Common Coffee Terms to Describe the Flavor Of Coffee
Acidity - A desirable characteristic in coffee; denotes sharpness and snap in certain coffees.
Balance – Describes the manner in which coffee flavor components, such as acidity and body interrelate on the palate. No one characteristic stands out.
Bitterness - Sharp biting taste, not necessarily unpleasant, which can be affected by the degree of roast and brewing procedure. It differs astringency in that astringency refers to a sensation while bitterness describes a taste.
Body - The mouth-feel of the beverage; can be strong but pleasant, ranging full to light and thin.
Bouquet - The fragrance, aroma, nose, and taste of brewed coffee.
Fruity - Sweetly aromatic flavor, like citrus or berries.
Mild - Smooth taste; mellow.
Nutty - A nut-like flavor.
Sourness - An excessively sharp, biting, and unpleasant flavor such as vinegar; sometimes associated with over-fermented coffee.
Spicy - A flavor sensation similar to the taste of wood-spice (cinnamon bark) or clove.
Stale - Old tasting; usually caused by overexposure to oxygen and moisture.
Sweetness - A taste most often characterized by solutions of sucrose, which are commonly associated with fruit and chocolate.
Winey - Taste reminiscent of wine.
(Sources: The Coffee Cupper's Handbook by Ted Lingle and the International Coffee Organization.)
A Glossary of Coffee Vocabulary
Americana - A delicious cup of dark roast continental coffee.
Americana Latte - A delicious dark roast continental coffee with just a touch of milk.
Arabica Bean Coffee - A type of bean by which specialty coffee comes. Grown at high altitudes in tropical countries and generally are dark roasted and fuller flavored than other coffee beans.
Aroma - The smell of the gasses released by brewed coffee.
Barista - Person who makes espresso and specialty coffee drinks. A coffee bartender.
Body - The thickness of a coffee.
C Market – This is the international commodities exchange used for the sale of green Arabica coffee beans.
Cafe Au Lait - Dense mixture of steamed and frothed milk is poured down the side of the cup containing a strong serving of rich espresso.
Cafe Mocha - A decadent rich hot chocolate mixed with a strong serving of espresso.
Cappuccino - Rich espresso combined with a small amount of steamed milk and then topped with a cloud of foamed milk. Most commonly made as 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 cappuccino foam. Normally, a steaming wand is used to heat and aerate, or froth the milk.
City Roast – To some people, a city roast designates the roast color of the coffee beans after the first crack in the roasting process. This usually occurs at approximately 415 to 415 degrees.
Crema - The sweet tasting oily coating atop a properly brewed shot of espresso.
Cupping - A method used by coffee buyers to assess coffee quality. The "cupper" will assess the beans for proper appearance then smells and tastes the brew.
Decaffeinated - Removal of caffeine while the beans are green. Methylene chloride, Ethyl Acetate, Swiss Water and CO2 process are four methods used.
Double-Shot Espresso - A true double shot of espresso for those days when one shot is just not enough.
Double No Fun - A latte made with two shots of decaffeinated espresso and non-fat milk.
Double Tall Skinny - A 12 ounce latte made with non-fat milk and two shots of espresso.
Espresso - The finest quality, dark roast coffee, producing a strong, flavor-filled, traditional espresso coffee. Made by introducing very hot steamy water very quickly to a special grind that produces a rich product. It can be made by any type coffee that has been ground correctly. A perfect shot consists of the "heart" = the dark brown base, the "body" = the billowy middle of the shot, and the "crema" = the caramel colored foam on top. The espresso is served in a demi-tasse cup and is approximately two and a half ounces of finished product
Flavored Mocha - A choice of delicious flavored regular or decaffeinated gourmet coffee with a non-dairy creamer.
Flavored Mocha with Milk - A choice of delicious flavored regular or decaffeinated gourmet coffee with a non-dairy creamer with creamy frothed milk .
Frothed Milk - Thick, velvety, foamy milk that's used before the foam and milk have had time to separate.
Grande - A 16 ounce drink.
Grind - The faster the brewing process the finer the grind. Espresso would be the finest grind.
Latte - Espresso with steamed milk topped with foamed milk. Contains much more milk than a cappuccino. Toppings may include nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate syrup or flavored syrups.
Leaded - A drink with caffeine.
Long Shot - A shot of espresso made with more water than usual to produce a more diluted drink.
Lungo - Same as a long shot. (In Italy)
Mochaccino - Frothed steamed milk, a serving of rich espresso and a decadent rich hot chocolate mixed to make the ultimate espresso drink.
Past Crop – The designation of quantities of green coffee that come by harvests prior to the most recent one.
Roasting - Converting the green beans to roasted beans in a conversion called pyrolosis at a temperature of 400 to 550 Fahrenheit.
Red Eye - A shot of espresso added to a cup of American style coffee.
Ristretto - A shot of espresso made with less water than usual to produce a stronger brew. This is also called a short shot.
Robusta - The type of coffee bean by which most mass-produced coffee comes . It's higher yielding, less expensive to produce, and not as flavorful as Arabica beans. Robusta contains more caffeine than Arabica.
Short - An 8 ounce drink.
Single Origin – This is a coffee that is unblended. It only comes one plantation or cooperative.
Skinny - An espresso drink made with non-fat milk.
Split Shot - A shot of espresso made with half regular and half decaf.
Sweet Nothing - A decaffeinated latte made with non-fat milk and artificial sweetener.
Tall - A 12 ounce drink
Upside Down - A drink in which the steamed milk and/or milk foam is added to the cup and the espresso is poured last.
Unleaded - A coffee without caffeine.