Find Content On Site
Coffee Terminology
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   L   M   P   S  

Acidity
Think tart fruits or the term sharp, like cheese. Acidity is good. Bitter is bad. A coffee's acidity level can be high, medium, low or nonexistent, in which case the coffee tastes flat and dull.

Americano
Espresso poured on top of hot water.

Aroma
The smell of brewed coffee. It can be lacking, faint, delicate, moderate, strong or fragrant.

Bitter
A harsh, unpleasant taste detected on the back of the tongue. Coffee that has been over-extracted or over-roasted is often bitter.

Blend
a mixture of two or more single origins of coffee.

Body
The impression of weight and texture in the mouth. Coffees can be watery, thin, slight, light, medium, full, heavy, thick or even syrupy in body. Textures include oily, buttery, rich, smooth, and chewy. Body also varies with the brewing process. (French Press coffee, for example, has a much heavier body than drip coffee).

Barista
Coffee barkeep and espresso expert. And way cool.

Breve
Any drink made with half-and-half instead of milk. Examples include latte breve and espresso breve.

Café au Lait
½ steamed milk and ½ brewed coffee.

Cappuccino
An espresso based beverage consisting of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 milk foam.

Crema
The caramel-colored froth that appears on top of a quality shot of espresso. Nectar of the gods.

Demitasse
a small cup used for serving espresso. French or "half cup"

Doppio
Italian for double shot of espresso.

Earthy
An "of the earth" taste mostly found in Indonesian coffees.

Espresso
When a restricted amount of pressurized hot water is forced through fine ground coffee the water extracts proteins sugars and oils into a delicious couple of ounces of thick caramel colored liquid.

Espresso Long Shot
A shot of espresso that is allowed to brew for longer than the normal extraction time, more than 20 seconds and about 1.5 ounces for a single long shot.

Espresso Ristretto
A ristretto, or “restricted," shot is produced by stopping the extraction process young, prior to when any of the bitter notes are allowed into the cup. Approximately 2/3 of an ounce for a single shot.

Espresso con Panna
A shot of espresso with whipped cream.

Eye Opener
A cup of brewed coffee with a shot of espresso

Flat
A dull, lifeless cup that lacks acidity.

Flavor
The total impression of a coffee described in terms such as aroma, acidity and body.

Foam/Froth
Milk that has been stretched in the steaming process producing aerated milk to the texture of meringue.

Fruity
A flavor taint that is said to come from overripe fruit pulp.

Grouphead
The silver part of the espresso machine where portafilters are inserted for brewing

Latte
An espresso based beverage consisting of espresso, steamed milk, and a small amount of foam used to float the crema.

Macchiato
A shot of espresso with a dollop of milk foam to catch the crema.

Mocha
An espresso based beverage consisting of chocolate, espresso, steamed milk, and a small amount of foam used to float the crema.

Portafilter
The cupped handle on the espresso machine that holds the coffee during the extraction process.

Solo
A single shot of espresso.

Split
½ regular and ½ half decaf coffee or espresso.

Steam Wands
The silver colored wands on either side of the espresso machine used for heating/steaming milk. Steam wands are very hot during and after use, so exercise extreme caution.

Sour
A distinctively sour, rank or rancid taste is a defect often due to improper processing.

Single Origin/Varietal
A term used for coffee that comes from a specific geographic region, such as: Sumatra, Kenya, Costa Rica and Java. Just as with wine, the taste of a single origin/varietal is affected by the soil, climate and cultivation methods used to produce it. Single Origins/Varietals are unblended.