Coffee basics: Java Jargon

Read on for Java Jargon or Coffee Terms that describe the characteristics of a brew, brewing processes, and coffee growing/ coffee processes.

Specialty Coffee

Working with these farmers to deliver the highest-quality coffees requires us to listen, learn, cup, and give feedback on their creation. Our coffee comes from farmers who grow an award-winning coffee and are artisans and should be given their due. This recognition develops dedication to craftsmanship, skill for production, and passion for the harvest quality.

Fermentation/Anaerobic Fermentation and Carbonic Maceration

An emergent process gaining rapid popularity due to the incredible and unique flavors it can produce from the process known as

anaerobic fermentation, or otherwise referred to as carbonic maceration.

Honey Process

The mucilage of the coffee cherry is sticky and slimy, so it is sometimes called “honey”. During the Honey Process, coffee is dried with some or all of the mucilage remaining on the parchment encasing the seed.

Coffee cherries are picked, sorted, depulped, and then moved to drying patios or beds for various periods of time.
Cupping coffee

Because there is a little bit of fermentation happening in the short amount of time it takes for the mucilage to dry, coffees processed in this way feature a little more acidity than Pulped Naturals (Pressure-Washed) coffees, but significantly less acidity than Washed or Natural/Dried-in-the-Fruit coffees.


Cupping is a process Klatch Coffee does to determine our coffee offerings and flavor notes for chosen coffees. Cupping is a coffee tasting with steeped coffee and a cupping spoon (deep convex spoon) is used. We evaluate flavors through cupping by SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) standards, however at Klatch we adjust slightly. Our first reference for flavors comes from the SCA Flavor Wheel and when we need a flavor beyond SCA, we use the Counter Culture Flavor Wheel.
Pulling shots of espresso

Pulling a Shot

Pulling a shot of espresso is a balance of the amount of coffee grounds, size of the grind, and timing of extraction.


Extraction is key to the taste of coffee, from pour overs to pulling a shot of espresso. A sour flavor is often caused by the under-extraction of coffee. When coffee isn't brewed long enough or the grounds are too large, this can easily occur. A quick fix for this is brewing your coffee for a little longer or adjusting your grind size to be a little finer. Timing is everything, and following a recipe for brewing your coffee will impact the taste and experience. Check out CFO Mike Perry's troubleshooting tips.

Coffee Flavors and Aromas

Coffee Flavors and Aromas are described as “notes.” Top or base notes of taste and/or smell. Knowing the lingo can help you analyze and appreciate your coffee (and impress your coffee-drinking friends).

Taste Profile

Coffee aroma descriptors include flowery, nutty, smoky, herby; while taste descriptors include acidity, bitterness, sweetness, saltiness and sourness (see Coffee Flavour Wheel, Klatch Coffee uses The SCA Flavor Wheel and Counter Culture Coffee).
SCA Flavor Wheel
Coffee Flavour Wheel. Adapted from that of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The level of roasting impacts aroma profiles.

Flavor Wheel & Cupping Terms

Astringent: Dry, puckering feel of unripe fruit or over-brewed tea.
Balanced: Ideal blend of sour and bitter; not dull or flat.
Body: Feeling of fullness and weight in the mouth.
Acidic: The bright, dry sensation of coffee is the Acidity. Without acidity, coffee is dull and lifeless. Not all acids in coffee are bad. For example, phosphoric acid and malic acid can make coffee taste sweeter. Other acids, such as citric acid and acetic acid, add tartness in low concentrations but can produce sour-tasting coffee in excess. It’s all about the right balance of acidity. That is one of the keys to a great cup of coffee. Acidity is not a sour sensation, which is a taste defect, nor should it be excessively drying or astringent, though it sometimes is. Check out our Klatch Coffee Youtube Channel for more about cupping and the ASD (anaerobic slow dry) process!