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The Ultimate List of Coffee Terms - Part 1

Posted by Meera Nair on

Expand your interest in the coffee world with this ultimate glossary of terms that any coffee enthusiast should be aware of. 

  • Arabica - One of the best varieties of coffee grown in the world, arabica receives massive enthusiasm from coffee drinkers because of its high quality.
  • Robusta - The second most popular coffee variety that is recognised for its bitter, strong taste, robusta has the most caffeine content.
  • Liberca - Not as popular as arabica or robusta, liberica is a third species of coffee which has a distinct flavour profile. It is rare to find but just as valuable.
  • Organic - Any coffee that is grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers or pesticides, following organic farming principles is referred to as organic coffee.
  • Cupping - The technique used by coffee professionals to evaluate and compare different coffees based on a series of factors that assess the quality.
  • Extraction - The process of extracting soluble flavour compounds from coffee grounds with hot water to make the coffee decoction.
  • Cup Profile - The entirety of a coffee’s characteristics that can be identified by our senses. The cup profile or flavour profile includes factors like tasting notes, acidity, body, and aroma.
cup profile of coffee
  • Acidity - A taste sensation that is best described as being tangy, sharp or bright. The acids present in the coffee give it varying degrees of acidity, and you can identify this as a tingling or sharp sensation in your mouth.
  • Body - The weight or mouthfeel of coffee, ranging from light-bodied to full-bodied. The coffee body is present as a result of the oils and compounds in coffee beans that are extracted into the brew.
  • Aroma - The fragrance of brewed coffee that you can identify through the sense of smell. Some forms of coffee aroma are floral, fruity, chocolatey, sugary, and nutty.
  • Tasting Notes - Every coffee has distinct tastes that remind you of certain foods like nuts, fruits, grains, spices, and so on. 
  • Degassing - The stage where gases such as carbon dioxide are released from roasted coffee.
  • Bloom - The state when hot water is poured onto ground coffee resulting in bubbles forming on the surface as the grounds get saturated and prepared for extraction.
  • Specialty Coffee - Coffee that is of the highest quality possible and ones that score above 80 out of 100 points. This term is often used to refer to single-origin coffees.
  • Single Origin - Coffee beans that come from a single region or farm, that can be traced back to the lot on which they’re grown, showcasing the unique traits of that area.
  • Blend - When 2 or more coffees are mixed together, it’s called a blend. This is done to achieve a desired flavour profile or balance.
what are coffee blends
  • Third Wave Coffee - A term coined to indicate a movement in coffee production and distribution that encourages the growth of high-quality, sustainable coffee which is linked to its origins.
  • Fair Trade - A certification that ensures fair prices and better trading conditions for coffee farmers.
  • Crema - The golden foam that forms on top of an espresso shot. It is filled with flavour and aroma compounds and shows that the espresso has been brewed properly.
  • Barista - An Italian word for a skilled coffee professional who prepares and serves espresso drinks in coffee shops.

That’s it for part 1 of this blog series. There are so many more terms we want to cover. Stay tuned for the next. 

Even if you don’t memorise these, it’s alright! 

As you venture further into buying, brewing, and tasting different coffees, you’ll have the practical knowledge to retain these terms. 

Our blog section is brimming with more insight into many of these coffee terms. Feel free to check them out!

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