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Acidity - Usually, the pleasant tartness of a fine coffee. Acidity, along with flavor, aroma, and body, is one of the principal categories used by professional tasters in cupping, or sensory evaluation of coffee. When not used to describe cup characteristics, the term acidity may refer to pH, or literal acidity, or to certain constituents present in coffee that ostensibly produce indigestion or nervousness in some individuals.

Altura - "Heights" in Spanish; describes Mexico coffee that has been high- or mountain-grown.
Arabica, Coffea Arabica - The earliest cultivated species of coffee tree and still the most widely grown. It produces approximately 70% of the world's coffee, and is dramatically superior in cup quality to the other principal commercial coffee species, Coffea canephora or Robusta . All fine, specialty, and fancy coffees come from Coffea arabica trees.
Aroma - The fragrance produced by hot, freshly brewed coffee. Aroma, along with flavor, acidity, and body, is one of the principal categories used by professional tasters in cupping, or sensory evaluation of coffee.
Bird Friendly - Term associated with Shade-Grown coffee. Describes coffee grown under a shade canopy. Arabica coffee is traditionally grown in shade in many (but not all) parts of Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela, and in some other parts of the world, including India and some regions of Indonesia and Africa. Elsewhere arabica coffee is traditionally grown in full sun, or near full sun. The importance of maintaining shade canopies to supply habitat for migrating song birds in Central America has led to a controversial campaign by researchers at the Smithsonian Institute and their supporters to define "shade grown" in rather narrow terms (shade provided by mixed native trees) and label coffees grown under such a native canopy as "bird friendly." Farmers who traditionally have not grown coffee in shade but maintain extensive forest reserves on their land understandably object to the concept, as do those who use non-native trees to shade their coffee. On the other hand, shade grown coffees most definitely are much easier on the environment than sun grown coffees, and the better tasting traditional varieties of arabica, bourbon and typica, are, in Central America at least, best grown in shade.
Body - The sensation of heaviness, richness, or thickness and associated texture when one tastes coffee. Body, along with flavor, acidity, and aroma, is one of the principal categories used by professional tasters cupping, or sensory evaluation of coffee.
Bourbon - A botanical variety of Coffea arabica. Var. Bourbon first appeared on the island of Bourbon, now Réunion. Some of the best Latin-American coffees are from Bourbon stock.
Caffeine - An odorless, bitter alkaloid responsible for the stimulating effect of coffee and tea.
Chaff - Flakes of the innermost skin of the coffee fruit (the silverskin) that remain clinging to the green bean after processing and float free during roasting.
Cherry - Common term for the fruit of the coffee tree. Each cherry contains two regular coffee beans, or one peaberry.
Crema - The pale brown foam covering the surface of am espresso.
Cupping - Procedure used by professional tasters to perform sensory evaluation of samples of coffee beans. The beans are ground, water is poured over the grounds, and the liquid is tasted both hot and as it cools. The key evaluation characteristics are Aroma, Acidity, Body, and Flavor.
Defects - Unpleasant flavor characteristics caused by problems during picking, processing (fruit removal), drying, sorting, storage, or transportation. Common defects include: excess numbers of immature or under-ripe fruit (unselective picking); inadvertent fermentation (careless processing); fermentation combined with invasion by micro-organisms, causing moldy, hard, or rioy defects (careless or moisture-interrupted drying); and contact with excessive moisture after drying, causing musty or baggy defects (careless storage and transportation).
DP - Abbreviation for "double picked," meaning the coffee in question has been subjected to hand picking to remove imperfect beans, pebbles, and other foreign matter twice rather than once.
Dry Process Coffee - Removing the coffee husk after the cherry has dried. This is a slow process of approximately 20 days in the sun, 2 to 3 days in a mechanical dryer.
Estate-Grown Coffee - Coffee produced by a single farm, single mill, or single group of farms, and marketed without mixture with other coffees. Many specialty coffees are now identified by estate name, rather than the less specific regional or market name.
Excelso - A grade of Colombia coffee, combining the best, or supremo, and the second-best, or extra, grades.
Fair Traded Coffee - Coffee that has been purchased from farmers (usually peasant farmers) at a "fair" price as defined by international agencies. The extra paid these farmers under fair trade arrangements is extremely modest, by the way.
Flavored Coffees - Roasted coffee beans that have been mixed with flavoring agents.
Good Hard Bean - A grade of Costa Rica coffee grown at altitudes of 3,300 to 3,900 feet.
Green Coffee - Unroasted coffee.
Hard Bean - Term often used to describe coffees grown at relatively high altitudes; in the same context, coffees grown at lower altitudes are often designated Soft Bean. The higher altitudes and lower temperatures produce a slower maturing fruit and a harder, less porous bean. Hard bean coffees usually make a more acidy and more flavorful cup than do soft bean coffees, although there are many exceptions to this generalization. The hard bean/soft bean distinction is used most frequently in evaluating coffees of Central America, where it figures in grade descriptions.
High-Grown - Arabica coffees grown at altitudes over 3,000 feet, usually higher. Such coffees are generally superior to coffees grown at lower altitudes. The term high-grown is also used in many Latin American grade descriptions.
Mocha/Mocca - Single-origin coffee from Yemen; also a drink combining chocolate and (usually espresso) coffee. The coffee, also called Arabian Mocha, Yemen, or Yemen Mocha, takes its name from the ancient port of Mocha. It is the world's oldest cultivated coffee, distinguished by its distinctively rich, winy acidity and intriguing nuance. Coffee from the Harrar region of Ethiopia, which resembles Yemen coffee in cup-character, is also sometimes called Mocha.
New Crop - Coffee delivered for roasting soon after harvesting and processing. Coffees are at their brightest (or rawest) and most acidy in this state. Also see Old Crop.
Organic Coffee, Certified - Coffee that has been certified by a third-party agency as having been grown and processed without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or similar chemicals.
Peaberry - A small, round bean formed when only one seed, rather than the usual two, develops at the heart of the coffee fruit. Peaberry beans are often separated from normal beans and sold as a distinct grade of a given coffee. Typically, but not always, they produce a brighter, more acidy, but lighter-bodied cup than normal beans from the same crop.
Rainforest Alliance - "...inspectors have found that qualifying coffee farms and mills meet a wide variety of environmental criteria, including wildlife diversity, non-polluting practices, and responsible and limited use of agrochemicals, as well as social and economic criteria that support the welfare of farmers and workers." (Ken Davids, "Sustainable Coffees") Rainforest Alliance Website
Robusta - Currently the only significant competitor among cultivated coffee species to Coffea arabica. Robusta produces about 30% of the world's coffee. It is a lower-growing, higher-bearing tree that produces full-bodied but bland coffee of inferior cup quality and higher caffeine content than Coffea arabica. It is used as a basis for blends of instant coffee, and for less expensive blends of preground commercial coffee. It is not a factor in the specialty coffee trade except as a body-enhancing component in some Italian-style espresso blends. See also Coffea Arabica.
Shade Grown, "Bird Friendly" - Describes coffee grown under a shade canopy. Arabica coffee is traditionally grown in shade in many (but not all) parts of Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela, and in some other parts of the world, including India and some regions of Indonesia and Africa. Elsewhere arabica coffee is traditionally grown in full sun, or near full sun. The importance of maintaining shade canopies to supply habitat for migrating song birds in Central America has led to a controversial campaign by researchers at the Smithsonian Institute and their supporters to define "shade grown" in rather narrow terms (shade provided by mixed native trees) and label coffees grown under such a native canopy as "bird friendly." Farmers who traditionally have not grown coffee in shade but maintain extensive forest reserves on their land understandably object to the concept, as do those who use non-native trees to shade their coffee. On the other hand, shade grown coffees most definitely are much easier on the environment than sun grown coffees, and the better tasting traditional varieties of arabica, bourbon and typica, are, in Central America at least, best grown in shade.
SHB - Strictly Hard Bean. See "Hard Bean" above.
Silverskin - The thin, innermost skin of the coffee fruit. It clings to the dried coffee beans until it is either removed by polishing or floats free during roasting and becomes what roasters call chaff.
Specialty Coffee - Practice of selling coffees by country of origin, roast, flavoring, or special blend, rather than by brand or trademark. The term specialty coffee also suggests the trade and culture that has grown up around this merchandising practice.
Swiss Water Processed Decafe - The SWISS WATER® Process is a 100% chemical free coffee decaffeination process that results in great-tasting decaf. Most other processes use chemical solvents, like methylene chloride, to decaffeinate coffee beans. Conversely, the SWISS WATER® Process uses only water when removing caffeine, producing water processed decaf coffee. www.swisswater.com
Tisane - An herbal infusion or similar preparation drunk as a beverage or for its mildly medicinal effect.
Typica - A botanical variety of Coffea arabica. Var. typica is one of the oldest and most traditional of coffee varieties. Some of the best Latin-American coffees are from typica stock.
Wet-Processed Coffee First the cherry pulp is removed through pulpers flushed with water, then the coffee is placed in large water tanks to soak, allowing the outer mucilage to come off around the parchment. It is then dried in the sun on patios or in mechanical dryers depending on weather conditions of the country.