Coffee jargon

October 25, 2007


Flickr:Chris Campbell

Most people know that oenophiles have their own language to describe the complex flavors in a good glass of wine. What may be more surprising is that the world of coffee has almost as many words. One of my favorite coffee sites, Sweet Maria’s, has a reference guide to all the lingo, but I almost prefer to dive into it headfirst:

The weather betrayed Harar coffee this year, rain during the drying time, drought during the wet time. So you can imagine that I was surprised to cup a small lot of Harar at random and find it was not only free from those defective “dirt and rot” flavors, but was a really nice cup. It was sweet, lively, spicey, silky-bodied, and was marked by candied fruit flavors and sweet spice notes. And equally surprising is that it came from our old supplier Mohammed Ogsadey under his Horse mark, a source that has, in recent times, tasted a bit more like a horse than anything. It was this one lot, with the charming designation of 14659 that was so sweet and delicious, because even it’s [sic] sister-lot that came with it had weird gamey notes, and a distinct mustiness. Well, I know when I am facing a small miracle, so I bought every bag that remained. This is a different type of coffee than the apricot to blueberry-toned lots of 2+ years ago. The fruited notes are a bit deeper, and in general this lot is not as acidic as those historic ago. It’s a very balanced cup between the body, spice notes, fruits and acidity. When I first cupped this I feared I might be experiencing a little “irrational exhuberance,” [sic]…But I checked and rechecked my cup results and continue to get sweet spice and low-toned jammy fruit notes.

I have no idea what any of that means, but it just sounds delicious, doesn’t it? The most detailed description I can muster up of my coffee is “with milk and sugar.” How do you describe your favorite beverages?

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3 Responses to “Coffee jargon”

  1. Danny Lucas Says:

    No shark on the planet has ever homed in on it’s prey as fast as my senses do coffee. A drop of blood in the water 10 miles away directs a frenzy of nerves to oscillate from their momentary silence; then movement ignites. Sharks are so pitifully slow.

    Percolation of a single drop of heated water upon the exquisitely ground Gold Coast bean beckons the same call to me. Decades have passed since God Almighty inspired an unknown toward fame; the planter of the coffee bean never saw it coming. Yes, God is involved in the process.

    HE begins with inspiration to plant the seed. The seed has been artfully filled with essence and aroma, indeed, nerve tantalizers unknown to scientists, but known to the Master Scientist. Then, step back oh you who have planted.

    The ground minerals are arranged in a symphony of input, flowing to the bean of powerful pleasure. HE lifts His hand with no baton enclosed, and orders the path of growth, as minerals from soil transform into lush colors and baskets of His love.

    Thunder and lightning call attention to His continued effort on behalf of my numbered days of delight. The rains cackle on the soil as the harmony of growth is infused with new nectars, in tiny combination packets, designed by the Master Brewer.
    The splash of rain has knocked on the door of the beans.
    “Package for you, sir” says raindrop to bean molecules.
    A preparatory gift from God has been delivered and hidden within each coffee bean.

    Meanwhile, He moves His mighty light, the sun, into perfect position and time to coax. Warmth, and rays of purity are part of the preparation. Nature is dancing and packing to travel.
    The excitement is at fever pitch until at last, He rests His hands to tell the sun and water: “It Is Finished”.

    The beans are gathered along the Gold Coast and Gold is no misnomer or accident, for the most precious of all delights on Earth are now ready to be picked, combined, and moved by men. He never leaves. He watches. This part can be done by mortals, but His presence is nearby to assure that not one bean unleashes early.

    He who flung the stars into the galaxy with His breath now swings my attention to Starbucks. Gold Coast is never up front with common varieties. It must be carefully pursued.
    “I do”, and the wedding of bean and Danny is done.

    Some may find marriage difficult, but there has never, never I say, been a recorded divorce of Gold Coast bean and any human being. This matrimony is forever.

    The Master smiles. He takes over my subconscious as I sleep and submits the most pleasant of dreams. It is the prelude to the final stanza of this orchestrated harmony.

    No prayer has ever been heard. It is too slow a form of communication. Angels combine the prayers of the Saints with incense and ignite them together, then offer them up upon golden plates before the Lord. He does not hear our prayers, HE inhales them! And the answer is in the exhale (Revelations of truth).

    The first perc hits my pot downstairs and the shout to my senses is more ferocious than the drop of blood in the water to any shark within 10 miles.
    Danny NOW. The bean has exhaled all of His glory in one perc. I am drawn inexhoribly out of bed and walk on air of stairsteps to the source. A nuclear cloud could rise up, but never as fast as the aroma of Gold Coast to my second floor bed. Speed of light? I laugh at this slow nonsense. Try speed of smell.

    All of eternity can wait. His Supreme effort at pleasure, the greatest pleasure known to man is in my cup. It is brewed, it is hot, it is held with love for it was designed with love.
    I savor my thoughts and run the records of my memory, all of the recordings of pleasure in memory, through an instantaneous rendezvous with destiny. The sum total of all the joys of my days are about to be eclipsed with a sip of dark, mineral transformed, infusions of love in liquid with the addition of aroma….His exhale of answer to my prayer.

    Hey Rachel, hope that helps! Try some Gold Coast….
    designed by God for you. Forever.


  2. […] Comments Danny Lucas on Coffee jargonmetadnauseam on Nanowrimo part 2Rachel on Nanowrimo part 2libbu on Nanowrimo […]


  3. […] today in the course of duty that had some very interesting words on it. This goes way past “sweet, lively, spicey, silky-bodied.” Off the top of my head (I made the mistake of assuming the poster would be available online […]


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