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Tips From the Experts

Acidity. A flavor descriptor of the degree to which tastes “bright” or “lively,” with complex, citrusy undertones—rather than flat and one dimensional. Not directly related to the coffee’s pH levels.

Arabica. The most widely grown species of coffee.

Blend. A mixture of single-origin beans that’s designed to imart a specific flavor profile.

Blade Grinder. A coffee bean grinder that uses a rotating horizontal blade.

Body. The feel of a specific brewed coffee’s thickness and weight in the mouth.

Bold. Used to describe the assertiveness of the flavors in coffee and how immediately detectable they are. The opposite of this is mild.

Burnt. The unpleasant flavor in brewed coffee or espresso when the beans have been over-roasted.

Burr Grinder. A coffee bean grinder that crushes beans using rotating discs (burrs), either made of metal or ceramic. The burrs can be flat or conical in shape.

Caramelization. The sweet flavors of coffee that are highlighted through roasting.

Clean. The taste of the ideal cup of coffee, free of imperfections.

Coffee Cherry. Small, red tree fruit of which the coffee bean is a seed.

Crema. The thin, light brown foamy layer that tops espresso. It’s a result of the high pressure used by espresso machines.

Cupping. Term referring to the process of professional coffee tasting.

Descaling. The process of removing mineral buildup from a coffee or espresso machine’s boiler by running a commercial descaling solution through the machine.

Dose. The specific ratio of coffee to water used when brewing coffee or espresso.

Extraction. The process of drawing flavor out of ground coffee by infusing it with hot water.

Green Beans. Fresh, unroasted coffee beans.

Mouthfeel. Literally, the way coffee feels in the mouth—thick, thin, grainy, smooth, etc.

Portafilter. The filter chamber and handle on an espresso machine that is packed with ground coffee.

Pull. The act of activating the extraction process on an espresso machine. Derives from a time when the barista manually pulled a lever on the machine.

Roast Date. The date on which a batch of beans has been roasted for brewing. Usually printed on the bag of coffee.

Single Origin. Denotes coffee that comes from one specific place, like a farm, a region or country.


The Perfect Cup »

A taste of our favorite coffee and
espresso drinks from around the world.

Brewing Guides & Tips »

Step-by-step help from our Brewing
Guides, useful advice and more.

Video Library »

See all our favorite brewing
methods in action.

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