Coffee terms explained
If you’re thinking about becoming a barista, then having a good knowledge of key coffee terms is important. Of course, there is a lot more to barista training than just knowing the terms, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to get a head start ahead of any courses you might want to start.
Whether you’re striving to be a barista or a coffee lover who wants to know more about their favourite beverage, this guide explaining some of the most popular coffee names and terms you might come across will be useful to you.
Coffee terms you need to know
Americano - An espresso diluted with equal parts of hot water, which can be served black or with milk. Americanos are similar in strength to a freshly brewed coffee, but the flavour is often more robust. Extra shots of espresso can be added to an americano to make it stronger.
Blend - Two or more different single origin coffee beans combined to create a unique blend.
Cappuccino - A small coffee often made using one third of espresso, one third of steamed milk, and one third of foam. This creates a smooth, easy to drink coffee with a thick layer of foam, typically finished off with a sprinkling of chocolate powder or cinnamon.
Espresso - Basically, this is concentrated coffee. Espresso is created when a small amount of hot water is pushed through finely ground, compacted coffee at a high pressure. The outcome is a small, strong “shot” of coffee served either as a drink of its own or to be used as a base for other beverages.
Flat white - A small coffee made using a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of frothy milk. Flat whites are quite similar to lattes, except it has a higher coffee to milk ratio which makes for a stronger drink. The flat white was introduced in the 1980s in either Australia or New Zealand. Since then, its popularity has continued to grow, and it is now a staple of coffee menus around the world.
Green beans - Raw coffee beans in their natural state before they have been roasted. The four main types of coffee beans are:
- Arabica – The most well-known coffee bean, Arabica beans make up over 60% of the world’s coffee production. They make a high quality, a little bit sweet and smooth coffee that is a favourite of many coffee drinkers.
- Robusta – The world’s second largest produced coffee, Robusta creates a strong, deep coffee with high caffeine content. Due to its strong flavour, it is the most popular bean to use for instant coffee.
- Liberica – Considered to be the rarest coffee bean and mostly consumed in Southeast Asia, Liberica beans are quite mysterious. They produce a uniquely flavoured coffee that features intense woody and smoky aromas.
- Excelsa – Another Southeast Asian bean, Excelsa by definition is part of the Liberica family, but has a very different taste. Excelsa coffee has a diverse flavour, with fruity and dark notes.
Latte - A caffe latte, shortened to “latte”, is a coffee drink made using espresso and steamed milk. The Italian translation of latte is milk, which accurately captures a drink that is very milky and doesn’t have an overwhelmingly strong coffee taste. Many latte fans like to customise their coffee with spices or syrups such as caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut.
Macchiato - The perfect balance between an espresso and a cappuccino, traditionally an espresso macchiato is an espresso topped (or marked) with foamed milk. However, you’re more likely to encounter a latte macchiato if you’re not in Italy. The concept is the same as the traditional version except the steamed milk is topped with a shot of espresso, creating a much creamier drink.
Mocha - Essentially combining a latte and a hot chocolate, a mocha is a variation of a latte. A mocha is made by mixing espresso with chocolate powder or syrup, then finished with steamed milk. The traditional way of making a mocha is with milk or dark chocolate, but white mochas that are created using white chocolate are increasing in popularity.
Single origins - Coffees that come from one particular geographical area. A single origin can refer to beans from a region, state, or sometimes a coffee cooperative mill representing multiple small villages. Single origin coffees normally have specific and recognisable flavours like fruit or nuts.
We hope you find this mini glossary of coffee terms useful. It’s important to note that this is just an introduction to some of the things you need to know, if you decide to pursue professional training in this area you will learn a lot more.
At Pumphreys Coffee we offer comprehensive barista courses in Newcastle, so you can take the first step to starting your coffee-based career. Contact us today if you’re interested in applying for a course or you have any questions.