Coffee A-Z

Coffee A-Z


Aroma Wheel: This helps to describe the smell, aroma, taste, the outlet and to describe the sensoric of coffee.


Buna: The Ethiopian coffee ceremony. How this works, you read here.


Cold Brew: Coffee can also be prepared with cold water. Different methods I described for you here.


Direct Trade: Compared to Fairtrade its not a purchased seal but the kind of how the coffee is traded. The loss of intermediaries often leaves more money to the farmer. Common practice of roasters that offer specialty coffee and have a direct relationship with their coffee farmers. Here is a nice comparison of Direct and Fairtrade.

Drum Roasting: In comparison to industrial coffee, specialty coffee is roasted more slowly and more gently, not in hot-air roaster, but in drum roaster. A direct comparison of both procedures can be found here.


Excelsa: Apart from Arabica and Canephora (Robusta), Excelsa is a rare and expensive species of coffee and only 1% of the world’s production. It has a high caffeine content and is strong, full-bodied and aromatic in taste.


Fair Trade: Seal, which is to guarantee fair payment for the farmers, with a focus on small farmers. Has nothing to do with the quality of the coffee and is accordingly controversial seen in the industry.


Grading: The selected coffee is divided into quality classes, chopped and stacked in cool, airy storage halls protected from direct daylight. From there it reaches the roaster. The size does not have a decisive influence on the quality in the cup. Nevertheless larger beans achieve a higher price on the market. The theory behind the classification by size assumes that coffee from higher cultivation areas grows slower, has a higher density and ultimately produces larger beans. In commerce, the following names are common to the various sizes:

  • very large bean > extra large bean > large bean > bold bean > good bean > medium bean > small bean > peaberry.
  • In Africa and India AA > A > B > C < PB (Peaberry).
  • In Central America the sizes are: Superior, Primera, Tercera, Caracol und Caracolito.

Honey Processed: Also called ‘semi-washed process’ or ‘pulped natural’, is a processing method for coffee. The pulp of the coffee cherries is mechanically peeled off after harvesting with a pulper. The beans are then still surrounded by a thin layer of jelly, the Mucilago.

In the case of a ‘red honey processed’ coffee, the coffee beans are put into the sun after pulping to dry. The mucilago gives the sweetness to the beans and the beans get a red surrounding.
Black honey processed’ coffee is produced like the red honey processed coffee, but after a few days of drying it is covered with black plastic for 24 hours, which encourages fermentation and makes the coffee taste sweet and intense.
In the case of ‘yellow honey‘ coffee, the beans are washed after they are pulped before they are dried in the sun. The few Mucilago give the beans a light yellow shade after drying.
If the coffee ‘white honey processed’ the washing of the beans is more intense than the yellow honey process.
The beans are dried for about 2 weeks until they have a moisture content of 8 to 12 %.


Ibrik: Or the Turkish Cezve is a metal jug in which Mocha is traditionally prepared – the oldest type of coffee making.


Jamaica Blue Mountain: In Jamaica, in the Blue Mountain range, the gourmet coffee of the same name grows on small plantations and is one of the most popular and expensive in the world. The aroma is full-bodied with a slightly sweet, very fruity and mild taste. The acid is very delicate.


Coffeine (German: Koffein): Roasted coffee beans contain between 1.3 and 2 % caffeine and is in the right dose a regular miracle weapon. Here is an overview.


Liberica: Besides Arabica and Canephora (Robusta) Liberica is a rather rare species of coffee. The beans are considered as comparatively inferior, but have more caffeine, are tart and intense in the taste, which is why they are more likely to be found in coffee blends. In addition, the Liberica was crossed with Arabica to the well-known Maragogype, which is cultivated mainly in Mexico and Nicaragua.

Monsooning: Is a treatment method that goes back to times when coffee was shipped about 6 months to Europe and exposed to high humidity on the sea. Since the coffee is thus given a particularly spicy, powerful body, the method is imitated today. After the harvest the raw coffee is exposed to rain and monsoon winds for weeks in open storage houses. It is then stored in bags and the quality is checked by hand.


Sustainability (German: Nachhaltigkeit): In times of globalization and global exploitation, there is luckily the opposing trend of making the world a little more fair. The theme of sustainability encompasses everything that has to do with the production of coffee. It is thus a matter of improving the quality of life of the farmers, the careful handling of resources such as soil and water, as well as trade, transport, packaging, the preparation and disposal of the waste. For implementation and control, organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance, 4C Association, UTZ Certified, Tropical Commodity Coalition and Fairtrade Labbeling Organizations International are available. But also roasters of specialty coffee try to ensure by direct relations and guarentee an even higher standard, only without label.


Organic Cultivation: The organic cultivation of coffee includes plantations with mixed cultures of shade trees and coffee plants. For example, banana, grapefruit and avocado trees, also eucalyptus, pineapple and papaya are planted as shadow trees. They loosen the soil, protect from the sun and wind, equal the day and night temperatures at higher altitudes and prevent soil erosion. Together with soilers and mulch from falling leaves they facilitate the weed control and contribute to the health of the coffee plants. The result is a stable ecosystem. The fertiliser is self-made compost like the pulp of the coffee cherries. After the conversion to organic farming, the yield per hectare can often increase as a result of the more careful care and the absence of chemical plant protection and fertilizers, when soil and plants have recovered.


Peaberry: Normally, in a coffee cherry 2 coffee beans are formed in the typical coffee bean shape. In 5-10% of the cases, however, only one bean develops, which then takes the form of a small ball. That is why they are called Peaberry, or in Spanish: caracoli or carcacol.


Quality: The SCAA-classifies coffee as follows for green coffee:

  • Specialty green coffee beans: less than 6 full defects in 300 g of green coffee.
  • Premium Coffee Grade: less than 9 full defects in 300 g.
  • Exchange Coffee Grade: less than 23 full defects in 300 g.
  • Below Standard Coffee Grade: less than 86 defects in 300 g.
  • Off Grade Coffee: more than 86 defects in 300 g.

Robusta: The botanically correct designation is Coffea canephora. The plant was discovered in Africa in the 19th century and accounts for about 30% of the world’s coffee harvest. Robusta is cultivated between 200 and 1,000 m altitude. The beans have more caffeine. They are considered less quality than Arabica beans, but are often used in coffee blends or for the production of instant coffee due to the full body, the lower acid content, the intense bitter taste and the beautiful crema. The largest producer country is Vietnam.


Shade grown: Can be seen as a sustainable quality feature of coffee. Originally, coffee plants grow among larger trees. In order to increase the yield, new sun-compatible trees have been developed since the mid-1970s. The accompanying modern cultivation practices are considered unsustainable and often have a negative impact on the environment. This is why the trend is again turning to shadow coffee, which promotes biodiversity and protects the soils and water reservoirs. The following grades are distinguished: rustic, traditional polyculture, commercial polyculture, reduced or specialized shade and sunny or non-shaded monocultures.


Torrefacto: is Spanish and means roasted. A type of roasting which is particularly common in Spain. When roasting, sugar is added to reduce the acidity and bitterness of the coffee. The roasted coffee is added to the conventionally roasted (tueste natural) to 20% – 50%, the result is called mezcla (Spanish for mixture).


Utz certified: Certification of the coffee for sustainable cultivation, transparency along the entire supply chain, productivity and quality improvements and technical support for the farmers.


Processing: The entirety of all steps from the coffee harvest, through the processing to the cleaning and sorting of the raw coffee.


World trade agreement: Or the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) is a trade agreement of 1962: 50 producers and 26 consumers have signed that the world coffee production is strictly regulated by fixed production quotas.


like the X in Cup of Excellence: Is the world’s most prestigious competition and award for high-quality coffee. Each year, thousands of coffees are submitted for consideration, with the winners being sold at premium prices in worldwide online auctions. Most of the auction revenue receive the farmers. An overview of the dates for the participating countries can be found here.


Yirgacheffe: The Yirgacheffe region in southern Ethiopia is one of the most famous coffee cultivation regions in the world. The Arabica coffees of the region have a distinctively spicy aroma with beautiful flowery-fruity notes.


Preparation (German: Zubereitung): Each country has its traditional preparation and coffee recipes. I will introduce you here.

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