Coffee Dictionary: A Comprehensive Guide to Coffee Terms

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter

Coffee Dictionary

Coffee Dictionary Online: From A to Z; From Growing & Roasting to Brewing & Tasting

From crop to cup From crop to cup

Terms Of Day

“Vietnam is a massive coffee producer, second only to Brazil as the largest coffee producer in the world. Almost all of the production in Vietnam is comprised of the Robusta species.”

- Vietnam

“The coffee futures market, or C market, is a global commodities market that operates in US dollars. Futures markets are based on contracts for a specific commodity to be delivered in the future”

- C market

Basic Coffee Terms for Beginners

Welcome to the “Coffee Dictionary,” your ultimate tool for navigating the fascinating world of coffee. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn about the different types of coffee, brewing methods, roasts, and popular coffee drinks. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, this dictionary will help you explore and understand the rich language of coffee. New to the world of coffee? No worries! Here’s a list of basic coffee terms to help beginners understand and appreciate this beloved beverage. So, let’s get started!

Basic terms

Types of Coffee Beans

There are many varieties of coffee beans, but the most commonly cultivated and consumed are:

Coffea Arabica (Arabica)

Arabica beans make up about 60-70% of the world's coffee production. They are known for their delicate, complex flavors and lower acidity. Arabica beans thrive at higher altitudes and are typically more difficult to grow due to their susceptibility to pests and diseases.

Coffea Canephora (Robusta)

Robusta beans account for about 30-40% of global coffee production. They are known for their strong, bitter taste, and higher caffeine content compared to Arabica beans. Robusta beans are easier to grow, as they are more resistant to pests and diseases, and can be cultivated at lower altitudes.

Coffea Liberica (Liberica)

Liberica beans are primarily grown in West Africa, specifically Liberia, and are known for their distinct, fruity flavor profile. They are larger and more irregularly shaped than Arabica and Robusta beans.

Brewing Methods


Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is a widely used brewing method that involves water slowly dripping through ground coffee beans. This produces a smooth, clean, and well-rounded cup of coffee.



Espresso is strong black coffee made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans.


French Press

a coffee pot containing a plunger made of fine mesh with which the grounds are pushed to the bottom when the coffee is ready to be poured.


Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period (usually 12-24 hours). This process results in a smooth, less acidic, and refreshing coffee that is served cold.

Basic Terms

Coffee Roasts

Coffee roasts refer to the degree to which coffee beans have been roasted, which affects the flavor, aroma, and appearance of the coffee. There are four main types of coffee roasts: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Light roasts are roasted for the shortest time, while dark roasts are roasted for the longest time. The roast level determines the acidity, bitterness, body, and aroma of the coffee, and different brewing methods are recommended for each roast level to bring out the best flavors and aromas.

Light Roast

Light roast coffee beans are roasted for a shorter amount of time, resulting in a lighter brown color and bright, fruity flavors. The acidity and origin characteristics are more pronounced in light roasts.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffee has a medium-brown color and a more balanced flavor profile, with a mix of acidity, sweetness, and body. This roast is popular for its versatility and wide appeal.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffee beans are roasted for a longer time, resulting in a dark brown color and a bold, intense flavor. These roasts often have a smoky, slightly bitter taste and lower acidity.

Coffee Drinks


An Americano is a popular coffee drink made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso, creating a smooth and balanced flavor similar to drip coffee.


A cappuccino is an espresso-based drink that consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. The result is a creamy, velvety coffee with a rich taste.


A latte is similar to a cappuccino but has more steamed milk and less froth, resulting in a smoother, milkier coffee drink.


A mocha is a chocolate-flavored coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup. It's a delicious treat for those with a sweet tooth.

Your questions answered

FAQs - Common questions

Arabica beans are known for their smooth, mild flavor and lower acidity, while Robusta beans have a stronger, more bitter taste and higher caffeine content.

Cold brew is a popular method for making iced coffee, as it produces a smooth, less acidic coffee that is perfect for serving cold.

Light roasts have brighter, fruitier flavors and more acidity, while dark roasts have bold, intense flavors and a smoky, slightly bitter taste. Medium roasts offer a balanced flavor profile.

Both are espresso-based drinks, but a cappuccino has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, while a latte has more steamed milk and less froth, resulting in a smoother, milkier drink.

While it’s difficult to replicate the exact process of making espresso without a machine, you can use a stovetop espresso maker (Moka pot) or an AeroPress to create a strong, concentrated coffee similar to espresso.


Coffee Dictionary Online: An A-Z of coffee, from growing & roasting to brewing & tasting. You can search for any term, Coffee Dictionary – Coffee Terms definition in the coffee industry. An authoritative and comprehensive dictionary containing clear, concise definitions of over 1000 key coffee terms, this A to Z covers all aspects of coffee including from growing & roasting to brewing & tasting. There is strong coverage of the coffee industry. Fully revised to keep up-to-date with this fast-moving field, this new edition expands the coverage to include terms relevant to the coffee wave 4th.