Glossary of coffee related terms

and links to related articles

The professional tasters have the task of tasting the incoming beans to figure out the proportions for the company's various 'blends'. This is often a price vs quality issue. Here's an article which peeks into this world.
Starbuck's words on the blending process.

burr grinder
A machine which grinds coffee beans to a controlled fineness. A more common coffee grinder is a 'blade grinder' and they are poor at getting reproducible fineness to the resulting grounds.

Wikipedia article on caffeine. It's not very flattering.
The following clipped from NY Times: "Mental Abilities: Caffeine Helps Women, but Not Men, Stay Sharp"

Coffee house
Worth exploring:
"SAN FRANCISCO — At Ritual Coffee Roasters, a cafe in San Francisco’s Mission District, the aesthetic is early socialist but the clientele are latter-day capitalist."

Coffee master
A term only used by Starbucks (?). It refers to their most highly trained baristas.

Cold Brewing
Cold-brewed coffee isn't well known. It doesn't take long to make and is said to reduce the oils and acid which are in normally brewed coffee. Some people like it; some don't. BTW, cold-brewed coffee isn't served cold. Microwaving it before serving does not reintroduce the now-missing acids, oils, ketones, and amids. To me, it just tastes wonderfully smooth but some see that as missing a big part of the taste.

Cold-brewed coffees will occasionally show up at the tastings. Note the level of disagreement between the recipes regarding how many grounds to add to what amount of water. With help from Yahoo Answers/Chemistry, I conclude that the 1:16 ratio described by the Nat Coffee Assoc confused gallons and quarts; it too should be 1:4.

Here's some background information on cold-brewing:
NY Times 1/3 cup medium ground coffee to 1.5 cups water (1:4.5), cover, wait 12 hrs
ineedcoffee 1:4 ratio
my experiments click link to see ratio etc
Nat. Coffee Assoc. 1 cup grounds to one gallon water (1:16), 12-24 hours, filter. article describes history, oil and acid differences.
Toddy requires special, patented coffee maker.


The floating pile of grounds which forms when you just throw coffee and water together (hot or cold). Cuppers have a 'ritual' of 'breaking the crust'.

Originally this word only refered to a professional level tasting event which reviewed incoming beans for the purpose of making various blends. The term 'cupping' seems to come from the deeply curved (cupped), silver spoon used to sip the coffee.

Recently, however, the term has been used to mean tasting events sponsored usually by coffee houses and this seems most popular in New York City. See article

Here are some web pages on "beginner cuppings". This is from

See coffee research article.

Espresso cup

Fair trade
coming soon...

Flavor Wheel
Flavor Wheel, a system created by Ted R. Lingle, the executive director of the Coffee Quality Institute. It classifies flavors (including sweet, sour and bitter) as well as aromas (sugar browning and dry distillation), which are broken down into categories such as spicy and chocolatey.

French press
See the wiki. These are used exclusively by Starbucks coffee masters for their serious tastings. The claim is that the French press delivers all of the coffee's acids and oils where a normal coffee maker doesn't (!).

A Peet's blend of New Guinea and Salesi X beans

Green coffee
Unroasted coffee beans. Several vendors are listed on this page.

There are a few types of grinders to know about:
wheel burr
conical burr
See this page.

Iced coffee
As made by Starbucks, it's brewed hot but with twice the normal amount of coffee grounds. Then it's chilled to serving temperature

Instant coffee
"instant coffee lacks most of the aromatic volatile compounds causing a dramatic decrease in the overall coffee flavor". from

The 'roast' of a coffee tells how long it was roasted. The common names for the various roasts are given here

The roasting process is described here. A good article.

The first tasting event, Jan 18th, 2010, used the following score convention:
old     Ratings were 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. Suggested interpretations:
old     Rating 10    Unbelieveably good
old     Rating  9    My new favorite!
old     Rating  8    whoa! gotta tell people about this!
old     Rating  7    like it!
old     Rating  6    hmm.
old     Rating  5    so-so
old     Rating  4    drinkable.
old     Rating  3    nope. wouldn't look forward to this again.
old     Rating  2    wouldn't drink if served again.
old     Rating  1    Yuk !  Maybe I've been poisoned...
To avoid any cultural influences on the choice of scores, I've changed the scoring system to the following.
You'd enter a score of 'FA' if you thought the coffee "good. Would buy it if thought guests would like it."
In-between values are acceptable; that is, if you felt it wasn't quite as good as 'FA' but better than a 'MI',
you could score it 'FA-MI' (which is the same as 'MI-FA').
I know this seems silly but people will think about the scores.
        Rating LA    My new favorite! I will tell people about this!
        Rating SO    Very good! Would buy this even if guests didn't like it.
        Rating FA    Good. Would buy this if I thought guests would like it.
        Rating MI    No complaints but wouldn't seek it out.
        Rating RE    Would drink it to be polite (if served)
        Rating DO    Would avoid drinking it even at a friend's house

Un-numbered coffee
This is a coffee to be tasted just as the taster is turning in the scorecard. The host chooses a coffee from the taster's scorecard and asks the taster to score it without identifying even the number of the coffee. The new score is written on the card and the host then writes the coffee's number on the same card. There are now two scores on the card for this coffee and a comparison of those numbers is a measure of how well our tasting process is working.

file: projects/coffee/glossaryCoffee.html,