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Coffee Basics

The Ultimate Coffee Glossary: 200+ Coffee Terms Every Coffee Lover Should Know

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Collage of commonly used coffee terms

More times than not, exploring the world of coffee can feel like it requires learning a whole new language. Many of the terms used to describe it, how it’s grown and brewed, and even its taste can often be confusing.

Because of this, we put together a coffee glossary that contains over 200 of the most commonly used coffee terms and their definitions.

Our hope is that this glossary will not only make learning about coffee easier but will help you feel more confident when brewing your next cup.

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The first wave refers to the initial popularization of coffee and dates back to the early 20th century. This era was strictly focused on convenience and accessibility versus quality. It’s characterized by large-scale commercial coffee brands like Folgers and Maxwell House and the introduction of instant coffee.

The second wave emerged in the latter half of the 20th century and emphasized the enjoyment of the overall coffee experience. This led to the rise of the modern coffee shop and coffeehouse culture. It’s also known for introducing espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, as well as the beginning of consumer interest in coffee quality and origin.

The third wave began in the early to late 2000s, viewing coffee as a complex beverage similar to wine or beer. This period gave rise to at-home brewing and consumers switching to specialty coffee. Its focus is on high-quality coffee beans, sustainable and ethical sourcing, and a deep appreciation for the artistry and craft of coffee.

Driven by Gen Z’s coffee preferences and the rapid growth of at-home specialty brewing, the coffee market is beginning to move into its fourth wave. High-quality drinks, bottom-up innovation, and increased coffee education will define this wave. This will be fueled by the continued growth of remote work brought on by the pandemic and an increase in the availability of high-end home brewing equipment, bringing café-quality experiences into the home.

A

A highly desirable quality that refers to the bright, crisp, and lively flavors found in coffee, not to be confused with bitterness or sourness.

A brewing device that combines immersion and pressure to produce an incredibly smooth and flavorful cup of coffee. The brewing process involves steeping ground coffee beans in a cylindrical chamber and then using a plunger to force the brewed coffee through a paper or wire-mesh filter. 

Coffee being brewed into a coffee mug using an AeroPress

Traditionally an Italian dessert featuring a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream “drowned” with a shot of hot espresso.

Green coffee beans that have been stored for an extended period (this can range from several months to years), often in a controlled environment, to develop deeper, more complex flavors, often with reduced acidity and increased body.

A machine that uses infrared light to measure the roast level of coffee beans based on their color. It helps standardize the roast process and ensure consistency in the coffee’s flavor profile.

Also known as “City” or “Breakfast” roast, it’s characterized by its moderate brown color and lack of oil on the surface of the beans. It gets its name from being the preferred roast style in the United States. 

A coffee drink made by diluting a shot of espresso with hot water, resulting in a strength similar to, but different in flavor from, traditionally brewed coffee.

Short for Coffea Arabica, it’s the most widely grown species of coffee and accounts for roughly 60% of global coffee production. It’s known for its smoother, sweeter flavor profile and ability to produce a more complex and nuanced cup.

The combination of scents released from freshly brewed coffee and one of the principal categories used in the sensory evaluation of coffee.

A type of coffee maker that automatically brews coffee by dripping hot water over ground coffee beans contained in a filter.

B

This refers to the complementary distribution of different characteristics and taste attributes in coffee, resulting in a well-rounded flavor profile.

While originally defined as a person trained in preparing and serving espresso-based coffee drinks, its definition has expanded to include other coffee beverages and the utilization of different brewing techniques.

Coffee brewed in large quantities for convenience and consistency, typically in automated coffee machines.

A machine used to roast coffee beans in specific, controlled quantities, allowing for consistent roasting quality and flavor profiling.

A certification that indicates that the coffee has been grown in a way that conserves and protects the habitats of migratory songbirds. Coffees with this designation typically carry a higher price tag.

A primary taste sensation perceived at the back of the tongue characterized as harsh and unsweet, often due to more organic compounds and flavors than desired being extracted during the brewing process.

A type of coffee grinder that uses spinning blades, similar to a food processor, to grind coffee beans, often resulting in unevenly sized grounds.

Coffee beans in a blade grinder

Lacking strong or distinct flavors, often due to under-extraction or low-quality beans.

Coffee made from a combination of two or more different origins to create a unique or custom flavor profile.

The point when pulling an espresso shot where the color of the coffee stream changes from dark to a lighter, golden hue, indicating the end of extraction.

The process of pouring a small amount of hot water over coffee grounds to release trapped carbon dioxide, causing a “bloom” or swelling effect, resulting in enhanced flavor extraction.

Coffee grounds being bloomed

A term used to describe the texture and tactile sensation when drinking coffee, ranging from thin and watery to rich and creamy.

A natural mutation of the Coffea Arabica variety Typica, known for its excellent quality and distinctive flavor and sweetness.

The amount of pressure used to push water through coffee grounds during espresso brewing.

The ratio of coffee grounds to water used when brewing. Different brewing methods utilize different ratios to achieve the desired strength and flavor balance.

The temperature of the water used to brew coffee, with the optimal temperature typically falling between 195°F and 205°F (90°C and 96°C).

The total amount of time water is in contact with the coffee grounds during brewing.

The total weight of the final coffee beverage once brewing is finished.

Refers to the quality of acidity that gives the coffee a lively, crisp, and vibrant taste.

A salty sensation caused by excessive heat after brewing, often occurring when leaving coffee on a heating element for an extended period.

A type of coffee grinder that crushes beans between two revolving abrasive surfaces (burrs), allowing for a more uniform and consistent grind size.

Close-up of the burrs in a burr grinder

C

The commodity market price for green coffee beans serving as a global benchmark for coffee trading.

A French coffee drink made with equal parts brewed coffee (typically a dark drip coffee) and steamed milk.

A natural stimulant found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans, known for its ability to boost energy and alertness.

An espresso-based drink prepared with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk.

The process during roasting where the sugars in coffee beans brown and develop complex flavors and aromas.

A mutation of the Coffea Arabica variety Bourbon, known for its high yield and quality, commonly grown in Central and South America.

The silverskin or thin, flaky husk that comes off the coffee bean during roasting.

When water flows through cracks or flaws in the compressed coffee grounds during espresso extraction, leading to uneven brewing and a lower-quality shot.

The temperature of the roasting drum the moment the green coffee beans are added.

A manual pour-over style coffee brewer, distinguished by its hourglass shape and use of thick, bonded paper filters, known for producing an exceptionally clean and pure-tasting cup of coffee.

Chemex containing freshly brewed coffee

A naturally occurring compound in coffee, known for its antioxidant properties and potential health benefits.

A cup of coffee free from defects and off-flavors, allowing the bean’s natural flavors to shine through.

A device that combines immersion and drip brewing, consisting of a pour-over cone with a stopper at the bottom, allowing you to regulate the steeping time before draining the brew through a filter.

A specialized high-end automated single-cup coffee machine that uses its patented VacuumPress Technology to brew coffee.

Refers to the size of coffee grounds. The larger the coffee grounds, the coarser they’re considered to be. The smaller the grounds, the finer they’re labeled.

The seed of the coffee cherry, which, after processing and roasting, is ground and brewed to make coffee.

The geographical band around the Earth between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, where the majority of coffee producing countries are located due to the ideal climate and growing conditions.

World map showing the top 20 coffee producing countries residing within the Coffee Belt

A small beetle that burrows into the coffee cherry, damaging the beans inside.

The fruit of the coffee tree, which gets its name from its red color when ripe. Each cherry contains two seeds (coffee beans) or one peaberry.

Farmer holding a bundle of ripe coffee cherries

The process of evaluating coffee beans based on factors such as size, density, color, and defect count to determine their quality.

A devastating fungal disease that affects coffee plants, characterized by yellow-orange rust-like spots on the leaves, leading to defoliation, reduced yield, and potentially plant death.

Farmer holding a leaf that has coffee leaf rust

A pre-portioned serving of coffee grounds sealed in a paper filter or plastic container, designed for use in single-serve coffee machines.

The process of removing the seed (coffee bean) from the coffee cherry and getting it ready to be roasted.

The process of heating green coffee beans to develop their color, flavor, and aroma and getting them ready to be brewed.

Coffee beans that have finished roasting being dropped into a cooling tray

Coffee that’s brewed by steeping coarse coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for 12-24 hours, resulting in a smoother, less acidic brew.

Mason jar filled with cold brew concentrate sitting next to a pile of coffee beans

A term used for coffee that offers a range of flavors. The larger the number of subtle and distinct flavors present, the more complex the coffee.

An organization of coffee producers who pool their resources and work together to market and sell their coffee.

An espresso-based drink whose name means “cut,” as the espresso is cut with roughly an equal amount of steamed milk to reduce acidity.

The thick layer of golden brown foam on top of an espresso shot, caused by the drink being brewed under high pressure.

Shot of espresso with thick golden crema

Cup of Excellence: A prestigious annual competition and auction program that identifies and rewards high-quality coffees produced in various countries.

A standardized method of sampling and evaluating the flavor and aroma of a coffee.

Three men cupping different coffees

Any coffee beans that haven’t been replaced by new crop shipments, even if they were shipped from their origin many months before.

D

Coffee beans roasted right up to the second crack or just beyond, producing a dark brown or black color and an oily surface. They’re known for their bold, bitter, smoky, and roasty flavors, low acidity, full body, and intense aromas.

Dark roast coffee beans

Coffee that has had at least 97% of its caffeine removed through one of several methods.

A container or carafe, typically made of glass, that coffee is brewed into and served from.

Any imperfection found in green coffee beans, such as damage, discoloration, or irregular size, which can negatively affect the coffee’s taste and quality.

Green coffee beans with different defects

A natural process where freshly roasted coffee beans release carbon dioxide that has built up during roasting.

A small cup used to serve espresso, typically holding 2 to 3 ounces of liquid and often made of porcelain.

The step in coffee processing where the outer skin and pulp of the coffee cherry are removed, leaving the coffee bean encased in its mucilage and parchment.

Harvested coffee cherries being run through a depulping machine

The process of fine-tuning your grind settings when making espresso to achieve a properly extracted shot.

A purchasing approach where roasters buy directly from growers or farming cooperatives, ensuring better pay for the grower and higher quality beans for the roaster.

A double shot of espresso.

The amount of ground coffee used to make espresso, typically measured in grams.

An espresso machine filter basket designed to hold enough coffee grounds to pull a double shot of espresso.

A brewing method that involves pouring hot water over a bed of coffee grounds held in a filter, allowing the brewed coffee to drip into a container below.

A type of coffee roasting machine where beans are roasted in a rotating drum allowing for precise heat application and even roasting.

A facility where dried coffee beans are hulled, sorted, and graded before they are bagged and shipped.

E

Describes flavors and aromas imparted by the beans’ processing method reminiscent of fresh soil or wet earth. This descriptor can have both positive and negative connotations.

Refers to the altitude at which coffee is grown, with higher elevations typically resulting in slower bean development and more complex flavors and acidity.

The final temperature reached during the roasting process. This significantly affects the coffee’s color and flavor profile, with higher-end temperatures typically producing darker roasts.

A concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing a small amount of hot water under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans.

Espresso machine brewing a shot of espresso

Coffee beans roasted specifically for making espresso. These beans are typically roasted to a medium-dark or higher roast level to reduce acidity and enhance the coffee’s body and intensity.

A type of single-origin coffee grown, harvested, and processed on a single estate or farm, allowing for the unique flavor characteristics specific to that location to be highlighted.

A coffee bean sizing grade used in Colombia, representing slightly smaller beans than those with a Supremo grade.

Describes unique flavor profiles that are distinct and stand out from typical coffee flavors. These are often found in single-origin coffees from remote regions or coffees that undergo unusual processing methods.

The process in which a percentage of the soluble material from the coffee grounds is dissolved in the water.

F

A certification that indicates that the coffee was produced under ethical conditions and sustainable practices, including fair compensation for farmers and workers.

A stage of coffee processing where microorganisms break down sugars in the coffee cherry’s mucilage, impacting the flavor profile of the coffee bean.

A permeable material (paper, metal, or cloth) used to separate the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee, influencing the final taste by restricting certain oils and fine particles from passing through.

The aftertaste or final flavors that linger after swallowing a sip of coffee.

A stage in the roasting process when the beans begin to expand and break open or crack, producing a sound similar to that of popping corn kernels and signifying the beginnings of a light roast.

An espresso-based coffee drink similar to a latte but with less steamed milk, giving it a higher ratio of coffee to milk.

The overall perception of a coffee’s character and taste, including elements such as acidity, aroma, body, bitterness, sweetness, and aftertaste.

A type of coffee roaster that forces hot air upwards to lift the beans and ensure they’re roasted evenly.

Hot or cold milk that has been aerated with a steam wand or frother, producing a light, airy foam with larger, stiffer bubbles, commonly used in cappuccinos for texture and visual appeal.

The scent of dry coffee grounds before being brewed.

A coffee brewing device also known as a “press pot” or “plunger pot,” where coffee grounds are steeped in hot water and then separated from the brewed coffee by pressing down on a plunger that’s attached to a metal or nylon filter.

Home barista using a French press to brew coffee

A dark roast coffee characterized by beans that are roasted until nearly black and have a shiny, oily surface, resulting in a smoky, bittersweet flavor profile.

G

A highly sought-after and often expensive variety of Coffea Arabica, originally from Ethiopia, known for its unique flavor profile and exceptional quality.

The term for raw, unroasted coffee beans and the state in which roasters purchase coffee.

Two hands cupped together holding green coffee beans

A professional who specializes in sourcing green coffee beans from producers or suppliers, including but not limited to assessing quality, negotiating contracts, and developing relationships with coffee growers.

Refers to the size of the coffee grounds after grinding. Grind sizes range from very fine (like powdered sugar) for espresso to coarse (like sea salt) for French press and directly impact the extraction rate and flavor of the coffee.

Refers to the part of an espresso machine that the portafilter locks into and is responsible for dispensing water onto the coffee grounds.

H

A method of harvesting where only ripe coffee cherries are selectively picked by hand, ensuring a higher quality of coffee.

Coffee grown at high altitudes, allowing the beans to grow more slowly and become denser and harder. These beans are generally considered higher quality with more complex flavor profiles.

Traditional coffee varieties, often found in regions like Ethiopia, that have been cultivated in their native habitats over many generations.

A coffee processing method where the skin of the coffee cherry is removed, but some or all of the mucilage (referred to as “honey”) remains on the bean during drying. The more mucilage, the sweeter and fruitier the coffee.

Coffee beans being dried using the honey processing method

The container typically found on top of a grinder or espresso machine where whole coffee beans are held before grinding.

The process of removing the dried outer layers of the coffee cherry, specifically the parchment and husk, in preparation for roasting.

I

A brewing method where coffee grounds are steeped in water for an extended period, allowing the grounds to infuse the water with their flavors and compounds. Common immersion methods include the French press and cold brew.

Brewed coffee beans that have been dehydrated into granules or powder form, allowing for quick preparation by simply adding hot water or milk, though typically less flavorful than freshly brewed coffee.

Typically the darkest of the roast levels, beans are roasted until they appear almost black with an oily surface. These beans are most often used for brewing espresso.

J

A natural fiber sack traditionally used for storing and transporting green coffee beans due to its breathability and durability.

Green coffee beans being stored in jute bags

K

A small, single-serve coffee pod containing a pre-portioned amount of coffee grounds used explicitly in Keurig brewing systems.

A manual pour-over brewing device known for its flat-bottom design and three small extraction holes.

Kalita Wave coffee dripper sitting on a glass coffee mug

A small box used to dispose of used espresso grounds, typically featuring a bar across the middle for knocking the portafilter against to release the puck.

A rare and controversial type of coffee made from beans that have been eaten, partially digested, and then defecated by the Asian palm civet. While considered the world’s most expensive coffee, ethical and authenticity concerns surround it.

Partially digested coffee beans that have been defecated by the Asian palm civet

L

A popular espresso-based drink made with one-third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk, often topped with a thin layer of foamed milk.

The skilled pouring of steamed milk into espresso in a way that creates decorative patterns or designs on the surface of a latte.

Professional barista using a milk pitcher to create latte art on a cappuccino

Coffee beans that are roasted until just after the first crack, producing a light brown color and a surface that’s completely devoid of oil. They’re known for their bright, fruity, and floral flavors, high acidity, light body, and complex aromas.

Light roast coffee beans

A distinct quantity of coffee that has undergone some sort of selection process.

An espresso shot that is pulled for a longer period than normal, resulting in a larger, more diluted shot compared to a standard espresso.

M

An espresso-based drink consisting of a shot of espresso “stained” or “spotted” with a small amount of foamed milk.

A stage of coffee processing where coffee beans are dried using mechanical dryers, often used when environmental conditions aren’t suitable for sun drying.

A chemical reaction that occurs during roasting that contributes to the development of the coffee bean’s color and complex flavors.

Coffee beans that are roasted a little beyond the first crack but not all the way to the second, producing a medium to medium-dark brown color and a surface that can vary from dry to slightly oily in appearance. They’re known for their balanced, smooth, and sweet flavors, medium acidity, medium body, and rich aromas.

Medium roast coffee beans

A small, select batch of coffee beans, often from a single field or part of a farm, and known for its unique flavor profile and higher quality.

A container, typically made of stainless steel, used to steam and froth milk for espresso-based drinks.

A version of the latte that includes a small amount of chocolate syrup and is often topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder.

A stovetop coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam from its bottom chamber through a bed of coffee grounds into the top chamber, where the resulting brew is held and then served from.

Traditional Italian moka pot filled with coffee sitting on a wooden table

A type of coffee from India where coffee beans are exposed to moist monsoon winds for an extended period, causing them to swell and lose much of their acidity, resulting in a mellow, earthy flavor.

N

A coffee processing method that involves drying the coffee cherry with the seed (coffee bean) still inside, producing a coffee with a heavy body and a much sweeter, fruitier flavor.

Coffee cherries being dried using the natural processing method

Green coffee beans that have been recently harvested, processed, and shipped (usually within a couple of months of the earliest arrivals) and are just entering the market.

Cold brew coffee either served from a can or a keg that has been infused with nitrogen gas, creating a smooth, velvety texture and a cascading effect when served, similar to a pint of Guinness.

Professional barista pouring a cup of nitrous coffee from a tap in a cafe

O

Green coffee beans that have been stored in a warehouse for a period of time before being shipped, but not as long as aged coffee.

Coffee certified by a third-party agency as having been grown and processed without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or similar chemicals.

The geographical location where a coffee bean was grown, typically identified by the country, but can also include the region, province, or estate.

When more of the soluble material than desired is extracted from the coffee grounds during brewing, resulting in a bitter, harsh, and unpleasant-tasting cup.

P

The thin, papery layer surrounding the green coffee bean that’s typically removed in the final milling stage before exporting or roasting.

A stage of coffee processing where harvested coffee cherries or depulped coffee beans are spread out in thin layers on large patios to dry in the sun.

A natural mutation where a coffee cherry develops a single, rounded bean instead of the usual pair of flat-sided beans. They’re generally considered superior in flavor and sometimes separated and sold as a specialty product.

Roasted peaberry coffee beans

A type of pot that brews coffee by continually cycling the boiling or near-boiling brew through the coffee grounds until the desired coffee strength is reached.

Traditional percolator sitting on a stovetop over a gas flame

An espresso-based drink, typically made with a ristretto, topped with a small amount of warm, frothed milk, and served in a demitasse.

A type of espresso machine that uses a lever to manually force hot water through the coffee grounds at high pressure.

The handle and basket component of an espresso machine that holds the coffee grounds during brewing and locks into the group head.

Ground coffee pouring from a grinder into a portafilter

A version of the drip (filter) method that involves manually pouring hot water over coffee grounds and provides more control over various brewing elements.

Home barista making pour-over coffee

A step in espresso brewing where the coffee grounds are initially saturated at a lower pressure, allowing the coffee to bloom, leading to a more even extraction.

A person or entity that not only grows, harvests, and processes green coffee beans but is responsible for the coffee until it’s passed on to a trader or cooperative.

The compacted disc of used coffee grounds that remain in the portafilter after brewing an espresso shot or in the brew chamber of an AeroPress.

A term used to describe brewing an espresso, derived from traditional lever-style espresso machines where a barista literally had to pull a lever to make a shot.

An espresso machine that uses an electric pump to force water at high pressure through a compacted bed of coffee grounds.

Q

A highly trained and certified professional who assesses the quality of coffee beans using standards established by the Coffee Quality Institute to grade and score coffee.

Defective coffee beans that are underdeveloped and, as a result, don’t carmelize and darken during the roasting process, causing them to remain pale in color.

R

A regularly brewed coffee with a shot of espresso added to it.

A very short or “restricted” shot of espresso, made with roughly half the amount of water used for a standard shot, resulting in a highly concentrated brew.

The date on which coffee beans were roasted, providing a gauge for determining coffee freshness as well as when to brew the coffee for optimal taste.

Similar to a recipe, it’s a record of the specific variables used and how they were applied during the roasting process to achieve the desired flavors and aromas in a particular coffee.

Scientifically known as Coffea Canephora, it’s the second most cultivated and consumed species of coffee. It’s known for its higher caffeine content and strong, bitter taste and is most commonly used in instant coffee and espresso blends.

Coffee plant varieties bred or genetically modified to resist coffee leaf rust.

S

Coffee beans harvested during their peak season and only available during specific times of the year.

A stage in the roasting process where the beans crack a second time, signifying a darker roast and the bean’s oils moving to the surface.

Coffee cultivated under a canopy of trees, often leading to better flavor, quality, and sustainability.

A single serving of espresso, typically one fluid ounce.

The very fine, innermost layer of the coffee cherry that clings to the coffee bean and is referred to as chaff when it comes off during roasting.

Unblended coffee beans sourced from one specific producer, crop, or region in one country.

A type of coffee maker that makes just one cup of coffee at a time using pre-portioned coffee pods, capsules, or measured coffee grounds.

Also known as a “vacuum pot,” this device consists of two chambers and uses vapor pressure and vacuum principles to brew coffee.

Professional barista making coffee using a siphon brewer in a cafe

A variety of Coffea Arabica originally developed in Kenya and famous for its exceptional quality and distinct fruity flavor.

The soupy mixture of coffee grounds and water during the brewing process.

Coffee beans grown at lower altitudes. These beans tend to be less dense and flavorful than their high-altitude counterparts.

The step in coffee processing where harvested coffee cherries are examined to identify and remove those that contain any defects or are over or under-ripe.

A primary taste sensation perceived on the sides of the tongue characterized by a sharp, tangy taste similar to biting into a lemon and occurring from an imbalance of acidity due to fewer organic compounds being extracted during the brewing process.

A term used to describe the highest-quality coffee available, scoring above 80 points on a 100-point scale using standards set by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

A nonprofit, membership-based organization that sets standards, provides education, and supports activities that help make specialty coffee a sustainable activity for the entire value chain.

The small protruding pipe on an espresso machine used for steaming and frothing milk.

Milk that has been heated and slightly aerated using a steam wand, resulting in a creamy, velvety texture with finer, more delicate bubbles known as “microfoam.”

A harvesting method where pickers run their hands down a branch to remove all the coffee cherries in one motion, regardless of ripeness.

Coffee cultivated in direct sunlight, often growing faster and, as a result, generally considered lesser quality than shade-grown coffee.

A coffee bean sizing grade used in Colombia, representing the largest and often highest quality beans in a crop.

A chemical-free decaffeination process that relies on the principles of solubility and osmosis to remove caffeine from coffee beans.

T

The small, pestle-like tool with a round, flat end used to evenly compact coffee grounds in a portafilter, ensuring proper extraction when brewing espresso.

Barista using a tamper to compact coffee grounds in a portafilter

A description of the flavors and aromas perceived when tasting a specific coffee.

The influence of environmental factors such as soil type, topography, and climate on the quality and flavor of a coffee.

A measurement of the concentration of dissolved substances in a liquid, indicating the strength and extraction efficiency of the brewed coffee.

The ability to track the origin of coffee beans, typically down to the exact farm or cooperative, including details about how they were grown and processed, ensuring transparency of the entire production process.

A naturally occurring compound found in green coffee beans responsible for a coffee’s bitterness.

A method of brewing coffee common in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans where very finely ground coffee is boiled with water and often sugar in a special pot called a cezve, resulting in a strong, unfiltered cup.

Turkish coffee being poured into a coffee cup on an old wooden table

One of the oldest and most genetically important varieties of Coffea Arabica, known for its excellent cup quality and for being the base from which all other varieties have mutated or been developed.

U

When less than the desired amount of soluble material is extracted during brewing, resulting in a weak or sour, often astringent cup of coffee.

V

A manual pour-over brewing device characterized by the 60-degree angle of its V-shaped cone and spiraling ridge design.

Home barista using a Hario V60 brewer to brew coffee

Referring to a specific instance or product of a variety (e.g., XYZ farm produces a Bourbon varietal).

Referring to a subspecies of a plant (e.g., Bourbon is a variety of Coffea Arabica).

A coffee roast slightly darker than American but lighter than espresso, French, or Italian.

W

The most common of the coffee processing methods where the skin, pulp, and mucilage of the coffee cherry are fully removed before the beans are dried, producing a cleaner, crisper, more consistent flavor profile.

Coffee beans being dried using the washed (wet) processing method

Also known as Giling Basah, this is a coffee processing method where the beans are partially dried, fermented, and then hulled before being laid out to finish drying. This process is unique to Indonesia, where its high humidity makes traditional drying more challenging and results in a distinctive earthy flavor profile.

Coffee beans being dried using the wet-hulled processing method

A facility that receives the coffee cherries after being harvested and processes them,  using various processing methods, until dry.

A non-profit organization that works with the global coffee industry to improve both coffee quality and the livelihoods of coffee producers.

Final Thoughts

While the above coffee glossary isn’t composed of every possible coffee term, it does contain the ones that are most commonly used. However, if there’s a term we didn’t include that you’re curious about, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email. We’ll make sure to get it added right away.

Lastly, if you’d like to continue furthering your coffee knowledge or if you’re looking for ways to improve your home barista skills, be sure to check out the brewing guides and coffee basics sections of our website.

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AUTHOR

Hey there! I'm Michael, founder and editor-in-chief of Filtered Grounds. In addition to being an entrepreneur, I'm also a bit of an endurance sports junkie. Whether it's working toward my business goals or training for my next Half Ironman triathlon, a good cold brew or cup of French press plays a role in fueling my performance.