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Your Ultimate Coffee Glossary: A Helpful List of Terms

September 27, 2017

Your Ultimate Coffee Glossary: A Helpful List of Terms

Remember when you were just a bright-eyed newbie to the world of coffee? From varietal names to equipment to brewing techniques, keeping all of your coffee-related terms straight can be quite a challenge — especially when you’re under-caffeinated. Here are some common terms you’re likely to run into whether you’re fresh on the coffee scene or just dabbling in a new area of interest.


Agtron: A device that scans coffee with an infrared light to determine its degree of roast.

Arabica: The most common type of coffee plant, originally indigenous to Ethiopia.

Bird-Friendly: A Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center environmental certification for shade-grown, organic coffee.

Bloom: The sudden expansion of ground coffee when exposed to hot water, releasing CO2.

Chemex: A glass hourglass-shaped pour-over brewer.

Cherry: The fruit to which coffee beans are the seed.

Clover: A one-cup brewing machine using an internal vacuum and piston.

Cold Brew: Whereas iced coffee is just regular coffee cooled down, cold brew refers to the method of steeping grounds in cold water over a longer period.

Crema: The dark, delicate foam found on top of a well-pulled shot of espresso.

Degassing: The process of CO2 leaving fresh-roasted beans, which is why roasters generally allow a day or two before selling their batches.

Estate-Grown: A type of single-origin sourcing when an entire bag of coffee comes from a single estate.

Flannel Drip: A Japanese brewing process also called “nel drip” using a cloth filter attached to a simple handle.

French Press: A brewing method wherein a mesh plunger encased in a glass or metal chamber steeps and separates ground coffee.

Hopper: The compartment in a coffee grinder or espresso machine where whole beans are stored. This term is also used for the top part of a siphon brewer.

Kona: A coffee varietal from the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Moka Pot: Also known as a stovetop espresso maker, these small, metal vessels use steam and pressure to push water from the bottom chamber through grounds contained at the center, resulting in a concentrated brew in the top chamber.

Monsooning: Exposing coffee plants to monsoon rains for a period of time to produce an especially low-acid bean.

Peaberry: Roughly 5 percent of coffee beans are peaberries. They have a slight mutation that makes them rounder than ordinary beans, and are often separated out for specialty roasts.

Percolator: Similar to a moka pot, percolators are steam and pressure-activated stovetop coffee makers. These have a grounds chamber on top rather than in the middle.

Pour-Over Kettle: An electric kettle with a thin, curved spout optimal for pour-over brewing.

Red Eye: A red eye, or “shot in the dark” is a cup of coffee with an added shot of espresso.

Silverskin: The parchment-like outer layer of green coffee beans, which becomes chaff and falls away in the roasting process.

Siphon Brewing: For those who want to channel a mad scientist for their morning coffee, this glass vacuum brewer made up of a lower “bulb” and upper “hopper” is the equipment of choice.

Turkish Coffee: A stovetop brewing method using extra-fine grinds that settle to the bottom of the serving cup.

Yirgacheffe: Coffee from a particular micro-region of Ethiopia.


Now that you have a handle on a few more coffee terms than before, head over to Coffee Kind’s equipment storefront and set out on a new brewing adventure. For more helpful reads, stay in touch with us on Facebook.





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