The Coffee Dictionary – Letter D
Coffee has proved to be endlessly fascinating, engaging, and rewarding. Coffee is many different things for different people. This amazing drink is full of flavour, intrigue, history, and countless stories. With this coffee dictionary, it is excited to explore and discover coffee with your beloved one.
Coffee Definition Print Coffee Dictionary Art Print by gingermandy from The Coffee Dictionary – A, source:society6.com
Decaf | PROCESSING
All decaffeination processes take place when the coffee is in its green state, before it is roasted. Various methods exist, the two most notable being the patented Swiss Water Process (SWP) and the CO2 Method. In SWP, a batch of green coffee beans is soaked in hot water, which as a consequence becomes saturated with caffeine and flavour compounds. The now caffeine-free and flavourless beans are discarded and a new batch of beans added to the solution. This time the caffeine is removed but a large amount of the flavour compounds remain, as the water is already full of them. The CO2 Method involves forcing carbon dioxide into coffee beans at pressures of around 1,000 pounds per square inch to draw the caffeine out of the coffee into a water solution. Decaf coffee is often made from older green coffee that has not sold very well, so has not had the best start in life. Although it has so far proved impossible to remove caffeine without affecting flavour, with a fresh, carefully roasted coffee, decaf can be made much more pleasant than it often is.
Defects | GROWING; HARVESTING
There are many aspects of coffee flavour that are relative: do you prefer a chocolaty, round Antioquia Colombian to a fruity Huila Colombian bean? Regardless of preference, however, we can safely correlate better versions of both of these coffees with their having fewer defects. Defects are mainly caused by problems with the cherries’ growth on the tree or arise during the harvesting and processing. Typical causes of defects include insect damage and fungal buildup. Most defects can be detected either an astute, educated eye or by the use of clever technology such as UV lights and LED sorting machines. But even modern technology cannot currently catch everything. “Potato defect”, for example, is very prevalent in Rwandan and Burundian coffee and almost impossible to spot until you make the coffee: when ground, it gives off an unmistakable waft of raw potato. The cause of potato defect is a contentious one, but it is widely considered that a kind of stinkbug is
Democratic Republic of Congo | ORIGIN
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa, and the conditions in eastern parts of this country produce ideal growing conditions for coffee. The area around Lake Kivu borders on the well-known Kivu growing region in Rwanda. We are only just starting to see some great coffees come out of Congo on a regular basis. The country has endured much turmoil and the coffee trade has been directly affected by this. Different roasters, sourcing companies, and certifications are operating in the country to improve production and help realize the country’s coffee-production potential. The best cups are complex and full of citrus fruit flavours with wonderful acidity and round chocolaty notes. At this point in time, however, the country’s Arabica production is far outstripped by Robusta crops.
Density table | SORTING
Also known as the Oliver table, this is a method of sorting coffee that uses vibration. The table is tilted at an angle so the dense beans move to the top side and the less dense to the bottom side. There is a correlation between the quality and the density of the beans: less dense beans often represent a less well-developed seed. Pieces of technology like this can have a huge impact on improving cup quality in lots. Hand and eye sorting can get you a long way, but certain pieces of technology assess what we cannot, so can be invaluable.
Development | ROASTING
The term “development” in coffee is used almost exclusively when discussing roasting technique. It can refer, on the one hand, to a very particular period during the roasting process and, on the other, to an overall concept of how well cooked the coffee is. When a coffee is roasted, many processes and chemical reactions occur. If we are not able to develop enough of these in the bean, then the coffee can taste grassy, sour, and insufficiently complex. Alternatively, we can develop unwanted processes by roasting the coffee too far. Upon tasting a coffee, the drinker may be able to pick up on the impact of the roasting process and could state that the coffee was “under-” or “over-” developed. “Development” time refers specifically to the amount of the overall roasting time that took place after “first crack”. It is wise to discuss this in terms of a percentage. Just to confuse things, however, a coffee that has not received adequate heat early on in the roast may still not be “well” developed, even if the development time is long.
Dose | BREWING
Dose is a simple technical term that commonly refers to the amount of ground coffee used to prepare a given cup of coffee, though it can also be applied to other aspects such as the amount of water used. The dose would be recorded and discussed as part of the “recipe” used to make a cup of coffee. Coffee is applied chemistry and physics in action. We dissolve coffee into water to create a beverage. There are several parts of this process that define the recipe, and they have a huge impact on what the end cup of coffee tastes like, often alarmingly so. I often see customers who, while intrigued by coffee, are equally frustrated by the seemingly erratic nature of the cups of coffee they make. “I do the same thing every day, but it tastes different.” Coffee has many “moving parts” and the search for relatable quality has been at the heart of the modern speciality field. However, the reality is that tiny changes in the recipe can make coffee taste very different, and by simply being aware of what aspects of the recipe affect flavour, one can achieve far more consistent results and unravel the mystery.
Drum roaster | ROASTING
Turning coffee from a green seed into a complex flavoursome brown seed relies on the act of roasting. The most traditional – and still the most prevalent – way to roast coffee is on a drum roaster. Although there are various machines on the market, they usually share a rather simple principle: a big rotating metal drum that has heat applied to the outside, often from below, much like a spit roast, and with air flowing through the drum to remove unwanted roasting fumes. Depending on the system, the operator can vary many elements of the process. Air speed, heat application, and drum speed can all be adjusted. Roasted coffee consists of several hundred flavour compounds and it is astonishing how even small changes in the roasting process can affect the flavour of the coffee. The other prevalently used roasting process is fluid air roasting, in which the coffee is suspended and roasted on a bed of hot air.
Dry aroma | TASTING
Dry aroma refers to the aroma given off by the coffee when it is ground but before any water is added (at which point we smell the wet aroma). The coffee releases distinct aroma experiences at each point. You may often have heard people say, “I love the smell of coffee but not the taste”. Of course, we do not know whether an individual has tasted a wide range of coffees and finds all tastes undesirable and all dry aromas preferable, or whether their opinion derives from an altercation with a dark-roast commercial coffee that smelt rich and chocolaty but tasted like ash, earth, and batteries. Either way, there is a huge difference between the dry aroma and the experience of the beverage itself.
Dry distillates | TASTING
Coffee is made up of all sorts of compounds. It is quite common to break these compounds up into flavour groups – fruit acids, aromatics, sugar browning, and dry distillates. The term “dry distillates” is, in essence, a fancy name for woody, smoky, or burnt flavour groups that are the by-products of high-temperature processes. Interestingly, most of these are heavy compounds which means they are a little harder to get out of the coffee than the fruity and aromatic flavours. This is why a coffee that is brewed too hot or for too long, or with too fine a grind will display more of these heavy and potentially harsh flavours.