We know the whole coffee world can be a bit confusing to start with (anyone else feel the pressure when ordering a coffee?!) and nothing is more mind boggling than the coffee terminology. However fear not, we’ve put together a quick A-Z on the most commonly used coffee-lingo out there and exactly what they mean, so you can feel a bit more “in-the-know”.


ACIDITY Acidity is referred to in differed ways in coffee, such as a brightness, a tartness or a liveliness that carries the high notes of a flavour.  


BODY The perceived thickness, richness, or viscosity of brewed coffee. A full-bodied coffee is one with a heavy mouthfeel.


CHERRY The fruit of the coffee tree. Each cherry contains two coffee beans or one peaberry.


DARK ROAST Coffee beans roasted to a medium-dark colour and beyond; coffee oils appear on the surface of the beans and varietal flavours are muted.


EARTHINESS A taste characteristic found primarily in coffees from Sumatra and Sulawesi in which wet coffee has come into contact with earth during drying.


FINISH The sensory experience of coffee just as it is swallowed.


GROUP Located at the front of most espresso machines where the portafilter and filter sit.


HIGH-GROWN Arabica coffee grown at altitudes of 3,000 feet and beyond is usually  superior in taste quality to coffee grown downslope and is known as ‘high grown’.


ITALIAN ROAST Coffee is generally roasted dark brown in colour and is rich and bittersweet in flavour 


LATTE ART  Gone are the days when a simple heart will do on a cappuccino or flat white. Today there are even international latte art competitions for our most creative baristas. 


MONSOONED COFFEE Dry-processed, single-origin coffee from India deliberately exposed to monsoon winds in order to increase body and reduce acidity.


NATURAL COFFEE This refers to the oldest method of coffee processing when the whole cherry is left on tables to dry naturally in the sun.  


ORGANIC COFFEE 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.


QUAKERS Defective coffee beans that fail to roast properly, remaining pale in colour.


ROBUSTA One of two primary coffee beans in the world (the other one is Arabica) which is grown mainly in Indonesia and Africa and has a stronger flavour and twice the caffeine content of Arabica.


SPECIALITY COFFEE Speciality coffee is distinguished by the quality of its raw material and represents 10% of all coffee grown worldwide. 


TERROIR denotes the influence of geography, geology, and climate on the unique taste qualities of a coffee.


VARIETAL A term to describe a single predominant botanical variety of coffee tree, such as var. bourbon or var. typica. Often incorrectly used in the coffee world as denoting origin.


WASHED COFFEE A process that removes the skin and pulp from the bean while the coffee fruit is still fresh. Most of the world’s coffees are processed in this manner.


X FACTOR!  This is what you hope to have in order to set your coffee shop apart from everyone else.


YIELD An extraction yield measured as a percentage can be an indicator of acidity and bitterness in coffees.


ZAMBIA Often overlooked by the speciality coffee market, Zambia produces around 10,000 bags of excellent, bright floral coffee a year.