The ABCs of Coffee & Tea

The ABCs of Coffee & Tea

Coffee. Tea. Each of them have a whole slew of terminology. You’ve heard some of the words, but what do they really mean? Here is an ABC list of some of that need-to-know jargon.

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Aroma  is the fragrance of brewed coffee.  The smell of coffee grounds before being brewed is referred to as the Bouquet.  Think of the aroma of coffee as “the best part of waking up,” however, it may not refer only to the brand that that phrase is associated with.  Whenever you enjoy a whiff of brewing coffee, you are enjoying its “aroma.”

[su_row][su_column center=”yes”][/su_column][su_column center=”yes”]Black Tea  Fully fermented tea that brews a redish-brown to  dark brown “liquor” with a high caffeine content.[/su_column][/su_row]

Cold-Water Method  Brewing method in which ground coffee is soaked in a proportionally small amount of cold water for 10 to 20 hours. The grounds are strained out and the resulting concentrated coffee is stored and mixed with hot water as needed. The cold water method produces a low-acid, light-bodied cup that some find pleasingly delicate, and others find bland.

[su_row][su_column center=”no”][/su_column][su_column center=”no”]Dark French Roast  is a roast of coffee almost black in color with a shiny surface, thin-bodied, and bittersweet in flavor, with an overlay of burned or charcoal-like tones.[/su_column][/su_row]

Espresso  The word espresso refers to a brewing method that extracts the heart of the coffee bean. It was invented in Italy at the turn of the century.  A pump-driven machine forces hot water through fine grounds at around nine atmospheres of pressure. It should take between 18 to 23 seconds to extract a good shot.  This will produce from 3/4 to one ounce of great liquid. This brewing process produces a sweet, thick and rich, smooth shot of espresso.  Espresso comes from the Latin word “Expresere” which means “to press out.”Image and video hosting by TinyPic

French Press   A French press is a device for making coffee in which ground coffee is steeped in water.  The grounds are then removed from the coffee by means of a filter plunger which presses the grounds to the bottom of the pot. The French press can also be referred to as a plunger pot and is a great way to brew your own coffee when on the go.

Green Tea  Tea that is not fermented (the leaves are heated immediately after plucking). Contains a moderate amount of caffeine, and retains tannins, vitamin C, chlorophyll, and minerals.

Hard Bean  Hard bean coffee is grown at relatively high altitudes, from 4,000 to 4,500 feet above sea level.  Coffee grown above 4,500 feet is referred to as strictly hard bean. This terminology says that beans grown at higher altitudes mature more slowly and are harder and denser than other beans and are thus more desirable.

[su_row][su_column center=”yes”][/su_column][su_column center=”yes”]Italian Roast  A roast of coffee considerably darker than the traditional American norm. Usually dark brown in color and rich and bittersweet in flavor, but may range in color to almost black and in flavor to nearly burned.[/su_column][/su_row]

Joe  A popular slang term for coffee. Other nicknames: Java, mud, brew, dirt, cuppa, fix, brain juice, jet fuel, liquid energy, leaded, unleaded, rocket fuel, and mojo

Kenya  Kenya coffees are celebrated for their deep, winy acidity, resonant cup presence, and complex fruit and berry tones. Of the world’s great coffees, Kenyan probably is the most consistent in quality and most widely available.

Latte  A latte is made up of a shot or two of espresso that has been poured into a cup filled with steamed milk and topped off with about a quarter of an inch of foamed milk.  This smooth and tasty drink is very popular for its high caffeine and smooth flavor.  It can also be made with whole milk, low fat or even skim milk for those who are watching calories.

Monsooned Coffee  Monsooned coffee has been deliberately exposed to monsoon winds in open warehouse to increase body and reduce acidity.  One common example of monsooned coffee is Javanese coffee.  By exposing coffee to warm, moist air during the rainy season, the flavor is strengthened while acidity is lost.  This type of coffee can be quite expensive, and is very delicious.

Natural Coffee  Coffee processed by removing the husk or fruit after the coffee fruit has been dried. When only ripe fruit is utilized and the drying is done carefully dry-processed coffee can be complex, fruity, and deeply-dimensioned. When the picking and drying are performed carelessly, as is the case with cheaper dry-processed coffees, the result is off-tasting, harsh coffee. The best and most celebrated dry-processed coffees are Yemen coffees, the Harrar coffees of Ethiopia, and the finest traditional Brazil coffees.

[su_row][su_column center=”no”]Image and video hosting by TinyPic[/su_column][su_column center=”no”]Oolong Taiwan is famous for its many wonderful Oolong teas. Oolong tea leaves are partially  or semi-fermented, giving them the body and complexity of black tea, with the brightness and freshness of a green tea.[/su_column][/su_row]

Pour-Over A method of brewing coffee in which boiling water is poured over ground coffee beans residing in a filter or holder.

[su_row][su_column center=”no”][/su_column][su_column center=”no”]Quakers  Defective coffee beans that fail to roast properly, remaining stubbornly light-colored.[/su_column][/su_row]

Regular Roast  Coffee roasted to traditional American taste: medium brown.


Stale  Stale coffee has been exposed to oxygen for too long. It becomes flat and has a cardboard taste.  Leaving your can or bag of coffee open or cracked to expose air can cause coffee to go stale.  To avoid this, use an airtight container to store your coffee, and even keep it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Tamper  In espresso brewing, the small, pestle-like device with a round, flat end used to distribute and compress the ground coffee inside the filter basket.

[su_row][su_column center=”yes”][/su_column][su_column center=”yes”]Uganda  The finest Uganda arabica (Bugishu or Bugisu) displays the winy acidity and other flavor characteristics of the best East African coffees, but is less admired than the finest Kenya or Zimbabwe, owing to generally lighter body and less complex flavor.[/su_column][/su_row]

Varietal  The term used for the coffee that comes from a geographical region is “varietal.”  Sumatra, Kenya, Costa Rica or a Java are all coffee varietals. As in wine, the soil, climate and cultivation methods affect the taste of your coffee.  The term varietal is actually a misnomer, since Arabica coffee plants are basically of the same species, unlike wine grapes which come from different species of grape vines.

Whole Leaf Tea  As opposed to finely chopped “dust tea”, whole leaf tea is closer to the form of freshly plucked tea, and is valued for its complex flavor.

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[su_row][su_column center=”yes”][/su_column][su_column center=”yes”]Yunnan The birthplace of tea. A province in southwestern China where tea plants were first domesticated. Yunnan tea is famously golden-tipped and considered to be high-end.[/su_column][/su_row]

ZZzzzzz What you’ll be doing if you don’t get your coffee or tea fix!



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