A

Arabica

A specific variety of coffee (Coffea Arabica). Considered to be the best variety of coffee. The majority of the world's commercial coffee is Arabican. Nearly all speciality coffee is Arabican.

Acidity

A primary coffee sensation, created as the acids of a coffee combine with the natural sugars, to increase the overall sweetness of the coffee. A pleasant quality that points up to a coffee's flavour and provides a liveliness, sparkle, or snap to that drink. It is tasted mainly oo the tip of the tongue. The acidity of a coffee may be assessed as lively, moderate, flat or dull. Acidity is a characteristic of coffees grown at high altitudes such as Guatamalan, Costa Rican, and Kenyan. It is NOT, however, the same as bitter or sour. Coffees are low in acidity, between 5 and 6 on the pH scale.

Americano

A shot or two of espresso that has been poured into a glass filled with hot water.

Aroma

The fragrance of brewed coffee. The smell of coffee grounds is referred to as the Bouquet.

B

Bag

A burlap sack of coffee. In various countries it is a different weight. For example, in Brazil a bag is 132 pounds, Colombia it is 154 pounds and in Hawaii it is 100 pounds. The most common weight, however, is 132 pounds.

C

Caffeine

The drug contained in coffee and tea. This is the stuff that makes coffee so addictive. It stimulates the central nervous system and, in the right amounts, causes adrenaline to be released and can enhance heart function. It helps with intellect, defends the body, and can even enhance sex! 

D

Dark Roast

Coffee beans roasted until they exude oils. The style has fallen out of favor among many artisan roasters who think it overwhelms certain flavors.

E

Espresso

A one-ounce shot of intense, rich black coffee made and served at once. A pump-driven machine forces hot water through fine grounds at around nine atmospheres of pressure. Comes from the Latin word Expresere which means "to press out".

F

Filter Coffee

Drip coffee made with a ceramic, glass or plastic cone lined with a paper filter. Favored by professionals because it gives them control over water temperature — ideally 200 to 210 degrees. This coffee is sediment free, though some believe the filters add unwanted flavor.

G

Green Bean

Unroasted coffee beans.

H

Hard Bean

Coffee grown at relatively high altitudes (4,000 - 4,500 feet). Beans grown at these high altitudes mature more slowly and are harder and denser than other beans. They are therefore more desirable than others.

L

Latte

A shot or two of espresso that has been poured into a cup filled with steamed milk and topped off with foamed milk (about 1/4 inch).

M

Macchiato

Espresso topped with a dab of foamed steamed milk, about 2 to 3 ounces total.

N

Nel Drip

Short for “flannel drip,” it’s a form of drip coffee that uses flannel filters imported from Japan. The filters are temperamental, and must be washed by hand and kept chilled when not in use.

P

Peaberry

Normally, each coffee cherry contains two beans. Occasionally, a cherry will form with only one bean. These are called peaberries and are frequently separated from other coffee and sold as its own distinctive grade. New Guinea is one of the more popular ones.

Q

Quad

An espresso drink with four shots of coffee.

R

Ristretto

This is the strongest and most concentrated espresso drink. It is made with about half the amount of water but the same amount of coffee as a regular espresso. It is pure and intense. Ristretto in Italian means "restricted".

S

Seasonal Coffee

Coffee beans ripen at different times of the year in different regions, and can appear in markets and coffee bars for limited times.

T

Tone

The appearance or colour of coffee.

V

Varietal

A single or straight coffee from one region or country of origin.

W

Winy

A term used to describe snappy and acidy flavour, such as Harrar and thick syrupy body, such as Sumatra. A flavour reminiscent of fine, red wine. Kenya is one of the most notable.