
El Salvador coffee had an undeservingly poor reputation for years, marred mostly by the inability to deliver coffee of high quality in an unstable political climate. Unfortunately, agriculture is the first to suffer in revolution, since it requires years to rebuild a farm if it is neglected. In El Salvador the coffee trade, like the government in general, was controlled by a ruling elite ... a handful of wealthy families that operated many farms. El Salvador had tended towards the right politically, and the smaller coffee farmer and coffee workers fared poorly in this climate. For the past 7 years I have been able to buy incredible Salvadors --drop dead quality, great acidity, refinement and depth. Last year it was the incredible Organic Los Naranjos. Then we had the Santa Ritas and Salaverrias. Good stuff. Then the real bombshell coffee: the Cup of Excellence lot from the San Francisco farm. After that, our Organic Santa Adelaida lots, and our Pacamara Cup of Excellence coffees. This truly represents the pinnacle of high grown Salvadors. See our El Salvador Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Origins


Emulsion
In coffee, "emulsion" typically refers to the suspension of coffee oils in water. While brewed coffee is primarily an extraction, espresso is both an extraction and an emulsion because it occurs under pressure.
Related Terms:
Espresso Brewed Coffee Extraction
Categories:
Chemistry Brewing


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


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


Erpsig
Erpsig is German for pea-like; cooked bean, pea, or lentil sensation. It is called Peasy, but related to earthy, mushroom, groundy defect flavors, not to leguminous flavors.
Related Terms:
Defect
Categories:
Defects


Espresso
In its most stripped-down, basic form, this is a working definition for espresso: A small coffee beverage, about 20 ml, prepared on an espresso machine where pressurized hot water extracted through compressed coffee. A smaller version where extraction is restricted is called a Ristretto
Related Terms:
Ristretto Cappuccino Macchiato Latte
Categories:
Brewing


Espresso Standard Blends
When we maintain an Espresso Standard blend, like Espresso Monkey Blend, we have to find new lots to maintain the flavors of the blend as the coffee crops change. That can be a tough job, to optimize the blend and, at the same time, to maintain the "spirit of the blend" ... its original intent. There will be shifts in the blend, inevitably.
Related Terms:
Espresso Workshop Blends
Categories:
Sweet Maria's Terms


Espresso Workshop Blends
"Espresso Workshop"? We are going to divide our blend offerings into Standards, blends with the same name we maintain and are consistently offered, and new Espresso Workshop editions. The later are blends that are only offered for as long as we have the specific lots of coffee we used to design the blend, and then it's gone. When we maintain an Espresso Standard blend, like Espresso Monkey Blend, we have to find new lots to maintain the flavors of the blend as the coffee crops change. That can be a tough job, to optimize the blend and, at the same time, to maintain the "spirit of the blend" ... it's original intent. There will be shifts in the blend, inevitably. In a sense, Workshop Espresso editions are pure and uncompromising: specific coffees are found that inspire testing, and a new blend idea is born. Instead of maintaining the blend and making ingredient substitutions down the line, the Workshop editions follow the crop cycle of the coffee; they come and go.
Related Terms:
Espresso Standard Blends
Categories:
Sweet Maria's Terms


Estate
A "coffee estate" is used to imply a farm that has it's own processing facility, a wet-mill. In Spanish this is called an Hacienda. A Finca (farm) does not necessarily have a mill. (And Finca is not a coffee-specific term). In a strict sense an Estate would have both a wet mill and dry mill, meaning they prepare coffee from the tree all the way to ready-to-export green coffee in jute bags. Estate coffee is not necessarily better than any other type, except that they have the possibility of controlling quality all through the process.
Related Terms:
Wet Mill Hacienda Finca Dry Mill Mill Beneficio Fazenda
Categories:
Origins Processing


Esters
An ester is an often fragrant organic or partially organic compound formed by the reaction between an acid (including amino acids) and an alcohol. They play a smaller role in coffee aromatics than Ketones and Aldehydes, but can be distinct fruit flavor contributors.
Related Terms:
Ketones Aldehydes
Categories:
Chemistry


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


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


European Preparation
European Preparation indicates that additional hand sorting has been performed on the coffee at the mill after optical sorting. The terms is used in central and south America. I suppose it originated because certain European buyers required the extra sorting, and this then became a standard and a selling point. "Hmm, those Europeans know their coffee, I'll get the preparation they like." What is funny is that the absence of the term does not mean that hand sorting is lacking, since many many coffees have high levels of hand sorting but there is no indication of that in the name. European prep does not necessarily mean the cup is better or worse than a coffee without this term applied.
Related Terms:
Preparation Hand Sorting
Categories:
Processing


Excelsa
Coffea Excelsa is a distinct Species in the Genus Coffea, and has Robusta-like form. It can be confused with Robusta and Liberica because of it's form, and robusta-like cup. Not to be confused with the Colombian coffee grade Excelso, which is unrelated. The correct scientific name is Coffea Dewertii.
Related Terms:
Caturra Typica Bourbon Origin Flavor Varietal Cultivar Catuai Catimor
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars


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


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


Extraction
Refers to the process of infusing coffee with hot water. Hot water releases or "extracts" the flavor from the roasted, ground coffee.
Related Terms:
Brewed Coffee Brewing
Categories:
Chemistry Brewing


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


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


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.
Related Terms:
Fair Trade Organic
Categories:
Sweet Maria's Terms


Fazenda
Fazenda is the Portuguese word for farm, hence it is the term used in Brazil. Fazenda is not a coffee-specific term.
Related Terms:
Estate Finca Hacienda Beneficio Wet Mill
Categories:
Origins


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


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.
Related Terms:
Wet-process Fruity Fermented Fermenty
Categories:
Processing


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.
Related Terms:
Wet-process Fruity Vinegar Fermenty
Categories:
Processing Defects


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.
Related Terms:
Winey Defect Fermented Acetic Acid
Categories:
Defects


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.
Related Terms:
Drip Infusion Drip Brewing Filter Brewed Coffee Drip Coffee
Categories:
Brewing


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.
Related Terms:
Filter
Categories:
Brewing


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.
Related Terms:
Hacienda Estate Fazenda
Categories:
Origins


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
Related Terms:
Sensory Analysis Flavor Cupping Aftertaste Afternose Aroma
Categories:
Flavor


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


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.
Related Terms:
Peaberry Caracol
Categories:


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.
Related Terms:
Conical Burr Grinder Burr Grinder
Categories:
Equipment Brewing


Flavor
This is the overall impression in the mouth, including the above ratings as well as tastes that come from the roast. There are 5 "Primary Tastes" groupings (Sour, Sweet ,Salty, Bitter, Savory (Umami) and many "Secondary Tastes," as you can see on the Tasters Flavor Wheel. As the primary category in taste evaluation (what coffee would you want to drink that smelled good and tasted awful?) it is of great importance. But in a sense the flavor impression is divided between this score AND the Finish/ Aftertaste score.
Related Terms:
Origin Character Roast Character Cupping Score Finish Flavor Profile Basic Flavors
Categories:
Flavor


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.
Related Terms:
Cupping Sensory Analysis Roast Profile
Categories:
Flavor


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


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.
Related Terms:
Sailor Quaker Defect
Categories:
Processing Defects


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.
Related Terms:
Under-ripes Quakers
Categories:
Processing Defects


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)
Related Terms:
Aroma Flavor Cupping Sensory Analysis Fruity
Categories:


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. See our Flores Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Timor
Categories:
Origins


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


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


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.
Related Terms:
Coffee Research CATIE CENICAFE PROCAFE IHCAFE
Categories:


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
Related Terms:
Cupping Humus Earthy Rustic Sensory Analysis
Categories:
Flavor


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.
Related Terms:
SL-28 Bourbon Origin Flavor Varietal Cultivar Flavor Scott Laboratories SL-34
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars


French Press
A simple coffee brewer: grounds and hot water are added to a carafe, allowed to sit for several minutes, and then a filter is pushed down to hold the grounds at the bottom of the carafe. French presses have the advantage that they are very easy to control: dose/grind, water temperature, and extraction time are all manageable. Presses result in a high-body cup with more residual grounds that most brewing methods. See our French Press Tip sheet for further information on this brewing method.
Related Terms:
Brewed Coffee
Categories:
Equipment Brewing


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


Fresh Roast Coffee Roaster
A home air roaster with a 2.25oz capacity. For more information, check out our Fresh Roast product page.
Related Terms:
Coffee Roaster Roasting Roast Profiling
Categories:
Equipment


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).
Related Terms:
Fruity
Categories:
Flavor Defects


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).
Related Terms:
Fruited Fermented Fermenty
Categories:
Flavor Defects


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


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


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.
Related Terms:
Aldehydes Ketones Pyrans Phenols
Categories:
Chemistry


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


Garungan
Garungan is a coffee variety I encountered in the Lintong area of Sumatra. It has the form of a Typica, but the new leaf is green, not bronze. It has upright branch structure like Bourbon, and long narrow leaves like Typica
Related Terms:
Abyssinia Ateng Typica Cultivar Varietal Lasuna Rambung Bergendal
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars


Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster
A home drum roaster with an 8oz capacity and adjustable temperature. For more information, check out our Gene Cafe product page.
Related Terms:
Coffee Roaster Roasting Roast Profiling
Categories:
Equipment


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


Gerstel-Twister
The Gerstel-Twister allows analysis of organic compounds from aqueous matrices by Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction (SBSE): Faster than with conventional techniques, omitting time-costly preparation steps and solvents and up to 1000´ more sensitive than SPME. The GERSTEL-Twister looks like a conventional magnetic stirring rod, and works the same - except for one small difference: While it is stirring, it adsorbs and concentrates the organic contents onto its coating of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS).
Related Terms:
Sensory Analysis Flavor
Categories:
Equipment


Gesha
Gesha (often wishfully misspelled as Geisha) is a long-bean Ethiopia cultivar selection with unique cup character. It is most famously grown on the Jaramillo plot at Hacienda Esmeralda in Panama by the Peterson family. It has now been broadly planted in other Central America countries and beyond to capitalize on the high price it has fetched. It was distributed from the garden at CATIE in Costa Rica, and displayed some rust-resistant properties. Gesha is a town in Western Ethiopia.
Related Terms:
Cultivar Flavor Varietal Origin Flavor Bourbon Typica Caturra Catuai Catimor
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars


Gneiss
A banded or foliated metamorphic rock, usually of the same composition as granite.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Sweet Maria's Terms


Golden Beans
Golden beans are found in Yemen and Ethiopia dry-process coffees, and sometimes in other origins. They are pale yellow and slightly translucent. While not an outright defect, they are caused by iron deficiency in the plant, and/or high soil PH. They are sometimes separated and sold at a premium, with the false belief that they have better cup quality.
Related Terms:
Defect
Categories:
Origins Defects


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


Grady
Grady is a rarely-used defect coffee term for muddled, unclean coffee flavor. Also, the affable old neighbor on Sanford & Son.
Related Terms:
Dirty
Categories:
Defects


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


Grainy
A roast-related flavor, sometimes used negatively, but it can also be a positive flavor attribute. Usually grain flavors indicate a too-light roast, stopped before 1st crack concluded, like under-developed grain flavor. It can also result from baking the coffee, long roasts at low temperatures. Grain sweetness in some coffees is desirable, like malted barley, wheat, toast, brown bread, malt-o-meal, graham cracker, etc.
Related Terms:
Under-roasted First Crack Light Roast
Categories:
Flavor Defects


Grassy
Greenish flavor in the cup, usually indicating early crop, unrested coffee. This is a fresh cut grass flavor, chlorophyll-like, not a dried grass or hay flavor that would indicate old, past crop coffee.
Related Terms:
Greenish Rest Processing Parchment
Categories:
Flavor Defects


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


Green Coffee Storage
Green coffee in general can be stored up to one year from the date of processing with no noticeable changes in flavor. Bright, delicate coffees can fade faster; earthy coffees can last a bit longer. Very often the type and quality of the processing methods used on the coffee will determine how long a coffee will hold up. For example, "Miel" or pulped natural processing very often shortens the storage life of a coffee - you will see changes in flavor sooner and in a more pronounced way than with other processing methods. Green, unroasted coffee ought to be stored in a cool dry place, ideally in a breathable container like burlap, or cotton. Coffee that is stored too long can absorb the flavor of whatever it is stored in, and so is called "baggy". This means you have an exceptional coffee ruined by storing it for too long. The refrigerator is too humid, and the freezer too dry for green coffee storage. For a hundred years or more coffee has been transported the same way, in large burlap or jute bags. More recently, producers have experimented with vacuum packaging and storage in special multi-layer poly bags to extend the life of the coffee.
Related Terms:
Burlap Vacuum Packaging Baggy
Categories:


Greenish
A smell or flavor of fresh-cut green plants, vegetable leaves or grass, usually indicating fresh new-crop coffees that have not fully rested in parchment. Part of the expertise of cupping lots at origin before export is to see the potential cup quality despite the greenish flavors of young, unrested coffee.
Related Terms:
Sensory Analysis Taint Defect Crop
Categories:
Flavor Defects


Guanabana
A tropical fruit with distinct sweet flavor of strawberry-pineapple as well as a tart citrus accent, found in some coffees (Colombia Huila and Cauca comes to mind)
Related Terms:
Flavor Cupping Sensory Analysis Aftertaste Aroma Fruited Guayaba
Categories:
Flavor


Guardiola
Guardiola is a term for a drum type coffee dryer, that brings down the moisture level over a period of 3 days or so. It is used as an alternative to patio drying in the sun for wet-process coffees still in parchment. It is considered better than the vertical dryers. Input heat temperature should be around 50 centigrade.
Related Terms:
Mechanical Dryer Coffee Dryer
Categories:
Processing


Guatemala
Guatemalan coffee is revered as one of the most flavorful and nuanced cups in the world. Due to our proximity to Guatemala, some of the finest coffees from this origin come to the United States. Guatemalan growing regions vary in their potential cup quality: many have sufficient altitude, soil and climate conditions. Antiguas are well-known and highly rated. Huehuetenango from the north highland can be exceptional and have distinct fruit flavors. Coban, Fraijanes and Quiche can be nice, but they need to be cupped carefully: they can have a nice cup but sometimes less complexity and depth. Atitlan has produced some very fine coffees in the past few years. But remember, you can't count on any origin to necessarily produce a great coffee: the quality cup is still hard to find among even the most celebrated and recognized regions ...in this case Antigua. See our Guatemala Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Origins


Guava
In coffee, the very aromatic tropical fruit note of Guava. (Guayaba in Spanish)
Related Terms:
Guanabana Fruited Flavor Acidity
Categories:
Flavor


Guayaba
The Spanish term for Guava, a tropical fruit flavor found in some coffees, fruited Colombia types for example. Goiabada is the sweet Guava candy paste, and this is found in some Cauca coffees as well as other origins.
Related Terms:
Flavor Cupping Sensory Analysis Aftertaste Aroma Fruited
Categories:
Flavor


Hacienda
Sometimes the term Hacienda is used to imply an Estate, which would mean the farm has it's own wet-mill. A Finca (farm) does not necessarily have a mill. Finca is not a coffee-specific term.
Related Terms:
Wet Mill Wet-process Finca Estate
Categories:
Origins


Hand Sorting
Practiced around the world, with both wet processed and dry processed coffees, hand sorting is generally the final step in the preparation of specialty coffees. Whether on conveyor belts or tables, the work of hand sorting is usually done by women at the mill just before coffee is bagged and labeled for export. Hand sorting removes any defective (small, broken, or discolored) that were not caught by the optical color sorter (if it was used). In the most sophisticated and the most basic coffee processing alike, hand sorting is crucial for controlling the quality of the cup.
Related Terms:
Preparation European Preparation
Categories:
Processing


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


Hawaii
Ah, Hawaii... what a nice place. They grow nuts, fruit, and coffee. The coffee is expensive. It is mild (sometimes too mild) or it can be wonderful! It can be terrible and flat. The best coffees cost a lot ...the worst cost way too much. So the goal with Hawaiians is to quit thinking that all Hawaiian coffee is good, and to realize that only a handful of coffees deserve the high price in terms of cup quality (you can easily argue that all deserve a high price in terms of the care and labor expended in producing them). And frankly, you must pay quite a bit for the truly great small-farm Kona. We have also had Ka'u coffee - Ka'u is the district of the big island of Hawaii just south of Kona. It does not have the clarity and sweetness of Kona - but it is an interesting cup. See our Hawaii Coffee Offerings for more information.
Related Terms:
Categories:
Origins


Hearthware Roaster
A company that makes several of the home air roasters we have stocked: the Precision (now discontinued), the iRoast (no longer in stock), and the iRoast2 (our current model).
Related Terms:
Hearthware Precision Hearthware IRoast Hearthware IRoast2
Categories:
Equipment


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


Herbal
A flavor descriptor in coffee reminiscent of herbs, usually meaning aromatic, savory, leafy dried herbs. Usually, more specific descriptions are given, whether is is a floral herb, or sage-like, etc. In reality, there are very different herbal notes, from grassy types, to dried vegetal, to floral, to green. It could hint at rustic qualities, it could indicate an unclean cup flavor, or it could also be a clean and refined cup quality. So it is important to look at the context the term is used within.
Related Terms:
Afternose Aftertaste Cupping Flavor Sensory Analysis Aroma Intensity Tenadam Sage Mint
Categories:
Flavor


Hibrido
Hibrido means "Hybrid" in latin languages, and in Central America is used to mean Bourbon cultivar.
Related Terms:
Typica Bourbon Cultivar
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars


Hibrido De Timor
Hibrido de Timor is a cross between Robusta and Timor Arabica, abbreviated HdT. It was a source plant for Catimor cultivar, and has excellent resistance to the widespread fungal problem, Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR). In Indonesia it is sometimes called TimTim. It was first collected in East Timor in 1978 planted in Aceh in 1979, and in Flores 1980 where the variety is called Churia.
Related Terms:
Cultivar Varietal Typica Bourbon Caturra Catimor Catuai Mundo Novo Pacamara Gesha Maragogype Arabica
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars


Hidey
This descriptor is somewhat reminiscent of the smell of animal hides, similar to leathery. It is not necessarily considered as a negative attribute but is generally used to describe strong notes. Hidey flavors can be found in Yemeni coffees as part of their rustic qualities, but in a clean coffee such as a Ethiopia wet-process, hidey would certainly be a defect flavor.
Related Terms:
Barnyard Animal-like Leathery
Categories:
Flavor Defects


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


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


Honey
In coffee, honey-like sweetness is often found, but we use terms such as refined honey (highly filtered and processed) as opposed to raw honey rustic honey sweetness. This form of sweetness is largely a dynamic of roast levels and roast profiles as well. Honey (or its Spanish translation "Miel") can also refer to a pulp natural coffee.
Related Terms:
Sweet Pulp Natural
Categories:
Flavor


HotTop Coffee Roaster
A home drum roaster with a 9oz capacity, adjustable heat and airflow profiling, and an external cooling tray. For more information on the HotTop, visit our HotTop product page.
Related Terms:
Coffee Roaster Roasting Roast Profiling
Categories:
Equipment


Hulling
Hulling is the step at the dry mill where the green coffee bean is removed from the parchment shell. (See Wet Hulled for the Indonesia method).
Related Terms:
Dry Mill Preparation Processing Wet Process Dry Process
Categories:
Processing


IAPAR
Iapar stands for the Agricultural Institute of Paraná in Brazil, and they have developed some cultivars, such as Iapar 59.
Related Terms:
Organoleptic Catimor Catuai Caturra Typica Bourbon Origin Flavor Varietal Cultivar Flavor CATIE IHCAFE Cenicafe
Categories:


Ibrik
A pot for making turkish coffee with wide bottom, narrow neck, and long handle. "Ibrik" is the Turkish word for this coffee pot. It is usually made out of copper or brass and lined with tin. The word ibrik is likely derived from the Greek mpriki or biriki. See our Ibrik Tip sheet for further information on this brewing method.
Related Terms:
Turkish Coffee
Categories:
Brewing


Icatu
Icatu is a cultivar that was developed in Brazil, has high production and good disease resistance. It has robusta inputs, and has been back-crossed with arabica cultivars to improve cup quality. It has 30-50% more cherry than Mundo Novo, a tall tree form, and red- and yellow- fruited progenies. It was released in 1993 by the IAC in Campinas Brazil. "The variety Icatu was obtained after artificial crossing between C. canephora var robusta (4x) and C. arabica var Bourbon Vermelho. The F1 was crossed with Mundo Novo and selected for precocity giving rise to Icatu precoce IAC 3282. The predominance of genes from Bourbon Vermelho in both, Caturra Vermelho IAC 477 and Icatu Precoce IAC 3282 gave support to the high genetic similarities observed."
Related Terms:
Robusta Arabica Cultivar Varietal Typica Bourbon Caturra Catimor Catuai Mundo Novo Acaia
Categories:
Biology/Cultivars


ICO
The ICO, International Coffee Organization, is the governing body for the world coffee trade. The ICO was responsible for the quota system that limited exports from each country, and helped maintain stable prices in the NYBOT (New York "C") coffee market, until it was dissolved in 1989.
Related Terms:
Chop SCAA
Categories:


IHCAFE
IHCAFE is the Instituto Hondureño del Café, with research facilites and cultivar gardens. They released the Catimor cultivars IHCAFE 90 and IHCAFE 95 (Costa Rica 95).
Related Terms:
Coffee Research CATIE CENICAFE PROCAFE FNC
Categories:


India
Indian coffees are under-represented in the coffee market: they are good balanced, mild coffees. You will find the pronounced body, low acidity and subtle spicy notes pleasing, and the Mysore coffees work well under a wide range of roasts. Sometimes you find hints of earthiness, similar to Indonesian origins like Sulawesi and Sumatra. They are also nice in espresso. India produces wet-processed and dry-processed coffees: dry-processed coffees are called "Cherry" and wet-processed arabica is called "Plantation Arabica" whereas wet-processed robusta is called "Parchment Robusta." The Monsooned coffee is a different story altogether! Potent, pungent and wild, these are great for those who like strong, deep musty flavors. The reviews below will give you an idea of what to expect... If you want reviews of Premium Indian Robusta for use in espresso blends, follow this link. See our India Coffee Offerings for more information.
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Origins


Indonesian Coffee
Indonesian coffee is known for its unique earthy, potent flavors. Some like it, some hate it, but it's certainly distinctive. Much of the coffee in Indonesia is processed using the unique method called "Giling Basah," or "wet-hulling." Flavor of the coffee can vary widely too, from the more earthy Sumatras to the cleaner Java or Timor coffees. See each individual coffee origin for more specifics.
Related Terms:
Sumatra Papua New Guinea Java Flores Bali Origin Flavor Sulawesi Timor
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Origins


Intensity
We have a simple scale to rate intensity, from Mild to Bold. Low intensity does not mean low quality! Delicate, mild coffees can be top notch, whereas some may not like the aggressive, over-the-top character of coffees we rate as Bold.
Related Terms:
Sensory Analysis Flavor Cupping Aftertaste Afternose Aroma
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Flavor Sweet Maria's Terms


Island Coffee
"Island Coffee" is our term for coffees from various islands (Hawaii, Jamaica, Australia, etc.). Island coffees typically have a mild profile. They are typically wet-processed and grown at a lower altitude that most other specialty coffee. See the specific origin for more information.
Related Terms:
Puerto Rico Hawaii Australia Origin Flavor Jamaica Dominican Republic
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Origins Sweet Maria's Terms


Jackson
A Bourbon cultivar variant from Rwanda and Burundi. Bourbon coffees are named for the island in the India Ocean where French colonists grew it.
Related Terms:
Cultivar Flavor Varietal Origin Flavor Bourbon Typica Caturra Catuai Catimor Yellow Bourbon Arusha Jackson
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Biology/Cultivars


Jacu
Bird indigenous to Brazil. On some Specialty Coffee farms, the cherries/coffee seeds digested by the Jacu are collected for a special "Jacu"-grade Specialty Coffee preparation. It is believed that the Jacu only feast on a certain ripeness of coffee cherry, thus the demand for and separation of these coffee beans for export.
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Biology/Cultivars Sweet Maria's Terms


Jamaica
Ah Jamaica, a great place to visit. But what about that incredibly expensive coffee? The world's best? The world's most overrated? Well, I can say for sure that it is not the world's best coffee. It is an excellent mild, lush coffee... sometimes. But it is can also be downright bad. In these cases, it's nothing short of a crime to pay those prices for coffee. On top of that, a lot of coffee sold as Jamaican is not true Jamacia Blue Mountain, or is blended. If you pay $12 per lb for Jamaican coffee, it cannot be true Blue Mtn. but either the lower grown Jamaica High Mountain, or most likely a blend that contains a small percentage of JBM. The history of coffee in Jamaica is epic ...In 1728, Sir Nicholas Lawes, the then Governor of Jamaica, imported coffee into Jamaica from Martinique. The country was ideal for this cultivation and nine years after its introduction 83,000 lbs. of coffee was exported. Between 1728 and 1768, the coffee industry developed largely in the foothills of St. Andrew, but gradually the cultivation extended into the Blue Mountains. Since then, the industry has experienced many rises and falls, some farmers abandoning coffee for livestock and other crops. In order to save the industry, in 1891 legislation was passed "to provide instructions in the art of cultivation and curing coffee by sending to certain districts, competent instructors." Efforts were made to increase the production of coffee and to establish a Central Coffee Work for processing and grading. This effort to improve quality, however, was not very successful: until 1943 it was unacceptable to the Canadian market, which at the time was the largest buyer of Jamaican coffee. In 1944 the Government established a Central Coffee Clearing House where all coffee for export had to be delivered to the Clearing House where it was cleaned and graded. Improvement in the quality of Jamaica's coffee export was underway. In June 1950 the Coffee Industry Board was established to officially raise and maintain the quality of coffee exported.See our Jamaica Coffee Offerings for more information.
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Origins


Jasmine
A very positive floral quality in coffee, usually with a strong aromatic component, reminiscent of jasmine flower or tea. There are many forms of jasmine; the common flowering vines, teas, potpourri, etc.
Related Terms:
Floral Aroma
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Flavor


Java
Java is a clean cup for an Indonesian, a fully wet-processed coffee that has the Indonesian body and thickness in the cup without earthy or dirty flavors. Our experience is that early lots of Timor and Java can be the finest while in Central Americans you usually need to hold out for the mid-crop to late-crop samples. But there are always exceptions... In the case of Sumatra and Sulawesi, it seems that the second to third wave of arrivals can be the best. Of course, these truisms are made to be broken... that's why samples and cupping are always the key. In the past we liked the Kayumas best since it exemplifies both the thick oily body of a Java with some other nice flavors ---sometimes Java is pure body and nothing else which makes it very unbalanced as a straight roast, while still an effective blender. See our Java Coffee Offerings for more information.
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Origins


Java Cultivar
Java Cultivar is planted widely in Cameroon, related to Abyssinia found in East Java. It is distinct from Java Typica types, such as Bergendal, Pasumah or BLP, and from Jamaique Typica in Cameroon as well. It has resistance to CBD and due to it's vigor can recover from CLR. The fruit and seed are elongated and the tips are bronze-colored.
Related Terms:
Cultivar Flavor Varietal Origin Flavor Bourbon Typica Caturra Catuai Catimor CBD CLR
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Biology/Cultivars


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
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Origins Biology/Cultivars Trade Terms


Jember
Jember is a cultivar in Indonesia. Also a town in East Java, home of the main coffee and cocoa research institute, ICCRI. Jember is also called S-795 and originates in India.
Related Terms:
Cultivar Varietal Ateng Bergendal Timtim
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Biology/Cultivars


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
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Trade Terms Sweet Maria's Terms


Kent
Kent was the first useful CLR resistant cultivar; it was developed on the Kent estate in Mysore, India. Kent was widely planted but eventually was destroyed by a new wave of CLR; Coffee Leaf Rust fungus
Related Terms:
Cultivar Flavor Varietal Origin Flavor Bourbon Typica Caturra Catuai Catimor Yellow Bourbon Arusha Jackson
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Biology/Cultivars


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.
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Roasting


Ketones
Along with Aldehydes, Ketones are important carbonyl compound that contribute over 20% to coffee aromatics. Formed from carbohydrates in the roast process, they result in aroma and flavor ranging from floral, herbaceous, buttery, caramel, vanilla, milky, saffron, beef, etc.
Related Terms:
Aldehydes
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Chemistry


Kona
Kona coffee comes from farms along the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Coffee is grown at elevations relatively low compared to other coffee-growing origins; 800 to 1500 FEET above sea level, whereas coffee in Guatemala comes from 800 to 2000 METERS. The nicer coffees come from small family farms above the old road (Mauka coffees) and are grown from Kona Typica type seeds. Note that "Cona" is the brand of vacuum coffee brewer.
Related Terms:
Kona Typica Hawaii
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Origins


Kona Typica
Kona is a special cultivar, Kona Typica, a traditional varietal that cannot be grown at low elevations.
Related Terms:
Typica
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Biology/Cultivars


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
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Processing Trade Terms


Lasuna
Lasuna is a coffee variety I have encountered in Sumatra, which appears to have Typica aspects in the plant form and it's bronze colored new leaf. But I am told it is not a pure Typica
Related Terms:
Abyssinia Ateng Typica Cultivar Varietal
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Biology/Cultivars


Latte
An espresso-based beverage with steamed silky milk on top, averaging 190-220 ml with 20 ml espresso, served in a ceramic cup or bowl.
Related Terms:
Espresso Cappuccino Macchiato
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Brewing


Laurina
Laurina or "Bourbon Pointu" is a cultivar with low caffeine content, at .6% compared to 1-1.2% for many Arabica types, and 2.2% for some Robusta types. It is a dwarf form from Reunion island, and is highly susceptible to CLR disease.
Related Terms:
Gesha Pacamara Mundo Novo Catuai Catimor Caturra Bourbon Typica Varietal Cultivar Maragogype Arabica Robusta
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Biology/Cultivars


Leathery
This descriptor is somewhat reminiscent of the leather, and is sometimes distinguished as "fresh leather". It is not necessarily a defect, but does describe a quality that is intense and rustic. Yemeni coffees can have leathery character as a positive attribute, but a wet-process Panama, for example, should not be leathery!
Related Terms:
Hidey
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Flavor


Liberica
Coffea Liberica is a distinct Species in the Genus Coffea originating in Liberia, West Africa. It is a tree-like form, with mild cup that is more similar to Robusta in terms of the plant and the cup quality, than to Arabica. The branches and leaves have an inclined attitude in relation to the trunk, the seeds are large and skin tough. It is found in Indonesia and other parts of Asia. A varietal of Liberica, known as Baraco, is a major crop in the Philippines.
Related Terms:
Cultivar Varietal Arabica Robusta Liberica Excelsa Coffea Canephora
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Biology/Cultivars


Liveliness
Another euphemistic term to describe acidity in coffee. A lively coffee has more high, acidic notes. Not to be confused with the brighter roast flavors of light roast levels, such as City ot City+ roasts. Read more about acidity to understand it's use as a flavor term, not in reference to the quantity of acidity in coffee.
Related Terms:
Acidity Brightness
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Flavor


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
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Trade Terms