Dictionary of Coffeee Terms

Dictionary of Coffeee Terms

The world of coffee can now be a confusing place. To help you understand some of the jargon you will find on packaging, here is an explanation of some of the words/phrases you may find.


This is  usually a sign of a quality coffee bean under the grading system used by some countries. As a result these beans are often sold at a higher price.


This is where the caffeine is removed from green coffee beans before roasting. Green coffee beans are steamed and then the outer layers containing the caffeine are scraped off. The flavour is however always affected so to many it tastes dull/flat.

Fair Trade

Part of a non-profit, international program that advocates sustainable production and fair prices for small farmers. Trans Fair USA, the certifying organization, also works for safe working conditions (and no forced child labour), limits the use of harmful pesticides, and supports credit plans and training for farm workers.


Some flavouring agents can be added to the beans including hazelnut, vanilla, Irish cream


Coffee was grown without synthetic fertilizers and most industrial pesticides.


Terms Often Used To Describe The Flavour Of Coffee

The producer or seller of your coffee beans may use the following words to describe the coffee bean. So to help you decipher the meanings we have added in here what they mean!


This means that you will taste a dry, puckering taste like unripe fruit or over-brewed tea.


This is a good word to look for, as it should be the ideal blend of sour and bitter.


Coffee that’s is described as having body should feel full and weighty in your mouth.

Cereal or Grainy

The coffee bean tastes like a cooked wheat cereal.


Like coffee that has been heated too long.


Hints of aromas and flavours similar to potato skins or root vegetables. (But dirty is a harsh off-note.)


Has two meanings. A green/sharp or bright coffee is clean and light, with pleasing acidity. A green/under-ripe coffee suggests unripe beans.


Like fresh toasted nuts.


Like damp cardboard.


Like damp popsicle sticks.



How Best To Store Coffee


To maintain freshness and flavour, coffee must be kept away from moisture, heat, light, and strong odours. Coffee can pick up strong odours from other foods stored near it. Refrigerating your daily supply of coffee is not ideal because moisture will quickly deteriorate its quality. Instead, try these tips.

Keep It Airtight

Invest in an airtight ceramic, glass, or non-reactive metal container. If you buy coffee in large amounts, divide it between two containers, keeping the larger, unused portion airtight until it is needed.

Keep It Cool

Store your coffee in a dark, cool location away from the oven. Don't pick a cabinet on an outside wall if it gets a lot of sun during the day.

Purchase Smaller Quantities

Coffee loses its freshness quite quickly after it has been roasted. Buy fresh roasted coffee in amounts that will last one to two weeks to preserve its freshness and flavour.





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