Yes, you probably drink coffee, but how much do you know about it? We started thinking about different coffee terms that we (in the coffee world) chalk up to everyday lingo. But, as we started asking those who are not so engulfed in the daily discussion of French Roasts and First Cracks, we realized many dedicated coffee-drinkers are not very well-versed in our jargon or coffee trivia.
After polling an undisclosed office of 30 or so hardworking coffee-drinkers, we found several common words/phrases that seemed to elicit the most confusion. For our coffee aficionados, please keep in mind that, although you may be aptly able to describe each in detail, these are what our findings revealed.
Now, before we give you all of the must-know terms, take the short quiz below to test your coffee knowledge!
How'd you do? Even if you missed a few, you should give yourself major coffee props because some of those weren't so easy!
In alphabetical order, for ample organization and to respect the privacy of the most challenging words/phrases, Royal Cup’s well-researched list of hard coffee definitions is as follows. Note: certain definitions have been put into layman’s terms so those with all levels of coffee knowledge can enjoy.
Aged | adjective |ˈā-jəd
When coffee is consumed after a significant amount of time has passed since the roast date. This isn’t always a negative, depending on the storage and specific type of roasted coffee beans.
Crema | noun | ˈkre-mə
Crema is a flavorful, tan-colored froth that sits on top of a freshly pulled shot of espresso. The Crema is easily noticeable, and is often used to determine the quality of the cup.
Cupping | verb | ˈkə-piŋ
Tasting the quality of coffee beans throughout each stage of the process, from origin to buying to roasting.
First Crack | noun | ˈfərst ˈkrak
This is the moment in time when coffee beans approach edibility. Coffee goes through two cracks (yes, these are actual, audible cracks) when roasting. It’s important to monitor the beans to determine when the first and second cracks are approaching.
French Roast | adjective | ˈfrench ˈrōst
Appropriately named for its regional roasting style, French Roast is commonly used to describe any dark-roasted coffee. It’s less acidic and very roasted in flavor, and often has a charred note.
Green (Bean) Coffee | noun |ˈgrēn ˈkȯ-fē
Many people don’t know that coffee is technically considered a fruit. Similar to fruit, when coffee beans are green, they are not at their prime taste. The green seeds of coffee cherries have been separated, but not yet roasted.
Honey-Processed | adjective | ˈhə-nē - ˈpräˌsesd
Coffee that is dried with the pulp of the cherry still on the exterior, most often associated with the country of Costa Rica. As you may have guessed, honey-processed cups can taste like honey has been added, even when it hasn’t.
Mouth-Feel | noun | ˈmau̇th - ˈfēl
The feel of the coffee between the tongue and roof of mouth. Examples include velvety, milky, creamy, watery and smooth.
Rounded | adjective | ˈrau̇n-dəd
When tasting, this is used to describe coffee with a good balance of acidity, sweetness, body and other qualities of the coffee. Think, “well-rounded”.
Shade-Grown | adjective |ˈshād - ˈgrōn
Coffee plants that are grown in a warm environment and under a canopy of trees. Interestingly, the types of shade and animal interferences can both impact the taste of this coffee.
Now that you’re well-equipped should you ever find yourself in a game of Trivial Pursuit – Coffee Edition – don’t forget to subscribe to our blog below and get all the latest coffee news, tips, events, recipes and more!