Oliver Strand is a coffee guru of sorts…ok, of a lot of sorts I guess. He has had a column on coffee in the New York Times. That makes him pretty much of a big coffee guru, huh?! Anyway, he pulled these terms together as a coffee glossary of sorts and it serves to be a basis to build on for me. I edited and added some comments of our own as I put this together. We have provided it here for you to read over and maybe see coffee words that you (and us at times) have been too embarrassed to ask someone what it means. So, here you go.
If you have other words/terms you’d like added, drop us a line at email@example.com and let us know – or just let us know on Facebook.
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AFFOGATO – Ice cream (traditionally vanilla) “drowned” with a shot of espresso.
AMERICANO – A shot of espresso diluted with hot water.
BARISTA – The person who prepares coffee at a coffee bar.
CAPPUCCINO – An espresso shot combined with foamed steamed milk. It comes up to be five to seven ounces total.
CHEMEX – Queen Bee’s favorite method of all! The classic hourglass-shaped filter coffee brewer. Chemex filters are denser than other paper filters, and many believe that this creates a sweeter, well-balanced cup of coffee. It is actually a piece in the Museum of Modern Art if that tells you anything about it.
CLEVER COFFEE DRIPPER – Recently introduced… a filter cone with a stopper that lets coffee steep before dripping, extracting more flavor. Sort of like a combination of the features of the Chemex and a French Press (aka Press Pot).
CLOVER – High-tech single-cup brewing machine. Company was bought by Starbucks in 2007 but don’t hold that against them….well, go ahead do hold it against them. J
COLD DRIP COFFEE – Coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for about 12 hours, then strained to make a concentrate that’s used for iced coffee and cut with milk or water. The process of making cold coffee is not simply taking hot coffee and making it cold. It cost more because it takes more time and supplies to produce. It takes around a pound of coffee per gallon of concentrate.
CORTADO – Espresso topped with flat steamed milk, totaling 4 to 4 1/2 ounces.
CREMA – Thick, caramel-colored emulsified oils that sit on top of an espresso. There is tremendous flavor that comes from the crema but some folks don’t like it and will produce an espresso with minimal crema.
CUP OF EXCELLENCE – A competition to determine the best coffee bean grown in a particular nation. The top Cup of Excellence (C.O.E.) lots fetch significantly higher prices at auction….like a LOT more sometimes.
CUPPING – Tasting method used by coffee professionals. Coarsely ground coffee is steeped with hot water in shallow bowls, then slurped from flat spoons. If you aren’t loud and make non coffee folks turn when you cup, you’re doing it all wrong.
DARK ROAST – Coffee beans roasted until they exude oils. The style has fallen out of favor among many artisanal roasters who think it overwhelms certain flavors. Roast flavor > bean flavor at this point… go for it if you like burnt stuff.
DIRECT TRADE – When coffee roasters buy directly from farms rather than from brokers. Proponents say it increases coffee quality and gives farmers more power.
DRIP COFFEE – Coffee made with a filter, a press pot, a percolator or a countertop coffee maker. Flavor is extracted by contact with water not under pressure.
ESPRESSO – Concentrated coffee made when hot water is forced at pressure through fine coffee grounds. Usually slightly less than 2 ounces total. Baristas prefer 8 to 10 bars of pressure and 15 to 25 grams of coffee. The technique impacts are phenomenal – coffee grind, coffee quantity, water temperature, coffee freshness, water pressure, cup temperature and more all effect flavor. Don’t mess with someone over a good espresso. By the way, notice there’s no X in the word?!?!?!
EXTRACTION – Drawing flavor from coffee grounds. Coffee can be underextracted and taste sour or overextracted and taste bitter. Time, grind and temperature rule this topic.
FAIR TRADE – A private program that certifies that farmers or coffee growers are paid a minimum price for coffee.
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. If properly rinsed, the filter flavor is practically eliminated.
FLAT WHITE – Espresso with flat, steamed milk, about 5 to 7 ounces total.
FRENCH PRESS – Coffee made by steeping coarse grounds with hot water in a vessel with a plunger and metal filter that pushes the grounds to the bottom. Often used in coffee bars for limited-edition coffees. Also called a press pot.
GREEN BEANS – Unroasted coffee beans.
LATTE – Espresso with steamed milk, 8 ounces or more total.
LATTE ART – The pattern formed by rhythmically pouring steamed milk into an espresso drink. Decorative and demonstrative; only properly steamed milk will hold a form.
MACCHIATO – Espresso topped with a dab of foamed steamed milk, about 2 to 3 ounces total.
MICRO-LOT – Coffee from a single farm, or a specific part of that farm.
MOCHA – Espresso mixed with chocolate syrup and steamed milk.
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.
PORTAFILTER – The filter basket and handle on an espresso machine. Sometimes you might hear “bottomless” portafilter. These don’t have spouts on the bottom and create an incredibly beautiful stream as they flow out if ground and tamped correctly.
POUR-OVER COFFEE – A method of drip coffee developed in Japan in which the water is poured in a thin, steady, slow stream over a filter cone. One cup of coffee takes as long as three minutes to brew. Some coffee bars have pour-over setups with several cones and distinctive swan-neck kettles from Japan.
PUCK – Spent coffee from a portafilter or Clover. (looks like a hockey puck, get it?)
PULL – Espresso shots are “pulled.” The term is a holdover from when machines were lever operated.
REDEYE – A cup of brewed coffee with espresso.
RISTRETTO – Espresso pulled short — with less water — for a smaller, more concentrated drink.
ROAST – Unpalatable green beans are heated to create complex flavors that are extracted during brewing. There are lots of ways to roast coffee.
ROAST DATE – Most small-batch roasters print the roast date on bags of coffee. The rule of thumb is that coffee should be used within two weeks, and some coffee bars won’t sell beans more than a week after they have been roasted.
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.
SINGLE ORIGIN – Coffee from a particular region, farm or area within a farm.
SIPHON – A coffee-making device, using vacuum pressure and a series of vessels, that originated in the 19th century. It recently gained popularity in Japan and is being used more in the United States. Despite its complications, it is known for producing fruity, bright coffee.
SLOW DRIPPER – Unusual devices imported from Japan with a glass sphere and a series of tubes and valves that make coffee with cold water in about 12 hours.
TRIFECTA – A high-tech single-cup coffee brewer.