Sweet Maria's Glossary


Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, or a coffee cultivar


Acaia is planted mainly in Brazil, an offspring of Mundo Novo cultivar.


The northernmost district in Sumatra, which is north of North Sumatra. Seriously...


A synonym for unpleasant sourness. This can result from fermentation problems in the coffee (Sours beans) or from brewing problems.

Acetic Acid

Acetic acid can lead to vinegar-like flavors in over-mature coffees, or bitterness, but in moderate amounts it adds a positive winey note.


Acidity is a positive flavor attribute in coffee, also referred to as brightness or liveliness. It adds a brilliance to the cup, whereas low acid coffees can seem flat.


Many acids contribute to coffee flavor: acetic, malic, citric, quinic, tartarric, phosphoric, etc.


A general negative flavor term, from defect bean, bad roast, or bad brewing: Unpleasantly sharp, astringent or bitter to the taste or smell.


A portable coffee brewer that makes a unique dense brew, somewhat similar to an Americano.

African Coffee

African coffee is known for its wild flavors, from bright Kenyas, to floral Ethiopia Yirgacheffes, to rustic, earthy Ethiopia Sidamos.

After-dinner Roast

A roast created specifically for coffee consumed after the final meal of the day


Commonly used in reference to wine, afternose compliments aftertaste, but refers to residual olifactry sensations after the coffee has left the palate.


Aftertaste refers to lingering residual sensations in the mouth after coffee has swallowed.

Aged Coffee

Aged coffee is not the same as old coffee. Aged coffee typically has very strong earthy flavors, and can be very pungent, leather or tobacco aromas and flavors.


science and study of crops and soils


A machine and a color matching system used for quality analysis generally in the food industry, and specifically in coffee


An important factor in coffee aromatics, partially formed in roasting by the interaction of fatty acids and oxygen

Alfred Peet

The founder of Peet's Coffee in Berkeley California, Alfred was known for reintroducing a dark roast style to the West Coast.


Dry and bittering flavors, usually in the aftertaste, caused by alkaline substances,


The height above sea level that a coffee is grown. Coffee grown at higher altitude is often considered better, though this is far from a rule.

Ambient Temperature

The temperature in a given room or space.


A coffee beverage made by combining espresso with hot water.


Anise seed is highly aromatic and has a flavor similar to fennel and licorice, used to flavor various foods and liquors


Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible for around 75% of the worlds commercial coffee crop.


Arabigo is a term seen in Latin America and refers to Typica cultivar


An interspecific hybrid of coffea arabica and coffea canephora (robusta).


Aroma refers to sensations perceived by the olfactory bulb and conveyed to the brain; whether through the nose or retro-nasally


The name of a cultivar from Tanzania, as well as a general trade name for Tanzania coffees from Mount Meru area


The term in Bahasa Indonesian for green coffee that is hulled, dried, and ready to sell to an exporter.


The smell or taste of ash, such as an ashtray, cigarette smoke, or fireplace. Often a roast defect.


A harsh flavor sensation, acrid flavor, that provokes a strong reaction. It can have dryness, saltiness, sourness and bitterness as components.


Ateng is a common name for Catimor coffees widely planted in Sumatra and other Indonesia isles.


Australian coffee bears resemblance in the cup to the soft, sweet Island Coffee flavor profile.


Backflushing is a process done to espresso machines to clean them, where water is forced back into the machine to flush out coffee residue.


The flavor of coffee that has been stored for too long, it has absorbed the flavor of whatever it has been stored in.


Under-developed flavors that result from long, low-heat roasting or a too-light roast level (before 1st crack is fully finished).


Suggests a harmony and proportion of qualities, and implies mildness since no one quality dominates.


Coffee from the Indonesian island of Bali was formerly sold exclusively to the Japanese market. Perhaps it is the changing face of world economics that finds the first exports of Balinese coffee arriving under exclusive contract in the U.S.

Basic Flavors

In the mouth sensations derived from the basic flavors: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, savory (umami).


A carefully weighed or measured amount of coffee for roasting.

Behmor Coffee Roaster

A drum roaster designed for home roasters, with variable batch sizes (from 1/4 pound to 1 pound) and a smoke-reduction system.


In Latin American countries, a wet mill is called a Beneficio, where fresh coffee cherries are brought for pulping, fermentation, and drying.


Bergamot Orange is the size of an orange, with a yellow color similar to a lemon, and has a pleasant fragrance. The juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than grapefruit.


Bergendal is an older Typica cultivar in Indonesia. It is a specific area in the Gayo area in Aceh near Takengon.


Bitter is one of four basic sapid (in the mouth) tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter. It has an essential role in coffee flavor, but is unpleasant in excess...


Borrowed from the language of chocolate, this refers to pleasant bittering compounds balanced by sweetness, and is usually a function of roast.

Black Bean

A coffee bean whose interior is totally back (endosperm), due to fungii, mold, yeast, pest.


Blackberry flavor in coffee sometimes relates to slightly more developed roast levels.

Blade Grinder

A coffee grinder that works by way of a high-speed rotating blade.

Blended Coffee

A blend is a mixture of coffees from multiple origins. Coffees are typically blended to produce a more balanced cup. Here at Sweet Maria's, almost all of the blends you'll see are made with espresso in mind.

Blue Mountain Cultivar

Named for the Jamaica coffee brand, a form of Typica


Body is sense of weight and thickness of the brew, its viscosity.


A high level of intensity, an aggressive flavor profile. We use it as the highest level of intensity in our coffee reviews.


Bolivia has always been a coffee origin with great potential, the potential to have a unique Specialty coffee offering with unique cup character.

Bottomless Portafilter

An espresso portafilter with the bottom machined off so the bottom of the filterbasket is exposed.


Along with Typica, a main arabica cultivar that was developed by the French on the island of Bourbon.

Bourbon Mayaguez

A Bourbon cultivar variant from Rwanda and Burundi.


Brazil is a coffee giant . As Frank Sinatra sang, they grow an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.

Brazil Coffee Grades

Brazil has it's own grading system based on the physical properties of green coffee and on flavor.


A dance, a beat, an error, an interruption ... or in coffee cupping, the breaking of the crust of floating grounds, part of aromatic evaluation

Brewed Coffee

Brewed Coffee refers to all coffee preparations produced by adding non-pressurized water to coffee grounds. This can be contrasted with espresso coffee, which is produced under pressure.


A euphemistic term we use often to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic notes.

Brown Sugar

In coffee, a sweetness characterized by a hint of molasses, yet quite refined as well.

Burlap Bags

Burlap bags are the traditional container in which coffee is transmitted. Burlap is cheap, but long storage in burlap bags may result in a characteristic baggy defect taste.


A defect flavor characterized by a lack of sweetness in the coffee, due to roasting problems.

Burr Grinder

A coffee grinder that grinds by passing a flow of beans between a pair of rotating metal discs.


Burundi coffee bears striking resemblence to neighboring Rwanda, in both cup character, but also the culture surrounding coffee. Burundi is a small landlocked country at the crossroads of East and Central Africa, straddling the crest of Nile-Congo watershed.


A mouthfeel description indicating thickness and creamyness. Can also be a flavor description.


An alkaloidal compound that has a physiological effect on humans, and a slight bittering flavor.


A standard volume measurement for coffee cherry used in Costa Rica.

Cane Sugar

In coffee cupping, a slight rustic sweetness, but without molasses-like flavors of brown sugar or raw sugar.


A defect term referring to oxidized unpleasantly sharp cheese flavor.


The Spanish-language term for Peaberry is the same for snail.


Caramel is a desirable form of sweetness found in the flavor and aroma of coffee, and is an extension of roast taste.


A reaction involving sugars that occurs during coffee roasting. A caramelized sugar is less sweet, but has greater complexity of flavor and aroma.

Carbon Dioxide Process

A decaffeination method where beans are placed in a liquid bath of highly-pressurized CO2.


A roast-related flavor term, referring to burnt flavors from dark roast levels


A coffee non-profit research organization in Costa Rica


A group of cultivars derived from HdT and Caturra cross, highly productive, sometimes with inferior cup flavor.


Catuai is a high-yield dwarf Arabica cultivar resulting from a cross of Mundo Novo and Yellow Caturra.


An Arabica cultivar discovered as a natural mutant of Bourbon in Brazil in 1937.


Coffee Berry Borer, a pest that burrows into the coffee seed, and a major problem in many coffee origins.


Cellulose is the main physical component of the coffee seed, its woody structural element.

Central American Coffee

Central American coffee is known for its classic, balanced profile.


Chaff is paper-like skin that comes off the coffee in the roasting process.


Channeling refers to the formation of small water jets during espresso brewing due to poorly distributed grounds.


Coffea charrieriana is a caffeine-free species from the Cameroon. Cup quality is unknown at this point.


A coffee that has a kitchy quality, or literally cheese-like flavors in the cup.

Chemex Coffee Brewer

A glass filter drip coffee brewer with an extended brew time.

Chemical Process

A decaffeination method where beans are soaked in hot water, which is then treated with a chemical that bonds to caffeine (either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate).


A delicious tropical fruit flavor found in some coffees from Central and South America


Either a flavor in the coffee, or referring to the fruit of the coffee tree, which somewhat resembles a red cherry.


Chicory was a popular coffee substitute and economizer for 2 centuries, back when coffee was more prized, and pure coffee was a luxury.


A tropical fruit found in Colombia, with complex tropical fruit flavors. Very aromatic.

Chlorogenic Acid

Chlorogenic acids are important to coffee flavor, contributing to flavor when in the proper balance and level.


A general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of chocolate. But what type? Usually described with more specifics.


A chop refers to the lot marks on the cloth (burlap jute or sisal) coffee bag

Citric Acid

A positive flavor acid in coffee, that often leads to the perception of citrus fruits and adds high notes to the cup.


Qualities in coffee that are reminiscent of a citrus fruit; orange, lemon, grapefruit, kumquat, etc.

City Roast

City roast is what we define as the earliest palatable stage that the roast process can be stopped and result in good coffee flavors. City roast occurs roughly between 415 and 425 Fahrenheit.