Coffee Dictionary



– A key term used to describe the quality of a coffee by professional tasters, not the pH level. Best thought of as the way a coffee makes the mouth tingle. Lots of tingle on the tongue means a lively, bright coffee with high acidity whereas low acidity coffees are described as smooth.


– Vanilla ice-cream with a shot of just brewed espresso poured on to it.


– 1 of 2 principle types of coffee bean, the other being Robusta. Arabica coffee beans are sweeter and have a higher acidity level than Robusta and a weaker flavour, body and crema than Robusta. They are large coffee beans as they are grown 1000 – 2000 metres above sea level. People often think that Arabica is better because it is the most expensive coffee bean to buy, this is not so. The reason that Robusta is cheaper is because it is grown much lower down and is therefore much easier to cultivate and harvest, whereas Arabica is grown in the mountains so it is much more difficult and therefore costly to cultivate and harvest.


– A key term used to evaluate the quality of a coffee. How does it smell? - good quality coffee can smell: chocolatey, earthy, spicy, floral, nutty.


– An espresso machine that can be programmed to a set volume and time of brew.



– Originally an Italian word for bar tender, now globally known as a "professional maker of espresso drinks"/ the person who operates the machine. Baristas have come into their own and can now compete in the "world Barista championships", where Latte art has quite literally become an art form.


– Astringent and Yucky taste on the tongue given from poor quality or over roasted coffees. Over extracted good quality coffee can also be bitter to taste as can coffee made on a dirty espresso machine.


– A combination of coffee beans from different regions and countries to create a perfectly balanced and consistent taste, aroma and body. We believe that a blend of the finest Robustas and Arabicas is essential in the making of an exceptional Espresso. Both are needed to give a first class BODY, CREMA, FLAVOUR AND AROMA.


– Used to describe the heaviness or lightness of the weight the coffee feels on the tongue. A key term used to evaluate the quality of a coffee.


– In our machines they are made from high quality, precision engineered robust copper and heat the water in the Espresso machine.


– The fragrance a coffee has when smelled.


– A cappuccino made with light cream rather than milk, there is nothing skinny about it!.


– Very important in the brewing of an Espresso shot. A proper Espresso is pulled somewhere between 25 and 30 seconds. Shorter than this and the flavour isn't what it should be and longer than this risks producing a burnt flavour.


– see acidity, key term used to describe the flavour of a coffee – "bright" is usually an indication of high acidity: a tangy flavour that tingles the tongue in a good way.


– Thought by many to be the best type of grinder. Uses 2 discs – 1 that stays still and one that rotates to "slice" the coffee bean down to the required grind. The best grinders can be adjusted by the tiniest amount so that your grind is consistently perfect.



– A coffee drink made with 1/3 filter coffee and 2/3 hot frothed milk


– Originally a Spanish coffee drink made of Espresso and hot milk


– Originally drank by Italians with a pastry or biscuit for breakfast. Made using a shot of Espresso, about 3 times as much milk as the espresso and smooth, silky foam to the top. Flavoured syrups can be added to create an almost endless variety of drinks.


– Similar to a Caffe Latte, but has a measure of either chocolate syrup or chocolate sauce made with Cioccobon in it and is often topped with whipped cream.


– A naturally occurring Alkaloid responsible for the stimulating powers of coffee.


– 1 Espresso shot that should be 1/3 of your cappuccino cup, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 froth. Quite often topped with chocolate powder. The milk should be velvety and smooth with only very tiny air bubbles in it. The advent of the American inspired coffee house has often made the cappuccino quite incorrectly a very weak and large drink.


– The fruit from the coffee tree that begins green in colour then matures to yellow then red. The cherry usually contains 2 coffee beans or 1 pea-berry.


Also known as the "bean belt" – This is where the coffee is grown on Earth – located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.


– technically not an oil as it mixes with water, coffee oil is developed during the roasting process and produces the flavour.


- Traditional Spanish coffee, made with a shot of Espresso and a dash of warm milk.


– If your espresso doesn't have a good crema – (a dense golden coloured froth that sits on top of the shot) then it isn't properly extracted /or your coffee is poor quality. Whatever cup you are serving your espresso drink in must be the cup into which you brew – if you don't, the crema will be left behind and all those lovely caramel coloured, emulsified oils full of flavour will be too.


– The method employed by professional coffee tasters to evaluate the merits and quality of coffee beans. The coffee beans are ground and then water is poured over them to extract the key characteristics of coffee. The aroma of the coffee is first evaluated by smelling then the FLAVOUR, BODY AND ACIDITY is judged by slurping the coffee from the cup or a spoon – it is usual for the coffee extraction to be then spat out as it contains the grounds.


– Found on the top of Espresso machines, directly above the boiler. Cups should be kept here “face up” so that your freshly extracted coffees don't cool down too quickly - the hot air from the machine repels dust, so don't worry about dusty cups. If cups are kept face down you run the risk of overheating your machine as the hot air cannot escape from it. Please don't ever cover your espresso machine with a tea towel either – your espresso machine needs to “breathe”.



– Coffee or Tea that has had the caffeine removed. There are currently 4 main methods of decaffeination: 1. Solvents are used on the green beans that mix with the caffeine and when the beans are steamed the solvent and the caffeine is evaporated. 2. The green beans are soaked in solvent and hot water, the caffeine attaches to the solvent and is removed. 3. The carbon dioxide method – caffeine is removed by a semi- liquid form of carbon dioxide. 4. The Swiss Water Method TM, involves no chemicals and removes caffeine from the green coffee beans by soaking them in hot water and removing the caffeine from the hot water by percolating it through a bed of activated charcoal.


– Coffee that is made with a filter, counter top coffee maker, press pot or a percolator. Hot water passes through a measured bed of ground coffee with or without a filter paper to extract the coffee flavour without using pressure.


– The correct amount of coffee for the chosen coffee brewing method. A 1.5oz shot of Espresso requires 7g of ground coffee.


– The most commonly used filter basket used with espresso machines, it can hold about 14g of ground coffee and can brew 2 shots of espresso simultaneously.


– The Italian word meaning double – A coffee drink made with 2 shots of espresso.


– Description of the foamed milk created by steaming for cappuccinos and lattes, the key is to have only minute bubbles present in your froth to produce a velvety texture. When steaming milk the volume of milk should double.



- The definition of an Italian espresso is 7g of beans (50 beans) equals 25ml of coffee in the cup. A short coffee made with almost boiling water forced under high pressure (9 bar) through finely ground, tamped (compacted) coffee. An espresso is described as a “shot” and must have a thick golden crema that floats on its surface. The crema is where all the essential coffee oils and flavour are. A shot of espresso is the foundation for a cappuccino, latte, americano, caffe mocha. Variables in size are made using the same amount of coffee and same length of brew time but altering the grind of the coffee. A ristretto, meaning restricted in Italian is a shorter shot of espresso brewed using a finer grind of coffee. A Lungo meaning long in Italian is brewed using a courser grind of coffee. Altering the grind is the correct way of making a ristretto or lungo as if you make a long or short espresso by simply increasing or decreasing the brew time this would result in a over-extracted or under-extracted shot. Here are some of the drinks you can make with an espresso, that we haven't given an individual listing to!:
  • Machiato – A shot of espresso “marked” with a small amount of milk froth.
  • Con panna– A shot of espresso topped with whipped cream.
  • A harmless – A double shot of decaffeinated espresso and non-fat milk.
  • Piccolo – Italian for small, a shot of espresso topped with 5mm of foamed milk, often served in a glass cup.
  • Red eye – A cup of brewed filter coffee with a shot of espresso.
  • Cafe con leche – A traditional Spanish coffee made from espresso with very hot milk served on a 1:1 ratio.
  • Americano – Made by pulling an espresso shot into hot water. The hot water must be in the cup first and then pull the shots of espresso into it to retain the crema.
  • Long black – Made by pulling a double espresso shot into hot water. The hot water must be in the cup first and then pull the shots of espresso into it to retain the crema.


– how we turn water into coffee by either pressure forcing it through ground coffee quickly or water passing though the ground coffee slowly thus using time to “extract” the flavours, oils and fats to produce a cup of coffee.



– coffee and tea that has been bought from farmers where the price was determined by agencies whose primary goal is to get a fair price for those involved in the growing, picking and sorting of coffee & tea. In our range of Birchall teas we offer great Fairtrade blends to improve your eco credentials.


– Originated in New Zealand, made using an espresso shot and foamed milk heated to about 70 degrees to produce a velvety texture rather than a dryish foam. This is very similar to a proper Italian style cappuccino, served always in a ceramic cup and often with Latte art.


– for an espresso: can be described as chocolatey, citrus, nutty, earthy. Flavour, body, acidity and aroma are the principle indicators used by professional tasters to decide the quality of a blend or particular coffee.


– An iced coffee drink usually made with instant coffee topped with milk foam.


– Coffee made by steeping ground coffee in hot water in a container with a plunger and a metal filter that forces the coffee grounds down to the bottom of the container. The container used is also known as a cafetiere, press pot or plunger pot.


– Produced by using a steaming arm on an espresso machine which is inserted into milk in a stainless steel jug. Use cold, fresh, good quality milk and a thermometer if required. The key is to create a cyclone within the jug to draw air into the milk as it heats and therefore create froth or foam. A good barista will always pour milk or foam rather than spoon it onto the drink in dollops. Good froth should be velvety with hardly any bubbles visible as the milk and froth should be amalgamated perfectly creating a sweet and light texture.



– unroasted coffee beans


– the descriptive for coffee beans that have been chopped, crushed or flattened and ground in a grinder. The grind is of principle importance to the quality of the coffee drink produced from it. Good Baristas ensure that their grind is right for every coffee they make – by sight and make adjustments accordingly to account for humidity.


– Basically there are 2 types: Blade grinders and Burr grinders. Blade grinders, use a metal blade to chop and cut up the beans, they tend to be the cheaper of the two types and can create heat when grinding that can result in a burnt flavour in your coffee. Burr grinders crush the coffee beans between a static surface and a moving surface and offer a more consistent grind.


– The most famous of which is the Faema E61 design that can be found on almost all of our WEGA commercial espresso machines. This part of the machine is integral to maintain a stable temperature in the machine and holds the locking connector for the group handle (portafilter).



– coffee granules that dissolve in water.



– A bin for your coffee grounds – the best ones are robust, well made and have an arm across it to knock the used coffee puck out of your group handle (portafilter).



- 'Milk' in Italian – a coffee drink made with an espresso shot and about three times the volume in hot milk and often topped with milk froth. A multitude of flavoured syrups can be added to extend your coffee drinks menu.


– The preserve of the highly skilled Barista – patterns and designs are formed on the espresso by the way that the steamed milk is poured on to it. Latte art takes practice and only properly steamed milk will do!


– A drink commonly found in American style coffee houses – hot milk served in an 8 ounce glass cup with a shot of espresso poured on top – I.e. Milk 'marked' with espresso.


– an espresso machine that is manual and creates the required pressure by pulling down on a lever/ arm to brew an espresso.



– Coffee drink made as per a caffe latte but with chocolate syrup or mixture added to the espresso shot, finished with whipped cream.


– Available in most good home stores now and some not so good too! - A pot you can heat up on the gas or electric hob that forces hot water through coffee in a filter basket using steam to generate pressure – the result is a very strong coffee similar to espresso. As with anything the better quality your Moka is, the better the coffee from it will be.



– coffee that has been in contact with water for too long, the result is often a bitter, burnt flavour.



– Pre-ground, pre-pressed, puck of ground coffee sealed in a filter paper and should be individually wrapped for freshness. Pods are great for coffees that don't sell in high volumes and that you don't want a dedicated grinder for i.e. decaffeinated coffee.


– Filter coffee machine that brews coffee into a jug or flask through a cone lined with a filter paper. These machines allow the water to be poured over the ground coffee in a steady flow to extract the flavour perfectly.


- Also referred to as a group handle, it attaches to the group head of and Espresso machine and holds the tamped, ground coffee.


- term to describe how an espresso is dispensed – like a pint of lager the espresso shot is 'pulled'.


– The hard circular mass of spent coffee grounds that you knock out of the filter basket in the group handle.



– Global organisation promoting and securing sustainability. Their emphasis is on protecting eco- systems, people and wildlife and stop the destruction of the rain forest. Our Bristot Rainforest Alliance coffee directly benefits those regions and communities that need protecting.


– the heating process by which green coffee beans turn into a flavour hot bed of oils and aroma. Black, oily beans do not make good espresso!


- 1 of 2 principle types of coffee bean, the other being Arabica. Stronger body than Arabica, has double the caffeine of Arabica and is great for producing a crema so it is ideal for milk based drinks as it keeps both its flavour, body and crema. Small beans are grown 200- 800 metres above sea level. Used in blends for its superior crema when compared to Arabica.



– A single brewed espresso made with around 7g of ground coffee.


– A filter basket that holds the prerequisite of ground coffee to pull a single shot of espresso.


– Coffee sourced from a single geographical region, single farm or plot within a particular farm.


– Americanism for any coffee drink that uses skimmed milk rather than full or half fat.


– Manual knob that releases steam through the steam arm to froth, heat and steam milk.


– An espresso machine that grinds, doses, tamps, brews and disposes of the puck at the push of a button. Some super automatic coffee machines can also automatically steam milk.



– after putting your measured dose of coffee grounds into your filter basket it must be tamped – hard enough to compress the coffee into a flat, level puck but not so hard the water cannot get through it to brew. Using a tamper, push down (tamp) on your coffee grounds within your group handle that is steadied on your bar to ensure a level surface results.



– A description of a coffee that has not had enough contact with water when brewed that results in a weak flavoured drink that lacks body.



– coffee beans that have not been ground.
Copyright © 2018 Gabriele Coffee and Tea