There are so many coffee words out there.
From different brewing methods to different beans, drinks, flavor profiles, and even gadgets used for roasting or grinding.
So I wanted to come up with a fun way to share all the coffee words out there with you.
In my Etsy store, I have a Mommy and Me Coffee Alphabet Coloring Book.
It’s packed full of pages for both moms (or dads) and kids to color together.
And, everything relates to coffee in some way!
I’ll give you there’s a bit of a stretch when it comes to coffee words for letters like O, Q, and X, but almost everything in the coffee coloring book relates to coffee in some way.
When you purchase the Mommy and Me Coffee Alphabet Coloring Book you get a definitions list of all the words in the coloring book too!
This list of coffee words coincides with many of the coffee coloring book pages but includes even more words and definitions.
It is ever-growing and changing, but I hope it becomes a go-to reference for coffee words and definitions whenever you might need it!
Acidity – In coffee, acidity refers to the bright, tangy, and sharp flavor notes that are present in certain coffee beans. Acidity is caused by organic acids, such as malic, acetic, and citric acid, that are naturally present in coffee beans.
Aeropress – A manual coffee brewing device that uses air pressure to extract flavor from coffee grounds. It’s a popular method for making a smooth and rich cup of coffee.
Affogato – This is actually a dessert-style coffee that consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso. The espresso is poured over the ice cream, creating a creamy and sweet dessert with a bold coffee flavor.
Americano – A type of espresso-based coffee that is made by diluting one or more shots of espresso with hot water.
Arabica – A species of coffee plant known for its high quality and mild, sweet flavor. It is the most widely cultivated species of coffee and is native to the highlands of Ethiopia.
Aroma – The pleasant fragrance or smell that is characteristic of a particular type of coffee. It is an important aspect of the overall coffee-drinking experience, as it can greatly enhance the flavor and enjoyment of the beverage.
Barista – Someone who works at a coffee shop or cafe preparing and serving coffee.
Barrel Aged Coffee – Barrel aged coffee is exactly like it sounds: green coffee beans rolled in a barrel that was previously used for liquor or wine and then roasted using standard coffee roasting practices.
Beans – Coffee beans are the seeds of the Coffea plant. They are roasted and ground to create coffee. Coffee beans come in different varieties and are typically grown in countries with warm climates.
Blend – In coffee, a blend refers to a mixture of two or more different types of coffee beans that are combined to create a unique flavor profile. The beans may be from different regions or have different roast levels, and the goal is to create a balanced and complex taste.
Body – The term “body” refers to the texture and thickness of the coffee’s mouthfeel. It describes the sensation of the coffee in your mouth, from its weight and viscosity to its richness and smoothness.
Brazil – The top coffee-producing country in the world. Coffee plantations in Brazil cover approximately 27,000 square kilometers.
Breakfast – The meal people typically enjoy with a cup of coffee.
Caffeine – Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee and other plants. It is a psychoactive substance that can improve alertness and reduce fatigue. In coffee, the amount of caffeine can vary depending on the type of bean, roast, and brewing method used.
Cappuccino – A shot of espresso with equal portions of steamed and frothed milk. It is typically served in a small cup and often sprinkled with cocoa powder or cinnamon.
Cherry – The fruit that grows on coffee trees. It is a small, round, red, or yellow fruit that contains the coffee bean. The cherry is typically harvested when it is ripe and then processed to remove the bean for roasting and brewing.
Coffee – Coffee is a beverage made from roasted coffee beans. It is one of the most popular drinks in the world.
Cupping – A coffee-tasting method used by professionals to evaluate the aroma, flavor, and body of a coffee bean. It involves brewing coffee using precise measurements and techniques to ensure consistency and accuracy in the evaluation process.
Dark Roast – Dark roast is a coffee roasting process where the beans are roasted for a longer time at a higher temperature, resulting in a darker color, oilier surface, and a more pronounced bitter taste.
Decaf (or Decaffeinated) – Decaf coffee is coffee that has had most of its caffeine removed. It is a good option for those who want to avoid the stimulating effects of caffeine but still enjoy the taste of coffee. My favorite decaf coffee is The Daydreamer, No Caffeine option from Explorer Cold Brew.
Drip Method – A method of coffee brewing that involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans that are placed in a filter. As the water passes through the coffee grounds, it extracts flavor and oils and drips into a container below. This method is one of the most popular and convenient ways to make coffee at home or in cafes.
Eggs – In the context of coffee, “eggs” refer to eggshells that are used in a traditional coffee-making method called “egg coffee.” In this method, eggshells are mixed with coffee grounds and boiling water, which is said to reduce the bitterness of the coffee and make it smoother.
Espresso – A concentrated coffee beverage made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure. It is typically served in small portions and has a strong, bold flavor.
Fair-Trade Coffee – A type of coffee that is produced and traded under a set of standards designed to ensure that the farmers who grow and harvest the coffee receive fair compensation for their work. These standards also aim to promote sustainable farming practices and improve the social and economic conditions of coffee-producing communities.
Filter – A paper or mesh cone, cylinder, or basket that is used to separate the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee. It is placed in a coffee maker or dripper and allows the liquid to pass through while holding the coffee grounds.
Flat White – Flat white coffee is a type of espresso-based drink that originated in Australia and New Zealand. It is made by combining a double shot of espresso with steamed milk, typically served in a smaller cup than a latte or cappuccino. The milk is steamed to create a microfoam texture, giving the drink a velvety smoothness.
French Press – A coffee brewing device that is sometimes called a press pot or plunger pot. It consists of a cylindrical glass or stainless steel container with a plunger and a mesh filter. Hot water and coffee grounds are added to the container, and then the plunger is pressed down to separate the grounds from the liquid. This results in a rich and flavorful cup of coffee.
Geisha – Geisha coffee is a rare and highly prized coffee variety that originated from the Gesha village in Ethiopia. Known for its unique flavor profile, Geisha coffee is considered one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world.
Grande – While this word actually means large in Italian, at Starbucks a grande drink is typically associated with being a medium.
Green Coffee – Unroasted coffee beans.
Grinder – A machine used to grind whole coffee beans into a coarse ground or fine powder. Typically grinders have a hopper, a burr or blade mechanism, and a container for the ground coffee.
Hario V60 – The Hario V60 is a popular pour-over coffee brewing device that uses a conical filter and allows for precise control over the brewing process. It’s known for producing a clean and flavorful cup of coffee.
Honey – A term used in coffee to describe a processing method where the coffee beans are partially washed, leaving some of the fruit and mucilage intact during drying. This can result in a unique, sweet flavor profile in the final brewed coffee.
Hulling – The process in coffee production that involves removing the outer layer, known as the hull, from the coffee bean. This is done to reveal the inner layer of the bean, which is then roasted and brewed to make coffee.
Ice – A solid form of water that is used for iced coffee (see below).
Iced Coffee – A type of coffee beverage served cold and typically over ice.
Irish Coffee – A coffee cocktail that includes hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream. It is typically warm.
Jamaica – Jamaica makes some excellent coffee, including the Jamaica Blue Mountain which is a highly sought-after coffee found only in the Blue Mountain District of Jamaica.
Java – Another word for coffee, java actually refers to coffee that comes from the island of Java, Indonesia. It is known for its slightly spicy and earthy flavor that has a heavy body and low acidity.
Kona Coffee – From the Kona coast on the Island of Hawaii, this is a specific type of single-origin coffee.
Kopi Susu – An coffee beverage that is made by mixing coffee with sweetened condensed milk.
Latte – A coffee-based drink made with espresso and steamed milk. It is then topped with a layer of frothed milk.
Light Roast – A coffee roast level that is characterized by its light brown color and mild flavor. The beans are roasted for a shorter period of time, resulting in a less intense taste and retaining more of the coffee’s original flavors and acidity.
Macchiato – Another espresso-based drink that actually originated in Italy. Typically a macchiato has one or two shots of espresso and is then topped with a small amount of steamed milk and foam.
Medium Roast – Another coffee roast level in which the beans have been roasted to a medium brown color. Medium roasts are the most common/popular type of roast in the United States specifically.
Mocha – A chocolatey coffee drink that is a blend of coffee, hot chocolate, and steamed milk.
Mug – A type of cup you put your coffee in so you can drink it.
New Orleans Coffee – Coffee from New Orleans is often distinct in that it is often a dark roast coffee blended with ground chicory root.
Nitro Cold Brew – A type of cold coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas, resulting in a smooth and creamy texture with a frothy head similar to a Guinness beer. The nitrogen bubbles also enhance the coffee’s natural sweetness and reduce its acidity.
Orange – A citrus fruit. Oranges and orange flavoring can be used in coffee blends to make a unique roast. Additionally, the combination of orange juice and coffee is one of those weird things that actually work!
Organic Coffee – Coffee that has been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is cultivated using natural methods, such as composting, crop rotation, and biological pest control. Organic coffee is typically considered to be healthier for both the consumer and the environment.
Peaberry – A type of coffee bean that occurs when only one seed, rather than the usual two, develops within the coffee cherry. This results in a smaller, more rounded bean that is said to have a more concentrated flavor and aroma than regular coffee beans.
Pour-Over Coffee – A brewing method in which hot water is poured over ground coffee beans placed in a filter, allowing the water to drip through and extract the coffee’s flavor and aroma. It is a simple and popular way to make coffee that produces a clean and flavorful cup.
Pull – Refers to the process of extracting espresso shots from an espresso machine. The term is often used interchangeably with “shot” or “pulling a shot.”
Pumpkin – A large round fruit (yes pumpkin is a fruit!) with a smooth orange, yellow, or white skin and many seeds inside. It is commonly used in cooking and is a popular decoration during the autumn season, particularly for Halloween.
Pumpkin Spice Latte – AKA the PSL if you are in the know with Starbucks. This is a popular, seasonal coffee-based beverage that typically contains espresso, steamed milk, pumpkin pie-flavored syrup, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. It is often topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
Quaker – An underdeveloped or unroasted coffee bean (think like a coffee defect). The beans are lighter in color and can even have a sour taste when brewed. These types of beans are generally removed before roasting to ensure a better quality coffee.
Quality – A term used in defining the superiority or poorness of coffee.
RAF Coffee – A type of coffee drink that stands for “Ristretto, Americano, and Foamed milk.” It is made by combining a shot of ristretto (a type of espresso with less water), an equal amount of hot water, and then topped with foamed milk.
Redeye – Sometimes referred to as a “shot in the dark,” a redeye is a type of coffee drink made by adding a shot of espresso to a cup of regular drip coffee.
Roast/Roasting – The process of heating green coffee beans and transforming them into the brown beans used to make coffee. During the roasting process, the beans undergo chemical changes that affect their flavor, aroma, and color. Roasts can range anywhere from light to dark.
Robusta – A type of coffee bean that comes from the Coffea plant. Robusta beans are not as superior in taste as arabica beans, but they do have more caffeine.
Scale – In coffee words, “scale” refers to a tool used to measure the weight of coffee beans or grounds for precise brewing. It helps to ensure consistency in the strength and flavor of the coffee.
Short – An 8oz size available at Starbucks. Perfect for little hands to hold little cups of hot chocolate in my opinion.
Single-Origin Coffee – Single-origin coffee is a type of coffee that is sourced from a single geographic region or farm, rather than being a blend of beans from different locations.
Specialty Coffee – Specialty coffee refers to high-quality coffee beans that are grown in specific microclimates, carefully selected, and roasted to highlight their unique flavors and characteristics. These beans are typically sourced from small-scale farmers and roasted by artisanal roasters. The term “specialty” is used to distinguish these high-quality coffees from mass-produced, lower-quality coffees.
Sugar – A common sweetener added to coffee to enhance its flavor.
Syrup – A flavored liquid that is added to coffee to enhance its taste. It usually contains sugar or a sugar substitute, along with various flavors such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut.
Tall – Another beverage size at Starbucks. Tall drinks are typically considered “small” and hold 12oz.
Trenta – Another Starbucks size that many don’t even know exists! It’s only available for iced drinks (but not all iced drinks…you can’t get iced espresso beverages or frappuccinos in this size). In Italian, trenta means thirty and this size is 30oz cup.
Turkish Coffee – A method of preparing coffee where finely ground coffee beans are boiled in a pot called a cezve, often with sugar, and served unfiltered. It is a traditional method of brewing coffee in Turkey and other parts of the Middle East and is known for its strong, rich flavor and thick, frothy texture.
Unbalanced – A term you might use to describe coffee during a coffee tasting if one flavor profile overpowers another.
Uganda – Ranked in the top 10 coffee-producing countries worldwide, Uganda falls at number 8.
Vacuum Coffee – Also known as a siphon, is a method of brewing coffee using two chambers and a filter. The process involves heating water in the bottom chamber, which creates vapor pressure that forces hot water through coffee grounds in the upper chamber. The resulting brewed coffee then flows back down into the bottom chamber due to the decrease in vapor pressure.
Venti – In Italian, venti means twenty. And at Starbucks, a venti is 20oz (well a hot venti is). Fun fact, if you order a venti iced/cold beverage the cup size is 24oz to make room for ice!
Vietnam – The second largest coffee-producing country in the world. Vietnamese coffee is often stronger than most standard coffees because of the use of robusta beans over arabica beans which stand up better against the condensed milk many people in Vietnam add to their coffee.
Washed Coffee – Also called wet coffee processing, this is a method of preparing the coffee beans (removing the skin and pulp) while the coffee fruit is still wet. This is the process most of the world uses to produce coffee beans.
White Coffee – Coffee that is roasted at a lower temperature and pulled from the roasting process just before the first crack of a bean. White coffee is kinda like a light roast, but lighter than a light roast.
Whole-Bean Coffee – Coffee beans that are roasted, but not ground. Typically whole-bean coffee keeps longer than ground coffee.
Technically there aren’t any coffee words that start with X, so this is the best I came up with. My toddler has a toy that says, “X is the letter found at the end of the word ox.” So clearly it’s just a problem in general that not a lot of words in English start with X.
Cafe X – A robotic coffee bar (seriously, check it out).
ChemeX – Chemex is a brand and is a manual pour-over style glass coffeemaker. It’s different from other pour-overs because it uses a more coarse grind. Other pour-over coffees use a finer grind.
Yauco – Yauco is a town in Puerto Rico that is known as a hub in the Puerto Rican coffee industry. It’s often called the “Coffee Town.” Yauco coffee is a specialty origin coffee.
Yemen – A country in the Middle East that produces coffee. Yemeni coffee is known for its unique flavor profile, with notes of spice and fruit, and is still produced using traditional methods such as dry processing.
Zambia – Located in south-central Africa, Zambia is one of many African countries that produce coffee. Although not a major producer of coffee, high-quality Arabica beans are found in the northern region of the country.
Zebra – There is a coffee blend known as “Zebra Coffee” which is a mixture of light and dark roasted beans, resulting in a striped appearance similar to that of a zebra.
Zimbabwe – A country in Africa that has a small coffee industry. Coffee produced in Zimbabwe is known for its unique flavor profile that includes notes of citrus and blackberry. Coffee production has sadly declined in recent years due to both economic and political challenges in the country.
There are so many coffee words and ways you can learn about coffee.
It’s always fun to explore and know more about your favorite beverage too!
This coffee alphabet list will grow and change over time, but I hope it becomes a resource for you.
If you are ever wondering what a coffee term means or how to make your favorite beverage in a new and exciting way, start here!
13 thoughts on “Coffee A to Z: A Guide to Coffee Words and Definitions”
I wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation for your informative and engaging article, “Coffee A to Z: A Guide to Coffee Words and Definitions.” As a coffee lover, I found your comprehensive guide to be an invaluable resource that not only deepened my knowledge of coffee but also piqued my curiosity to learn more.
Your writing style is engaging and easy to follow, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced coffee drinkers. I particularly appreciated the way you organized the information alphabetically, which made it easy to navigate and find the information I was looking for.
Thank you for taking the time to create such a high-quality resource for coffee enthusiasts like myself. Your passion for coffee shines through in every word, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.
Such a fun post! Also makes me want another cup of coffee. Never knew there was a Zebra roast.
I just love these types of lists and it’s high-time someone made a coffee-themed glossary! Even though I’m a long-time coffee drinker, I sometimes get a little overwhelmed by all the different options, types and lingo – especially when I’m out and about ordering coffee that I’m not altogether familiar with. So I’m excited that you’ve compiled this comprehensive list of coffee related words! Your coffee A to Z list is the perfect companion for coffee lovers everywhere!
Completely agree with you there! I get flustered when I’m out ordering coffee at a new place. So glad you love this resource. If you ever come across a term and don’t know what it means, let me know and I can always add it to this list too! I plan to add to this as I continue learning about coffee too.
Sometimes it feels that more interesting than the coffee itself is how people who love coffee learn about it, and how they want to experiment with it. Although I rarely drink coffee on a daily basis – once or twice a week, the coffee culture really inspires me.
I completely agree Dee. The world around coffee is so unique and inspiring. I love seeing what others do with coffee and the way it intertwines with life. I so appreciate you checking out this post!
Fun post to read. I dont like the taste of coffee,I like tea or Chai. BUT,in Italy a couple of weeks ago, I taste cappuchino ,not bad with sugar lol.
Thanks Elaine! Coffee isn’t for everyone that’s for sure, but still fun to learn about new things. I love chai; probably because it reminds me of coffee 🙂
This is such a cool post! There’s a coffee x robotic coffee bar? How funny! Love your views on the world of coffee…
Thank you so much, Amanda! I’m not sure how I feel about the coffee robot bar, but it is pretty cool at the same time.
Wow. Thanks for this list. It not just enriches your coffee vocabulary but also gives you a chance to impress at your next coffee date.
It’s nice being able to find all of these coffee terms in one place! I had never even heard of the term quaker lol
This is so helpful. I’ve always just went in blindly when trying different coffees. It’s nice to know what the different types mean.