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Glossary of Terms

Acidity: High acid coffees have a sharp, pleasing, piquant quality that points up their flavor and gives them snap, verve, and liveliness in the cup. Acidity is characteristic of high-grown coffees.

Aspiration: Drawing coffee brew into mouth by vigorous suction and spraying it evenly across tongue.

Baked: A taste description given to underroasted coffee, or coffee roasted too slowly at too low a temperature so the flavor is undeveloped.

Blend: A mixture of two or more varietal coffees.

Body: The tactile impression of weight and texture in the mouth. Coffees may be watery, thin, slight, light, medium, full, heavy, thick, or syrupy in body, as well as buttery, oily, rich smooth or chewy in texture.

Bouquet: The total aromatic profile of a coffee brew.

Buttery: Said of an oily body or texture in the mouth. Denotes full flavor and richness.

Complexity: A tasting term describing coffees whose taste sensations shift and layer pleasurably, giving the impression of depth and resonance.

Crust: The bed of coffee particles that rise to the brew's surface when water is poured directly onto ground coffee.

Earthy: A dirt odor and flavor taint picked up by coffee when dried on the ground.

Finish: The aftertaste of a coffee.

Fruity: A flavor taint said to come from overripe fruit pulp.

Infusion: A brewing method in which coffee grounds steep in water for a pre-determined length of time.

Light: Used to qualify aroma, acidity or body. A light coffee is delicate in flavor.

Mellow: A term to describe a full, well-balanced coffee. Implies low or medium acidity.

Natural Coffee: Aroma and flavor characteristics of coffees processed by the dry method. They are often blander than washed coffees and may lack clarity of flavor and pointed acidity; some may have intense, complex flavors and full, thick body.

Rich: Indicates depth and complexity of flavor and full, buttery body.

Steep: To soak in hot water at a temperature just under the boiling point.

Varietal Coffee: An unblended coffee from a single country, region, and crop.

Viscosity: The resistance of internal flow in the brew because of oily material suspended in the fluid.

Winy: Sometimes used to indicate thick body and mellow quality, but also used to denote sappy, vinous acidity.