• Glossary - liquor or cup

    Acidy: A desirable flavour that is sharp and pleasing but not biting. The term 'acid' as used by the coffee trade refers to coffee that is smooth and rich, and has verve, snap and life as against heavy, old and mellow taste notes.

    Acrid: A burnt flavour that is sharp, bitter and perhaps irritating.

    Astringent: A taste that causes puckering and a bitter impression.

    Aftertaste: A taste that remains in the mouth longer than usual after eating or drinking.

    Aroma: Usually, pleasant-smelling substances with the characteristic odour of coffee. Chemically, they are aldehydes, ketones, esters, volatile acids, phenols, etc.

    Baggy: An undesirable taint, resembling the smell of a bag made from jute. Often observed in coffees that have been stored for long periods under unsuitable conditions.

    Baked: Generally unpleasant characteristic. Sign of coffee having been over-roasted or roasted too slowly.

    Balanced or round: Acidity and body are both present to the right extent.

    Bitter: When strong, an unpleasant, sharp taste; biting like quinine. Similar to acidity but lacking smoothness.

    Bland or neutral: Tasting smooth and flavourless, lacking coffee flavour and characteristics. Not necessarily always a negative comment however.

    Body: A taste sensation or mouth feeling of more viscosity, used to describe the mouth feel of a drink corresponding to a certain consistency or an apparent viscosity but not an increase in true viscosity. Sought after in most if not all coffees.

    Carbolic, chemical: Self-explanatory. Workers who have had wounds on legs treated with disinfectant and have then worked in tanks can cause this type of flavour. Certain emulsions in the manufacture of sacks are also a problem.

    Carmelized: Burnt-like flavour; carmelized sugar flavour. Usually associated with spray-dried instant coffee, but sometimes found in roasted coffee.

    Common, commonish: Poor liquor, lacking acidity but with full body. Usually associated with coated raw beans and softs and pales in roast.

    Earthy: Self-explanatory. Not to be confused with grassy.

    Fermented: Chemical flavor caused by enzymes on the green coffee sugars. Very unpleasant odour and taste. In its strongest form sometimes referred to as 'hidey' referring to smell of untreated animal hides. See also topic 12.10.04 for more on this.

    Foul: Objectionable liquor often similar to rotten coffee pulp. Sometimes the most advanced stage of fruity and sour coffees. Causes: mostly bad factory preparation or the use of polluted water. It must be noted that one badly discoloured bean is sufficient to give a foul cup to an otherwise good liquor.

    Fruity: First stage of sourness. Caused by overripe and yellow cherry or by fermentation with too many skins.

    Grassy: A very pronounced green flavour, can be most unpleasant.

    Green, greenish: Flavour suggestive of hay. More common in early pickings. In some coffees this flavour is lost a few weeks after curing. Seldom found in coffees which have been thoroughly dried.

    Harsh: A harshness of body. Coffee of immature raw appearance (but not necessarily from green cherry) frequently has a harsh taste. Drought-stricken or over-bearing trees producing mottled cherry frequently give this flavour.

    Musty or mouldy
    : Self-explanatory. Caused by piling or bagging very wet parchment or by dry parchment getting wet. (see 'musty', under Green or raw coffee, above).

    Natural: Natural characteristic is the full body, slight bitterness indicative of natural processed coffee. It is a negative characteristic of a fully washed coffee.

    Neutral: No predominant characteristics - can make a good base for blending.

    Onion flavour: Often bordering on foul. Associated with the use of badly polluted and stagnant water.

    Pungent: A taste sensation of overall bitterness of brew. A prickly, stinging, or piercing sensation not necessarily unpleasant.

    Quakery: A peanutty taste, usually associated with pales in the roast.

    Rioy or Phenolic: A taste with medicinal odour and off notes, slightly iodized phenolic or carbolic. Cannot be hidden by blending - always returns. See also topic 12.10.04 for more on this.

    Rubbery: Odor and taste of rubber. Usually present in fresh robustas.

    Sour, sourish: Unpleasant flavour, suggestive of rotting coffee pulp. Caused by faulty factory work, improper fermentation resulting in a continuation of the fermentation process during early stages of drying, overripe and yellow cherry, delayed drying causing a heating of the coffee, excess fermentation with many skins. Discoloured pulper-nipped beans are a frequent cause. (see also 11.05.03 'foxy').

    Strong: Unbalanced liquor where body predominates to the point of being tainted.

    Taint: A term used to denote the presence of flavours which are foreign to good clean liquor, but which cannot be clearly defined or placed in any category. It is often described as an off-taste or peculiar flavour for lack of a clear definition. Where the foreign flavour can be defined it is, of course, named accordingly.

    Thin: Lacking body.

    Twisty: A liquor which, although not directly unclean, is suspect and may become unclean.

    Unclean: Self-explanatory. A coffee which has an undefined unclean taste.

    Winey: A fruity taste similar to fresh wine. Not necessarily unpleasant when taste is in the background.

    Woody: A coarse common flavour peculiar to old crop coffee. Coffee stored at low altitudes with high temperatures and humidity (as in many ports of shipment) tends to become woody rather quickly. Storage at higher altitudes where feasible or in temperate climates is therefore recommended for long-term warehousing. All coffees, however, become woody if stored for too long.
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