Basic Coffee Terms Everyone Should Know

The world of coffee consumption can get a bit confusing if you are not familiar with the common jargon associated with this wonderful brew. Here’s your chance to brush up on your coffee knowledge and get familiar with some basic coffee terms so you can speak confidently using the latest coffee lingo.

Basic Coffee Terms
Acidity refers to an element of coffee flavor that typically registers as liveliness on the tip of your tongue. For example, coffee with low or no acidity tastes dull, like flat soda, while high acidity coffees have a sharp, effervescent quality that enhances their flavor.

Aroma is the distinctive pleasant fragrance of freshly brewed coffee. Aroma influences subtle aspects of the coffee’s taste. Some descriptions of aroma include nutty, smoky, grassy, complex, or earthy. The aroma is most noticeable and complex soon after brewing when the essential oils in the coffee have just been released.

A Barista is someone who is professionally trained in preparing coffee drinks, particularly, espresso, espresso shots and espresso-based drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos.

A Regular coffee is brewed by passing hot water over coffee grounds. Whereas an Espresso is forcing pressurized hot water through a tight puck of coffee grounds resulting in a little thick output with crema on top. To know a little more, read our article about Coffee Vs Espresso depicting more things about the same.

Bitter coffee has a sharp or harsh flavor that is generally considered to be unpleasant.

Bland coffee has very little flavor that can be described as “pale”. Under-extraction can cause coffee to be bland when there is too little coffee used to make the brew, or the grounds were too course for the flavor and aroma to be properly extracted.

Body refers to the physical texture of coffee, and describes the heaviness or thickness discerned by the taster. Body is described using terms such as thin, medium, full or syrupy.

Briny is the salty sensation left in your mouth after drinking over-roasted or over-brewed coffee. This usually happens when you  are trying a new roaster in your area or have just started roasting at home.

Complexity describes the multiple characteristics that harmonize to deliver a multi-faceted coffee flavor. Acidity, body, earthiness, sweetness, etc., combine to make the complexity of a coffee.

Crema is the reddish-brown froth usually resting at the top of your espresso. It is made when air bubbles combine with the soluble oils released from finely ground coffee.

Cupping is the formal term for coffee tasting. It is the professional practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee carried out by professionals called Master Tasters.

Earthiness, like the name suggests, describes an aroma of fresh earth in brewed coffee.

A Grassy aroma or flavor has a green or herby characteristic in brewed coffee. Coffee beans that are not properly roasted give a grassy aroma.

Mild describes a gourmet coffee with medium body and balanced sweetness and acidity.

Nutty refers to the aroma or flavor of fresh nuts in brewed coffee.

Tone is the color and general appearance of properly brewed coffee.

Pods  are small plastic or aluminum containers that carry predetermined quantity of coffee and are used in single serve coffee machines. These also come in reusable forms allowing us to use our own fresh blend of coffee.

And there you have it – the ABC’s of coffee! Now that you know all the basic terms that are regularly used in referring to coffee, you should share this list with all your coffee-loving friends so you can talk coffee together.
As always, leave us your comments below and you could even try using some of these coffee terms too!

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