Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Vocabulary of Coffee

By: Benedict Neel

Aside from oil, coffee is the most widely traded commodity. We consume about 400 billion cups of coffee every year, and this consumption continues to grow. Like all popular commodities, coffee has its share of controversies.

Over the years, worldwide controversies have arisen over coffee. It has been called many expletives including "the drink of the devil", an evil brew and a beverage that causes men's impotence. On the other hand, literary masterpieces, national testaments and oratories have been created, medical advances have been made and huge business deals have changed the course of history, all over a cup of coffee. Of course, none of these advances were due to the coffee, but may well be indebted to it.

A cup of coffee is so much more than a humble beverage. For so many reasons, the world just loves its java.

Fine coffee, like wine, takes special preparation. Coffee is the antithesis of wine, but it requires the same amount of dedication, specialized processes and cultivation. Wine relaxes the body and tends to slow the mental processes. Coffee has quite an opposite effect. Coffee is calming, rather than intoxicating. It stimulates the senses, rather than dulling them. Someone once said that "It cheers the spirit without making one mad."

Coffee requires blending and brewing, along with various other preparations that go into creating wine and other excellent beverages. There is also an entire vocabulary associated with coffee. If you wish to be truly familiar with your friend "coffee", here are some of the terms that you must know:


Coffee is similar to carrots in its level of pH. The acidity in coffee contributes to its unique liveliness, brightness and color.


There are two main types of coffee: Robusta and Arabica. Coffee Arabica contains less caffeine, but grows at altitudes of 3,500 to 7,000 feet, so it's harder to cultivate. This type of coffee is more expensive but has a superior full bodied taste as compared to Robusta.

Bourbon is a variety of Arabica coffee that is grown in Africa. For some time, the cultivation of bourbon Arabica coffee was not seriously pursued, because although it has more character and taste, it does not yield as large a crop as the other Arabica varieties. However, our insatiable love affair with coffee has brought about increased cultivation and a rise in popularity.

Unique Blends

Blending coffee is much like artists mixing colors on their palettes. Coffee blenders take beans grown from various coffee growing regions, mix them to craft a taste that is special and cannot be achieved with coffee of single origin.

Body or Feel

The term "body" pertains to way the coffee feels when it's in the mouth. The body of the coffee may feel light, thin, delicate, syrupy or buttery.


This process is used to minimize the caffeine content of the coffee beans. Several processes can be utilized to remove the caffeine content. One is a method using chemicals, another makes use of a variety of water processes, while the third method uses carbon dioxide. In each of these decaffeinating processes, the chief concern is to preserve the natural flavor of the coffee bean.

Coffee Grades

This is a classification of the beans by their density and size. The highest grade is known as premium and is sold at a higher price.

Methods of Processing

The separation of the flesh from the bean. The two types of processing are the dry and washed processes. With dry processing, the cherries are spread across the ground to dry out in the sun. The beans are raked several times each day so that drying is even. After two to three weeks, the dried flesh cracks off of the bean. Dry processing produces an earthy flavor and a syrupy texture in your coffee.

Washed processing is a method of slicing the skin of the coffee beans and letting the beans stand until they begin to ferment, and the skins are easily washed off with water. The beans are then dried. This kind of washed processing retains the natural flavors in the coffee.

So now that you have a grasp of some of coffee's vocabulary, don't neglect to get your daily dose!

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About the Article Author

Author Benedict Neel loves writing for a variety of popular Internet magazines, on recreation and leisure and recreational leisure themes.

1 comment:

sasiraman said...

The first World Cup coffee on Glisan was instantly acclaimed for its beautiful artwork, calm surroundings and of course it offerings of great coffee and tea. The second, The Ecotrust Café is located amongst some of most environmentally responsible companies in the country.
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