Glossary

All the coffee terms in one place

General coffee knowlehge

Coffee varieties are the diverse subspecies derived through selective breeding or natural selection of coffee plants. While there is tremendous variability encountered in both wild and cultivated coffee plants, there are a few varieties and cultivars that are commercially important due to various unique and inherent traits such as disease resistance and fruit yield. These unique traits are what producers use to select breeds when developing crops. Therefore, at a micro level, breed selection is critical to the success of a producer and is one of the key components of cup quality.

What is a coffee?

Coffee

Coffee are the diverse subspecies derived through selective breeding or natural selection of coffee plants. While there is tremendous variability encountered in both wild and cultivated coffee plants, there are a few varieties and cultivars that are commercially important due to various unique and inherent traits such as disease resistance and fruit yield. These unique traits are what producers use to select breeds when developing crops. Therefore, at a micro level, breed selection is critical to the success of a producer and is one of the key components of cup quality.

Coffee variety

the diverse subspecies derived through selective breeding or natural selection of coffee plants. While there is tremendous variability encountered in both wild and cultivated coffee plants, there are a few varieties and cultivars that are commercially important due to various unique and inherent traits such as disease resistance and fruit yield. These unique traits are what producers use to select breeds when developing crops. Therefore, at a micro level, breed selection is critical to the success of a producer and is one of the key components of cup quality.

Green Coffee

Term used to describe not yet roasted coffee, so-called for its green colour.

Coffee Bean

Originally bred by the Colombian coffee research institute, Cenicafé, from Caturra and Timor Hybrid varieties for resistance to leaf rust, Castillo also benefits from high yields and good cup quality, making it the predominant variety grown in Colombia today. The name Castillo actually refers to a number of different forms of the variety, each tailored to a different regional climate in Colombia. This diversity has helped facilitate continued rust resistance.

Coffee Cherry

The fruit surrounding the seed (coffee bean), which most often ripens red and resembles a cherry.

Castillo

Originally bred by the Colombian coffee research institute, Cenicafé, from Caturra and Timor Hybrid varieties for resistance to leaf rust, Castillo also benefits from high yields and good cup quality, making it the predominant variety grown in Colombia today. The name Castillo actually refers to a number of different forms of the variety, each tailored to a different regional climate in Colombia. This diversity has helped facilitate continued rust resistance.

Castillo

Originally bred by the Colombian coffee research institute, Cenicafé, from Caturra and Timor Hybrid varieties for resistance to leaf rust, Castillo also benefits from high yields and good cup quality, making it the predominant variety grown in Colombia today. The name Castillo actually refers to a number of different forms of the variety, each tailored to a different regional climate in Colombia. This diversity has helped facilitate continued rust resistance.

Coffee Sourcing

Coffee varieties are the diverse subspecies derived through selective breeding or natural selection of coffee plants. While there is tremendous variability encountered in both wild and cultivated coffee plants, there are a few varieties and cultivars that are commercially important due to various unique and inherent traits such as disease resistance and fruit yield. These unique traits are what producers use to select breeds when developing crops. Therefore, at a micro level, breed selection is critical to the success of a producer and is one of the key components of cup quality.

Coffee Sourcing

Importer

Coffee importers play a key role in the supply chain, connecting producers with international buyers. They identify, source and purchase green coffee which they then sell to coffee roasters. They provide shipping, logistics and customs expertise and perform crucial cupping (coffee tasting) along the way. They help support farmers and roasters at the same time by assuming risk and buying in quantities that most small and medium sized roasters can’t afford to do on their own.

Co-op

An association of coffee farmers that work together and pool resources for more opportunities, better marketing, and market availability than any one farmer can get. Generally, co-op members pay a fee that is reinvested into the local coffee community through education, technical assistance, provision of loans and much more.

Smallholder

Most coffee farmers around the world are not large landowners or run big estates. Rather, they produce coffee on small plots of land where they also make their homes. Smallholders is a term you will see frequently when buying East African coffee, where transparency usually only gets as micro as the mill level. In these scenarios, smallholders deliver and sell their cherry to a local mill, which then goes on to process and sell the coffee onward.

In other cases, often in Central and South America, we may have more transparency info and see the producer’s name. In many cases, these producers can still be considered a smallholder and grow coffee on a few hectares of land.

FOB

Pricing transparency info that is seen frequently on roaster websites. Free on Board, the price charged by the exporter to the importer. While a high FOB price, with decent margins is necessary for an exporter to be able to pay fair prices to producers, FOB itself does not necessarily tell us anything about how much money a producer earned for their coffee. The exception here would be if the producer was selling FOB, directly to a roaster. In this rare circumstance, the producer would also own and operate importing and exporting entities.

Farm Gate

Farm Gate

The price paid to the producer, by an exporter, co-op or other intermediary  for parchment coffee.

It is very common to see this price expressed in US dollars, however in most cases producers are not being paid in USD, but rather in local currency. Therefore, it is important to understand how this USD amount was derived.

  • literal or derivative? Often expressed in USD, but producers will usually receive payment in local currency. How is this exchange calculated? Obviously changes from day to day
  • Decoding the Farm Gate Price

Coffee Proccesing

Before coffee can be stored, shipped internationally, and roasted, the seed itself needs to be separated from the coffee cherry. There are many different ways - or processing methods - of doing so. The processing method chosen is often influenced by financial feasibility, regional tradition, climate, and availability or lack thereof of water. 

It is important to note that when we read processing names like washed, or natural attached to any given coffee, that this refers in a broad sense to how the coffee was processed. In reality, the specifics of the process differs from region to region, mill to mill, and producer to producer. So, while any natural may have been dried with the cherry intact there many other variables decided on and controlled by the processor like: temperature, how cherries are laid out, if and how long they are covered, how often they are turned over and much more.

General Coffee Proccesing Terms

Coffee Proccesing

Before coffee can be stored, shipped internationally, and roasted, the seed itself needs to be separated from the coffee cherry. There are many different ways - or processing methods - of doing so. The processing method chosen is often influenced by financial feasibility, regional tradition, climate, and availability or lack thereof of water. 

It is important to note that when we read processing names like washed, or natural attached to any given coffee, that this refers in a broad sense to how the coffee was processed. In reality, the specifics of the process differs from region to region, mill to mill, and producer to producer. So, while any natural may have been dried with the cherry intact there many other variables decided on and controlled by the processor like: temperature, how cherries are laid out, if and how long they are covered, how often they are turned over and much more.

Washed

Washed process coffee is the most prevalent processing method seen in specialty coffee. As you may have guessed from the name, this process involves the use of a lot of water. First, the coffee cherries are floated in a water tank. The unripe and defective cherries float to the top of the tank and are then removed. Next, the coffee is mechanically de-pulped before being moved to a fermentation tank. Fermentation takes place in all processing methods (in fact, it                                                       

starts as soon as the cherry is picked) but in the washed method it is controlled in a tank for pre-deterined period of time. During this fermentation phase, any of the remaining mucilage is removed. After fermentation, the coffee is washed (rinsed) before being spread out to dry.

Natural

The natural or dry process is the original method for processing coffee. It originated in and is still widely utilized in Ethiopia. It is straightforward nut labour intensive method of processing when there is little in the way of processing infrastructure or water available. After being picked, weighed and accounted for, the coffee cherries are placed directly on raised drying beds with all the fruit still intact. From here, the coffee ferments and dries until there is no more fuel left within the cherry to metabolize. During drying, the cherries have to be methodically and meticulously turned over on a regular basis to ensure even air exposure and to avoid any mould growth. Once this process is complete, the dried cherry is separated from the seed.

Honey

Pricing transparency info that is seen frequently on roaster websites. Free on Board, the price charged by the exporter to the importer. While a high FOB price, with decent margins is necessary for an exporter to be able to pay fair prices to producers, FOB itself does not necessarily tell us anything about how much money a producer earned for their coffee. The exception here would be if the producer was selling FOB, directly to a roaster. In this rare circumstance, the producer would also own and operate importing and exporting entities.

Anaerobic

Farm Gate

The price paid to the producer, by an exporter, co-op or other intermediary  for parchment coffee.

It is very common to see this price expressed in US dollars, however in most cases producers are not being paid in USD, but rather in local currency. Therefore, it is important to understand how this USD amount was derived.

  • literal or derivative? Often expressed in USD, but producers will usually receive payment in local currency. How is this exchange calculated? Obviously changes from day to day
  • Decoding the Farm Gate Price

Coffee Roasting

Before coffee can be stored, shipped internationally, and roasted, the seed itself needs to be separated from the coffee cherry. There are many different ways - or processing methods - of doing so. The processing method chosen is often influenced by financial feasibility, regional tradition, climate, and availability or lack thereof of water. 

It is important to note that when we read processing names like washed, or natural attached to any given coffee, that this refers in a broad sense to how the coffee was processed. In reality, the specifics of the process differs from region to region, mill to mill, and producer to producer. So, while any natural may have been dried with the cherry intact there many other variables decided on and controlled by the processor like: temperature, how cherries are laid out, if and how long they are covered, how often they are turned over and much more.

General Coffee Roasting Terms

Coffee Proccesing

Before coffee can be stored, shipped internationally, and roasted, the seed itself needs to be separated from the coffee cherry. There are many different ways - or processing methods - of doing so. The processing method chosen is often influenced by financial feasibility, regional tradition, climate, and availability or lack thereof of water. 

It is important to note that when we read processing names like washed, or natural attached to any given coffee, that this refers in a broad sense to how the coffee was processed. In reality, the specifics of the process differs from region to region, mill to mill, and producer to producer. So, while any natural may have been dried with the cherry intact there many other variables decided on and controlled by the processor like: temperature, how cherries are laid out, if and how long they are covered, how often they are turned over and much more.

Washed

Washed process coffee is the most prevalent processing method seen in specialty coffee. As you may have guessed from the name, this process involves the use of a lot of water. First, the coffee cherries are floated in a water tank. The unripe and defective cherries float to the top of the tank and are then removed. Next, the coffee is mechanically de-pulped before being moved to a fermentation tank. Fermentation takes place in all processing methods (in fact, it                                                       

starts as soon as the cherry is picked) but in the washed method it is controlled in a tank for pre-deterined period of time. During this fermentation phase, any of the remaining mucilage is removed. After fermentation, the coffee is washed (rinsed) before being spread out to dry.

Natural

The natural or dry process is the original method for processing coffee. It originated in and is still widely utilized in Ethiopia. It is straightforward nut labour intensive method of processing when there is little in the way of processing infrastructure or water available. After being picked, weighed and accounted for, the coffee cherries are placed directly on raised drying beds with all the fruit still intact. From here, the coffee ferments and dries until there is no more fuel left within the cherry to metabolize. During drying, the cherries have to be methodically and meticulously turned over on a regular basis to ensure even air exposure and to avoid any mould growth. Once this process is complete, the dried cherry is separated from the seed.

Honey

Pricing transparency info that is seen frequently on roaster websites. Free on Board, the price charged by the exporter to the importer. While a high FOB price, with decent margins is necessary for an exporter to be able to pay fair prices to producers, FOB itself does not necessarily tell us anything about how much money a producer earned for their coffee. The exception here would be if the producer was selling FOB, directly to a roaster. In this rare circumstance, the producer would also own and operate importing and exporting entities.

Anaerobic

Farm Gate

The price paid to the producer, by an exporter, co-op or other intermediary  for parchment coffee.

It is very common to see this price expressed in US dollars, however in most cases producers are not being paid in USD, but rather in local currency. Therefore, it is important to understand how this USD amount was derived.

  • literal or derivative? Often expressed in USD, but producers will usually receive payment in local currency. How is this exchange calculated? Obviously changes from day to day
  • Decoding the Farm Gate Price

Coffee Brewing

Before coffee can be stored, shipped internationally, and roasted, the seed itself needs to be separated from the coffee cherry. There are many different ways - or processing methods - of doing so. The processing method chosen is often influenced by financial feasibility, regional tradition, climate, and availability or lack thereof of water. 

It is important to note that when we read processing names like washed, or natural attached to any given coffee, that this refers in a broad sense to how the coffee was processed. In reality, the specifics of the process differs from region to region, mill to mill, and producer to producer. So, while any natural may have been dried with the cherry intact there many other variables decided on and controlled by the processor like: temperature, how cherries are laid out, if and how long they are covered, how often they are turned over and much more.

Coffee Brewing Terms

Coffee Proccesing

Before coffee can be stored, shipped internationally, and roasted, the seed itself needs to be separated from the coffee cherry. There are many different ways - or processing methods - of doing so. The processing method chosen is often influenced by financial feasibility, regional tradition, climate, and availability or lack thereof of water. 

It is important to note that when we read processing names like washed, or natural attached to any given coffee, that this refers in a broad sense to how the coffee was processed. In reality, the specifics of the process differs from region to region, mill to mill, and producer to producer. So, while any natural may have been dried with the cherry intact there many other variables decided on and controlled by the processor like: temperature, how cherries are laid out, if and how long they are covered, how often they are turned over and much more.

Washed

Washed process coffee is the most prevalent processing method seen in specialty coffee. As you may have guessed from the name, this process involves the use of a lot of water. First, the coffee cherries are floated in a water tank. The unripe and defective cherries float to the top of the tank and are then removed. Next, the coffee is mechanically de-pulped before being moved to a fermentation tank. Fermentation takes place in all processing methods (in fact, it                                                       

starts as soon as the cherry is picked) but in the washed method it is controlled in a tank for pre-deterined period of time. During this fermentation phase, any of the remaining mucilage is removed. After fermentation, the coffee is washed (rinsed) before being spread out to dry.

Natural

The natural or dry process is the original method for processing coffee. It originated in and is still widely utilized in Ethiopia. It is straightforward nut labour intensive method of processing when there is little in the way of processing infrastructure or water available. After being picked, weighed and accounted for, the coffee cherries are placed directly on raised drying beds with all the fruit still intact. From here, the coffee ferments and dries until there is no more fuel left within the cherry to metabolize. During drying, the cherries have to be methodically and meticulously turned over on a regular basis to ensure even air exposure and to avoid any mould growth. Once this process is complete, the dried cherry is separated from the seed.

Honey

Pricing transparency info that is seen frequently on roaster websites. Free on Board, the price charged by the exporter to the importer. While a high FOB price, with decent margins is necessary for an exporter to be able to pay fair prices to producers, FOB itself does not necessarily tell us anything about how much money a producer earned for their coffee. The exception here would be if the producer was selling FOB, directly to a roaster. In this rare circumstance, the producer would also own and operate importing and exporting entities.

Anaerobic

Farm Gate

The price paid to the producer, by an exporter, co-op or other intermediary  for parchment coffee.

It is very common to see this price expressed in US dollars, however in most cases producers are not being paid in USD, but rather in local currency. Therefore, it is important to understand how this USD amount was derived.

  • literal or derivative? Often expressed in USD, but producers will usually receive payment in local currency. How is this exchange calculated? Obviously changes from day to day
  • Decoding the Farm Gate Price