The Roasts

Light: Has a cinnamon color and a grain-like taste with a light body, high acidity and dry surface.

Medium: Consists of a brown color and a traditional American taste with a dry surface and medium acidity.

Dark: Has a dark brown color and a bittersweet taste with a slightly oily surface and low acidity.

French Roast: Being dark brown to almost black in color and smokey in taste, it is oily with a light body.

The Makers

Drip Coffee Makers: This is the most common coffee maker in which coffee is brewed from heated water that is dripped through ground coffee in a filter. You would use a medium grind.

Espresso Machines: Espresso is brewed as high pressure hot water is forced through finely ground coffee. A variety of roasts are suitable. Espresso is made faster than drip coffee and generally has a stronger flavor. You would use a extra fine grind.

French Press/Plunger Coffee Makers: This brewer allows the coffee grounds to sit and saturate directly in hot water. It only takes a few minutes until it is fully brewed. A metal filter is then pushed downward to trap the grounds at the bottom of the carafe. The freshly brewed coffee is left at the top, ready to drink. You would use a course grind.

 The Grinds

Whole Bean: This is the actual bean, fresh out of the roaster. It needs to be ground before brewed.

Medium: Has a gritty consistency comparable to sand.

Fine: Has a smooth texture much like granulated sugar and table salt.

Extra Fine: Finer than granulated sugar but not quite powdered; it still has some grit.

The Rest

Acidity: Not having to do with the amount of acid or pH, acidity refers to the bright, dry, and fruity characteristics of the coffee. The darker the roast, the less acid a coffee is. A positive acidy is a desirable trait for your coffee.

Aftertaste: This refers to the lingering sensation that occurs after swallowing. It is created by the vapors and residue left behind and can be described as anything form nutty to chocolaty.

Arabica: A superior high quality coffee that comes from the earliest cultivated species of coffee tree. This tree is indigenous to the mountains of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula and parts of southern Ethiopia and Sudan. The tree bears red fruit that usually contains two coffee beans.

Aroma: The perception of flavor through the gases released from the brewed coffee, ranging from fruity to nutty.

Balanced: This refers to the proportion of qualities so no one quality overwhelms another. It typically implies a mild character with a balance between aroma, flavor, texture and aftertaste.

Blend: A coffee variety created by mixing two or more different types of beans. It’s done to create balance, body and flavor.

Body: The texture and taste of the weight, richness, and thickness of a brewed coffee. A coffees body can be referred to as light, medium, heavy and full-bodied depending on if it is thin and watery or if it is thick and creamy.

Bold: Can be used to describe either a darker roast of coffee or one made with a higher coffee grounds to water ratio much like one characterized as strong.

Bright: Referring to a lively, highly acidic coffee with a pleasant flavor.

Chaff: As coffee bean are roasted, they expand and shed a light, thin layer of skin called chaff.

Chocolatey: Having an aroma, taste or aftertaste similar to that of unsweetened chocolate.

Crema: The dense reddish brown froth covering the top of an expresso. It is an important part of an expresso as is holds the sugar, flavor and aroma before it dissolves into the drink.

Decaffeination Process: A process that takes the caffeine out of coffee. It can be done chemically or by using water filtration. There are many different types of processes but they all involve the green beans being soaked in a liquid or solvent that extracts the caffeine. Decaffeinated beans are darker in color than others.

Delicate: Having a fragile and subtly sweet sensation perceived by the tip of the tongue, much like a coffee that is well-balanced.

Dull: Referring to a coffee that lacks character and its original flavors, similar to it being flat. It may be due to an inferior quality, poor preparation or lack of freshness.



Espresso: A coffee beverage that contains little water which gives it a very rich and strong flavor. It is served by the ounce and is meant to be consumed immediately after preparation.

Flat: The lack of flavor and aroma.

Fresh: Describing the recently harvested and roasted coffee beans that have a bright, rich flavor and satisfying aroma.

Fruity: Having an aroma, taste or aftertaste to that of fruit. A common characteristic of many coffees considering that coffee beans are seeds of fruit. It can be used to describe a coffees acidity.

Full: Referring to a moderately pronounced presence of characteristics such as aroma, acidity, body and flavor.

Gourmet: A type of coffee that is made from the finest Arabica beans and specially roasted to its premium roast profile.

Green Beans: The coffee beans before roasting. They have greenish tan appearance.

Mild: Used to describe a coffee that has a subtle and delicate taste.

Nutty: Having an aroma, taste or aftertaste reminiscent of nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts and almonds.

Organic: A growing process where no pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used. This is certified by an international body. the Organic Crop Improvement Association, or the USDA Organic branding.

Rich: Having a pleasing fullness in flavor, body or acidity.

Roast Profile: The relationship between time, rate and temperature in coffee roasting. Roast profiling allows the coffees distinct characteristics to be highlighted.

Robusta: A lower grade coffee with a full body and high caffeine content but a flat taste. The tree originated from central and western sub-Saharan Africa. It does not take much care, attention or money to yield a large crop so it is common among instant and pre-ground commercial coffees.

Micro-roaster: A company that roasts small batches of coffee to specific standards. The ability to evenly roast beans using a particular style and expertise gives the coffee a more crafted taste.

Smooth: Used to describe a low acidic, well-balanced coffee free of any distinct aftertastes.

Strong: Referring to a pungent coffee made with a high ratio of coffee grounds to water. Commonly used to describe a very dark cup of coffee that is heavy bodied.

Watery: A weak coffee that lacks body and oil in taste and texture.

Weak: Describing a coffee that lacks body and is made with a low ratio of coffee grounds to water.