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Vocabulary and glossary to help you navigate the coffee world
The taste that remains in the mouth after swallowing a sip of coffee; this may have hints of chocolate, caramel, spices, fruit, smoky and roasted notes as well as other flavours.
The world’s most popular species of coffee plant, accounting for approximately 65% of global production. Its ideal climate is a tropical-mountainous one, preferably over 900 metres above sea level.
Characterized by intensity and quality, aroma is detected when the nose approaches the cup and the olfactory cells come into contact with the volatile chemical compounds released by the drink.
Coffee blends are mixtures of different coffee bean crops from around the world or a specific region. An expert roaster will typically use beans from 2 to maximum 4 different locations.
The layer beneath the crema with most of the rich and delicious flavours and aromas associated with espresso. Soft, syrupy, creamy, buttery/oily, silky when it’s good, dry or astringent when it’s not.
The process of pouring hot water onto ground coffee beans. Water infuses the ground coffee, absorbs its chemical elements then passes through a filter to make the coffee beverage.
Coffee Belt
The name given to the band of subtropical regions crossing around 50 countries where coffee is grown. Principally mountainous regions that lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
Coffee Waves
The evolution of coffee over time:
- 1st wave: air-tight cans and pre-ground portion packs were introduced
- 2nd wave: focused on coffee origins, artisans and roasting styles
- 3rd wave: consumers understand the specifics of their coffee.
The frothy, hazelnut colored layer that forms on the surface of a well-brewed shot of espresso. The presence of crema is an important element in assessing the quality of an espresso.
Extraction is what determines the quality of the final result of the coffee in cup, defining the thickness of the crema on the surface and giving the coffee its fine and persistent texture.
Four basic flavours are used to describe coffee: bitter, sour, salty, and sweet. The predominance of one or more over the others depends on the blend composition. Sometimes, umami is also perceived.
Milk frothing serves two purposes: to create a creamy foam by incorporating air and steam, as well as heating the milk to an ideal temperature (up to 65°C).
Transformation of the roasted coffee beans into a coarse to fine powder, allowing the oils and flavours to be extracted. Can be done with a basic, blade-type grinder or with a higher quality burr one.
Latte art
Creative drawing technique that involves skilfully pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso to create visually appealing designs such as hearts, rosettes or tulips on the surface of the coffee.
Pre infusion
The process of gently soaking the puck of ground coffee in the filter after the full desired brewing pressure has been applied to ensure that water evenly penetrates the ground once extraction begins.
Roasting is the ‘cooking’ of the green coffee beans through the application of heat for a certain time. Only after roasting are beans are ready to be ground.
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Coffea Robusta is the most popular coffee variety of the Coffea Canephora. Mostly grown in Vietnam, but also in Africa and Brazil, it generally has a much higher caffeine content than other species.
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Single origin
The beans come from one place only, usually from a certain country, region or even the same farm or estate. Supporters of single origin argue that mixing destroys the essence of the beans.
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Specialty coffee
Exceptional quality coffee scoring at least 80 points on the 100-point Coffee Review scale: the SCA oversees quality standards at every stage of the coffee production, from green beans defects to water standards and brew strength.
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The act of compacting ground coffee with a tamper to restrict water flow, forcing the coffee and water to interact at the right pressure. Tamping should be firm, even and perpendicular to the filter.
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