Your Complete Guide to Specialty Coffee Lingo Part 3: Coffee Brewing & Tasting

We have finally graduated in our three part series on specialty coffee lingo to the processes that happen right in our coffee shop in Minneapolis every day. The coffee brewing and everyone’s favorite, coffee tasting. 

In this series we have walked you through common terms used in coffee farming and coffee roasting to help you gain a greater understanding and appreciation for where your cup of coffee is coming from. 

Now that we have made it this far, we can dive into some of the ways our barista brews coffee or even how you can do it yourself at home. And then the most exciting and satisfying part. The coffee tasting!

Specialty Coffee Brewing Terms

Drip Method: This method of brewing involves hot water soaking through a bed of ground coffee

Cold-water Method: This method is used to make cold brew coffee. Coffee ground steep in cold water for up to 24 hours and then strained to create a concentrated iced coffee. 

Extraction: Water that is tempted at 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit can be used to draw flavors from coffee grounds. When coffee is under extracted it may taste weak or if it is over extracted it may taste bitter.

Filter Method: This is used to describe any method where water filters through the coffee ground. It also pertains to using a paper filter to separate coffee grounds from dripped brewed coffee. 

Pour Over Coffee: One of our favorite brewing methods at 7 Corners Coffee shop. This method involved pouring water in a steady slow stream over a cone shaped filter filled with ground coffee.

Specialty Coffee Tasting Terms

Have you ever heard someone talk about coffee and felt like they were speaking a different language than you? The world of specialty coffee has assigned many terms to describe the taste, texture, flavors, and more when describing coffee. 

Ready to become a coffee tasting connoisseur yourself, see what each of these terms means below!

Acidity: Also known as brightness or lightness, used to describe the enjoyable tart flavor of a cup of coffee.

Aroma: The smell that is released from freshly ground coffee or from freshly brewed coffee.

Balance: This is a term used when no single flavor or characteristic overwhelms or takes over another. They all compliment each other well.

Bland: The weak flavor often found in low-grown robusta coffees (link). This can also be caused by under extraction. You don’t want a bland cup of coffee.

Body: This term can be a little abstract but refers to how the coffee feels in your mouth. The perceived thickness, richness, or viscosity of brewed coffee. 

Briny: When a coffee is left on a warming element over a long period of time, like truck-stop coffee, it causes this salty sensation.

Clean: a clean cup of coffee has no discernible defects in its flavor.

Complexity: A term describing coffees whose flavors layer pleasurably, giving the impression of depth and resonance.

Cupping: when professionals are tasting coffee they use the cupping process. Coffee grounds are put in a cup and water is poured over top of the grounds. After a short wait, just the liquid is tasted. 

Earthiness: A specific taste that results from wet coffee coming into contact with the earth during the drying process. Primarily in coffees from Sumatra and Sulawesi. 

Finish: The sensory experience of coffee just as it is swallowed. 

Now that you are ready to taste your coffee like the professionals, join us at 7 corners coffee shop for a specialty coffee of your choosing and don’t be afraid to ask our baristas about the brewing process and flavor profiles based on what you learned here today!

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