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Glossary

Acidity

Pleasant and pungent flavor felt on the sides of the tongue giving coffee a tang reminiscent of a dry wine. This characteristic denotes a fresh coffee, cultivated at high altitude.

Arabica

The fruit of the Coffea Arabica, one of the two major species of coffee plants. The Coffea Arabica is a fragile shrub responsible for 75% of the world's coffee production. Grown at high altitudes, the fruit ripens slowly resulting in high quality coffees.

Aroma

Fragrance of coffee. Along with acidity, body and flavor, it is an essential component of the coffee-tasting experience.

Bitterness

Pungent taste perceived on the back of the tongue, usually caused by long roasting, bad brewing method or over-extraction of the coffee oils. In small quantities, it can add to the overall flavor of the coffee.

Blend

A mixture of beans with complementary characteristics, improving balance and harmony. Most coffees are blends, Mocha Java being the most popular.

Body

A coating sensation or full-mouth feeling of more viscosity. Felt at the base of the tongue, in the throat and on the palate.

Cappuccino

An Espresso topped off with hot frothy milk and often with cocoa powder.

Caracol, peaberry

Coffee fruit that contains one bean rather than the usual two. They have more taste and aroma than regular beans, therefore, are greatly sought after.

Cherry

Name of the ripe fruit of the coffee tree.

Coffee tree

Tropical shrub native to Abyssinia whose fruit, or cherry, contains seeds (coffee beans). There are two major coffee plant species Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta.

Concentration

Synonymous with strength, it is determined by the ratio of water to the amount of coffee - mild, medium and strong.

Dark

Refers to roast and taste, not concentration; has a more pronounced burnt caramel and charcoally taste, typical of dark roasted or European coffees.

Diluted

Characterizes a coffee prepared with too much water (or not enough coffee) that lacks body and substance. Synonymous with watery.

Espresso

Coffee obtained by percolation under high pressure, making a coffee that is dense with a very strong aroma. It is covered with a cream and is less caffeinated than filtered coffee.

Flavor

Combination of what we smell and taste; a blend of body, acidity and aroma. This term is also used to describe coffee that is made with natural or artificial extracts.

Light

Refers to roast and taste. Denotes a coffee with good acidity with a lighter roast and offering a pleasant flavor and good aroma.

Medium

Refers to the roast and taste - well-balanced coffee, not too acidic, not too bitter, but dense and rich with a medium roast. Medium (or mellow) blends are often made up of dark and light coffee.

Medium (strength)

Coffee made with standard concentration, producing a well-balanced coffee, rich and flavorful.

Mild

Coffee made with a lower concentration (less coffee for the same amount of water), producing a milder flavor with a lighter body and clearer color.

Peaberry, caracol

Coffee fruit that contains one bean rather than the usual two. They have more taste and aroma than regular beans, therefore, are greatly sought after.

Rich

Used to describe an excess of a quality. A rich coffee will offer flavor, body and acidity in abundance.

Roast

Indicates the temperature and the length of time at which coffee is "cooked". The longer the roasting time, the darker the beans and the more charcoal tang to the taste - light, medium and dark roast.

Robusta

Fruit of the Coffea Canephora, one of the two major species of coffee tree. It is a hearty plant that, unlike Coffea Arabica, grows in low altitudes and is usually of lower quality.

Strong

Coffee made with a higher concentration (more coffee for the same amount of water), producing a more pronounced flavor and a heavier body.