My Buttery Espresso - Coffee Terminology Explained

Culinary Articles » Coffee

by Jim Storey

Drop these terms at your next dinner party or social outing! They are guaranteed to impress.

Flavour is the most important term, encompassing aroma, acidity and body. It is used to describe the overall impression you get when you take that first sip. The term is also used to individualise characteristics such as 'chocolaty', 'caramel', 'smoky', or 'spicy'. Some coffees have a very distinctive flavour, as in a chocolaty Ethiopian, or a nutty, caramely Nicaraguan. Sumatran has a rich, spicy flavour. Mellow coffees, such as Brazil have little acidity and smooth, well-rounded body.

Aroma is your first impression of coffee, and it signals its taste. Your sense of smell allows you to differentiate between thousands of distinct aromas. Your sense of taste is capable of distinguishing only four basic sensations. The aroma of a coffee is responsible for its popularity and allure.

Acidity should not be confused with sour, bitter or PH level. It is used to describe the sharp, snappy, bright flavour of high-grown Arabica coffees. Much acidity, as in Ethiopian Mocha coffee, is described as a winey taste. Coffee from India or Papua New Guinea, may be sweet.

Body is the sensation of consistency, texture and fullness created by coffee. It can be compared to the difference in 'mouth-feel' that red wine has over white wine.

Some coffees feel heavier in the mouth. Coffee from Indonesia, especially Sumatra, is very heavy and has much body. Ethiopian Mocha has the least body. Brazilian coffee is in the middle. With light-bodied coffees, the flavour is so delicate that milk should not be added. If you prefer milk with your coffee you should choose a medium to heavy-bodied coffee.

Buttery is a pleasant term most commonly associated with espresso. It is used to describe the buttery feel created in the mouth by the oils and fats transferred from the beans to the brew. The fat content of the bean is crucial for the formation of the 'crema' or froth that contains the aroma of a good espresso.

Bitter, burnt and scorched are unfortunate attributes. Bitter and burnt are flavour characteristics related to the roasting process. Bitterness is a taste found in dark-roasted coffees. The darker the roast, the greater the bitterness. Bitterness can also be experienced if the coffee grinds are over-extracted. This can happen if the grind is too fine, not enough coffee is used, or too much coffee is brewed from the grinds. Burnt is obviously a most undesirable flavour. Scorched flavours are caused by the water temperature of the espresso machine being too hot.

A Blend is a combination of two or more single origin coffees. It offers the roaster the opportunity to explore flavour potential not possible with a single origin coffee. Many roasters believe blends are necessary in order to provide all the elements essential for a great espresso.

Central American coffees have a lot of snap and acidity. Sumatran coffee adds body and richness. Papua New Guinean coffee adds sweetness. Flavour and aroma, which is distinctive, comes with Indonesian and Colombian coffees. The rich, winey, almost chocolaty flavour comes from Ethiopian Mochan and Kenyan coffees.

Witham's Coffee Blends Explained....... Super Mocha: This blend is rich and full-bodied. South American beans contribute medium body, strength and a caramel sweetness, while the true Mocha coffees add rich chocolaty tones and a lovely winey acidity. The blend has a smooth, rounded finish. A great blend for white coffee lovers.

Brazil Supreme: A blend of aromatic South American beans give full body, medium strength, a sweet, sharp acidity and a smooth finish. This blend is finished with Nicaraguan Maragogype which adds delicious hints of honey and caramel. A lovely blend for black coffee connoisseurs.

Withams coffee can be bought at www.coffeemachine.com.au or at www.withams.com.au.

About the Author

Jim Storey is the owner of Discount Coffee Machines. Jim discovered coffee when working in a desk job and never went back to his desk. For further information please visit http://www.coffeemachine.com.au.

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