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Coffee Glossary



Integral to a great cup of coffee. A broad terms describing the brightness/sweetness of a coffee.

Versatile brewing method for coffee. We offer an Aeropress along with one of our award-winning coffees.

To fiddle with the brew; mixing water and coffee.

A reference point for how dark or lightly roasted your coffee is.

A general rule of thumb for coffee… the higher the altitude the better; but it is not a given. Ideally, Arabica is grown above 1000m.

The most widely grown species of coffee plant it should not be taken a aa guarantee of quality. Some Arabica can trace their roost back to the highlands of Ethiopia.

A professional coffee maker.

The basket refers to the part during the creation of espresso that holds the ground coffee. The shot of espresso is created under pressure. The baskets can vary in size depending upon the side of the shot ranging from 8 to 16g.

This refers to an automatic machine that generates a cup of coffee from the press of a button. You can find examples of bean to cup machines on our wholesale pages.

The term denoting a mix of coffee beans that delivers a specific drink flavour that the roaster desires to create. Increasingly rare these days as people prefer single-origin coffees.

The term for the release of CO2 when water is initially mixed with the coffee grounds when producing a drink.

Coffee trees are flowering species the plant is self-pollenating, the flowering precedes the forming of the fruit.

How big and heavy a coffee feels in your mouth.

A coffee variety first grown on the island  of Reunion it is an incredibly popular plant and has many mutations which are grown in coffee regions.

The largest grower and producer of coffee in the world. For a taste of a Brazilian speciality, we highly recommend our Brazil Santos coffee.

The ratio of coffee to water when brewing coffee.

The coffee commodity market, which trades Arabica coffee in US dollars. A frost in Brazil can push prices up as the worry is less coffee will be produced.

The stimulating effect of coffee is down to caffeine. In the coffee plant itself, it acts as a natural insecticide so that the plant can protect itself from insects.

An iconic, Viennese drink where the name refers to the brown robes of a Capucin monk. It is a mix of foamed milk and a shot of Espresso as a base.

A method of containing ground coffee which can be brewed through a machine.

The dried coffee cherry from which we take the bean.

A type of arabica coffee plant.

Refers to the way water passes through a bed of coffee. The aim is to ensure there is even flow through the coffee.

Designed in the 1940s, it is a method of brewing coffee. Chemex papers have a bound, thicker gauge leading to a clean cup.

The brewing of coffee using cold water over a longer period of time and tends to deliver a different drink.

A diverse producer of a different quality of green beans.

A home of quality coffee and one of our all-time favourites Cerro Dragon.

Home of the first coffee shop in the mid-16th Century.

The layer of foam on top of a cup of Espresso or an Americano.

The method for grading and checking the quality of a batch of coffee.

Decaffeination takes place when the coffee is still green and normally achieved by two methods, water process or CO2. The water process method is used for our decaffeinated coffee of choice, the Mexican Water Processed Decaf.

Defers to the quality of green beans and defects in their appearance and formation.

This refers to the roasting process, specifically to the length of time after the first crack and is when the roaster believes the coffee will be most drinkable.

The amount of ground coffee required to produce a cup of coffee.

Traditional method of roasting coffee beans using a rotating drum over a flame.

Once the third-largest producer of coffee, but civil war has meant it now aims to produce more high-grade speciality coffees. For a taste of this country’s coffee, we recommend our Fairtrade El Salvadore. It is a medium to dark roast with honey-like sweetness and produces a creamy, buttery feel in the mouth.

An intense, highly concentrated coffee beverage of a short measure used as the base for most popular coffee drinks.

The birthplace of coffee.

For a truly amazing cup of coffee, we recommend the naturally processed Ethiopian Ana Suri Guji. Grown at altitudes of up to 2300m, the cherries mature slowly. The beans make for a clean tasting coffee with blueberry flavours and floral aromas.

The core concept of any brewing method or coffee making process.

Ensures producers receive a price at least equal to the cost of production. We offer a number of Fairtrade coffees in our range.

The Swedish term for a coffee and a cake or a coffee break.

A method of brewing coffee in which hot water is allowed to drip through the coffee to be collected below.

The point in roasting where the coffee bean is releasing energy and increasing in size as the moisture makes its escape.

The term given to the burrs in a grinder. A rotating blade which grinds the coffee.

Developed down under, this drink is essentially a double espresso topped with microfoam served in a 6oz Cup.

The terms for describing the taste of coffee using an internationally agreed set of terms.

The length of time water takes to pass through the coffee.

A classic and easy to use coffee brewer by adding grounds to a jug and using a mesh filter to drive the grounds to the bottom just before pouring.

We stock various-sized cafetières in the accessories section of our online shop.

A fetish for coffee equipment used for brewing coffee.

All terms referring to the perfect espresso pour in which you get the perfect espresso taste for the espresso blend, usually between 21 and 26 seconds.

The industry term for unroasted coffee beans.

The process of crushing the roasted coffee into smaller pieces.

The moving around of the grounds when they are placed in the porta filter to ensure an even spread.

A method of heating the water in an espresso machine.

The leaving of the mucilage on the green bean to influence the final taste of the roasted coffee.

The largest producer in Central America, although a late comer to the party. Why not try our Honduran dark roast HGEP?

The importing of coffee from growers either through a broker or direct from a grower or perhaps from a co-operative.

Those shops specializing in coffee who are not part of national chains.

Not something we here at John Watt believe in.

The birthplace of espresso and traditional espresso machines. We are partnered with Cimbali, Italy’s second-oldest machine manufacturer.

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is a high calibre coffee produced in a defined area. Made famous by James Bond and Ian Fleming.

One of the worlds biggest coffee importers.

The Arab Ethiopian who, in the ninth century, found his goats dancing in the south after eating coffee berries. After tasting them he took some to a local monastery where the monk, disapproving of the story, threw the cherries onto the fire. The aroma and crackling given off as they burned meant they raked the ashes and tried them again. The rest is history.

Civets are cat-like animals that like the taste of ripe coffee cherries. The indigestible beans pass through their digestive system and are collected and sold as civet coffee. The theory is the best cherries are eaten by wild civet cats and then digested and deposited on the forest floor. The reality is factory-farmed, caged animals forced to eat low-grade Arabica beans.

The term describing patterns on the top of your coffees.

A fungus that has a devastating effect on coffee plants. Originally from East Africa.

In the 16th century, became the ideal place to meet and arrange maritime insurance which grew to be Lloyds of London.

Similar to a tumble dryer but used for drying coffee.

Produces high-quality flavour profiles, although most make their way to the USA. The El Jaguar we roast, however, is a perfect example of a high-quality Mexican coffee that has escaped the USA.

The iconic brewing method invented in Italy by Luigi Du Ponti in 1933 which produces an espresso-style brew on a domestic stovetop.

The flesh of the coffee fruit that sticks to the parchment.

The coffee is placed in the basket of the porta filter without the base so the water flows through the basket into the cup.

The traditional method of processing with the cherry laid out to dry and the flesh and skin are only separated at the end of the drying process.

A producer of quality and a variety of Arabica beans. We won one of our 1st Great Taste awards with our Nicaraguan Roast.

The valve used to allow CO2 to escape the bag and prevents oxygen from entering the bag.

Where the coffee comes from. Where possible, we try to identify the washing station or the farm of origin.

Whilst oxygen is damaging to coffee during storage, we find that all coffee is like a fine red wine and benefits from some exposure to the air as the initial oxidation of the brew will improve the taste of a coffee. Don‘t take our word for it, try for yourself.

This is where only one seed is fertilised in the cherry and we get a more rounded bean as it hasn’t had to rub up against a twin in the cherry.

The means of brewing espresso in which pressure is used to force water through the coffee grinds forcing out the Co2 which produces the crema on top of the drink.

Help control the drying of the coffee by raising it off the ground.Help control the drying of the coffee by raising it off the ground.

A technical term for the change of temperature in the beans during the roasting process.A technical term for the change of temperature in the beans during the roasting process.

The time a bean is rested before drinking to allow the CO2 to escape so you get the optimum flavour. Each bean is different and the time is different. We never taste a coffee until it is at least 48 hours old.

The point at which the coffee cherry is ready for harvesting.

A grinder using rollers as opposed to burrs to grind coffee beans.

The covering on the bean that remains after the mucilage has been removed and which, during the roasting process, is released as chaff.

Used to collect the coffee after it has been tasted and expelled during the cupping process.

The art of warming the milk using the steam wand on a coffee machine. In an underpowered machine, the quality of the steam will affect the quality of the drink you receive as a customer.

There is no recognised guide to judge the strength of you coffee it is affected by the dose, how it is brewed and the roast, we believe you should experiment and find the taste profile you enjoy.

To us, it means biodegradable, environmentally-friendly, ethically sourced, sustainably grown… these are all terms that are ingrained into our ethos.

We at John Watt and Son care greatly about the environment. We strive to source our products ethically in a sustainable manner and for a fair price. Where possible we purchase products with the internationally recognised accreditations of Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and Ethical Tea Partnership.
In addition, we are actively increasing the number of products packaged in compostable materials and we use biodegradable coffee cups in our cafés.

The food that we provide is sourced locally, usually within a 50-mile radius of our outlets. Not only does this reduce our carbon footprint; but by using and promoting the products of local businesses and developing long-lasting relationships with these businesses, we create opportunity for the local supply chain.

The compressing of coffee in the basket to produce an espresso. An even press will aid the production of the perfect coffee.

Used to manage the process from farm to table. If at any point in this journey a temperature is missed or exceeded, this will have an effect on the quality of your drink.

The environmental conditions (soil, climate etc) that impart a unique character onto the coffee that grows there. Where and how the coffee fruit is grown, processed and transported will affect your drink. In this respect, coffee is no different to your favourite French wine.

A style of coffee using a very fine ground and brewed in a pot and which utilises no filter.

The largest consumer of coffee in the world. Finland consumes the most per person.

A method of brewing coffee developed by Hario in Japan. The swirled ridges help the water pass through the coffee as it is poured over the funnel.

The spice of life and there is no shortage of variety in coffee and tea and the fun is always in trying and finding the ones you enjoy. Why not try our subscription service to get a new and exciting coffee or tea delivered directly to your door each month?

Machines measuring the amount of water needed to brew the coffee. Espresso machines are the perfect example of how volume is key to the production of the Expresso.

The most popular method of removing the flesh from the cherries.

The elusive partner of coffee. Poor quality water will affect the quality of the drink and the water hardness will affect the quality of the drink.

Every barista’s tool for ensuring their dose of coffee is perfect for their method of brewing.