The Coffee Dictionary – Letter E
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.
Glossary of Coffee Related Terms – Scribblers Coffee Co from The Coffee Dictionary – Letter E, source:scribblerscoffee.com
Ecuador | ORIGIN
This country falls into the “full of potential” category. A great coffee from Ecuador can be complex and sweet, with sought-after fruit notes, a medium body, and a pleasing and unique acidity. These coffees are becoming more likely, but they are still few and far between. Investment from the speciality sector is proving that great coffees are hiding in the country and are worth seeking out. Internally, instant coffee is most popular and, due to costs, is mainly imported coffee from Vietnam. Coffee production has been steadily growing in Ecuador and the multiple microclimates provide varying opportunities for exceptional coffee.
El Salvador | ORIGIN
Back in the late 1970s El Salvador was the third largest coffeeproducing country in the entire world – quite something for the smallest country in Central America. It accounted for almost 50 percent of the country’s export revenues. Then came civil war and land reforms, and coffee production has never hit those kind of heights again. Coffee now accounts for around 3.5 percent of the country’s exports. Owing to economic, political, and agricultural factors, El Salvador is moving towards being a more specialityfocused producing country, focusing on the higher-altitude growing regions and boutique productions. On my visits to the country, even with various problematic factors affecting coffee production, I have found very passionate farmers who are excited by their coffee, engaging in experimental processing and setting up varietal gardens. The country is probably best known for washed-process Bourbon varieties. Forward-thinking El Salvadorian producers have developed and introduced unique varieties to the coffee world, such as the Pacamara variety. This large bean is a cross between the elephant Maragogype variety and the Pacas variety. Good El Salvadorian coffee often has a sweet chocolate body combined with berry-like acidity.
Espresso | BREWING; DRINK TYPE
The espresso – where to start? Espresso is iconic. It is essentially an intense, highly concentrated coffee beverage of a short measure. It is brewed under pressure, which creates a layer of foam on the surface of the drink called the “crema”. It is also the driving force behind the modern coffee shop phenomenon that has spread around the world. Espresso is finicky and hard to make well, which is surely where a lot of its romance and intrigue come from. Italy can lay claim to the invention of the espresso machine and for many years largely defined what a good espresso was. Back in the day, and in many cases to this day, espresso quality was defined by specific strict criteria, such as the visual appearance of the crema, the “correct” brew time of 25 seconds, and the “correct” volume of liquid. This narrow definition has been broadened in recent years upon the realization that to optimize a coffee’s quality as espresso, the rules may need to bend and move to suit the coffee. This is undoubtedly positive, but there is also the question, then, of when coffee is not espresso. You can achieve amazing results by brewing a very long filterlike coffee through an espresso machine. For me, espresso has to be a concentrate. Below 7 percent strength I think it starts to become something else – it may well be great, but it is just not espresso.
Ethiopia | ORIGIN
Ethiopia is often rightly heralded as the birthplace of coffee. Technically, there is dispute as to where Arabica really originates. Ethiopia and Yemen are the two hot contenders, but it is Ethiopia that is home to the most incredibly diverse natural array of Arabica varieties. The Ethiopian Highlands offer the perfect habitat for Arabica to flourish. So much so that these highlands house nearly all of the world’s diversity of Arabica varieties. Due to this, Ethiopia has the potential to produce a wide range of characteristics and flavour profiles. Most coffee in Ethiopia is not grown in the farm-like situations typical of the Americas. Instead, the coffee is cooperatively grown. Many smallholders, sometimes hundreds, will mix their small lots together and deposit them at a central processing mill. It is naturally more difficult to achieve traceability under these circumstances. You may buy a coffee from a mill in Ethiopia and then buy what appears to be the same coffee. However, different lots pass through the mill at different times, so any coffee will be dependent upon which parts of the cooperative are harvesting at any particular time. Washed coffees from the Yirgacheffe region can be intensely floral and aromatic with tea- and citrus-like notes. A western Ethiopian washed coffee can be more densely floral and fuller bodied. In stark contrast, natural coffee from Sidamo and Harar can be bold, chocolaty, and chock-full of ripe fruit.
Eugenioides | SPECIES
Robusta may be known as the commercial and inferior relative of Arabica, but without it we would not have Arabica at all. Robusta is actually the parent plant of Arabica, and the species Robusta coupled ith to produce Arabica is called Coffea eugenioides. This species is barely propagated for coffee drinking at all and has come into the spotlight only recently. Colombian producer Camilio Marisande has been experimenting with unique and rare varieties in recent years. The Sudan Rume that he produced with Saša Šestić for the World Barista Championship win was grown at Finca Las Nubes in El Salvador. A few miles down the road on the small plots at Finca Inmaculada, Eugenioides is being grown, and with great success. Geoff Watts of Intelligentsia Coffee presented the coffee on a blind table to US Brewers Cup champion Sarah Anderson. Sarah chose the truly unique coffee to take to the world championships where she finished fifth in 2015. I was lucky enough to taste this coffee in Gothenburg at the competition. It is very unusual. The typical citric acidity you would expect in high-quality Arabica crops is almost not there at all. In its place is a lot of sweetness, so that it is almost sugary. The cup displays cereal-like qualities and is also described as being tea-like.
Europe | COFFEE CULTURE
The history of coffee in Europe is rich and diverse. There is, of course, Italy and the espresso – a quick shot at the bar and on with the day – but there is an amazing coffee-house culture all over the continent. Long-held traditions persist. Generally, coffee shops open later in the day and all manner of sweet things accompany the coffee, each iconic in its own way. There is a wonderful variety of environments and atmospheres – from the ornate and grand to the tiny and cosy. You could indulge in a slice of Sachertorte in a grand Viennese café, or you may find yourself on a wicker chair on the pavement in Paris, drinking a black coffee and watching people go by. Interestingly, the so-called “third wave” movement is less ubiquitous in Europe, or at least it was until recently. Speciality coffee scenes full of passion have popped up all over Europe, often in major cities. It is intriguing to see how nonspeciality areas of the world actually provide dynamic and enthusiastic speciality scenes, as a newfound interest in coffee drums up excitement.
Evenness | HARVESTING; ROASTING; BREWING
The concept of evenness can be applied at many points throughout the coffee seed-to-cup journey. For the craft of the barista, and in coffee preparation in general, evenness is paramount. A more even grind, a more even distribution of coffee, a more even application of water, and so on are all generally considered to be the goal. The same, however, also goes for roasting – the even roasting of the bean – and for harvesting, where grading is to a large degree dictated by the even sizing and shape of the raw seed. While there is definitely a correlation between quality and different forms of evenness, this does not always hold true. In 2015, World Brewers Cup champion Odd- Steinar Tøllefsen won on the back of a coffee that was intentionally dried unevenly to accentuate the character of the coffee. This coffee was a natural-processed coffee from Ethiopia called Semeon Abbay Nikisse, named after the maker who oversaw the processing, Semeon Abbay.
Extraction | BREWING
To extract is to “remove or take out, especially by effort or force”. The principles of extraction are really the core concept of any brewing method or coffee-making process. Boil it right down and all cups of coffee are about using some water to take some flavour out of some ground coffee beans. It is the surprising complexity of this process that gives us so much of the intrigue as well as the frustration of making coffee. You could be forgiven for thinking that you make stronger or weaker coffee by extracting more or less from the ground coffee. The problem with this approach is that different compounds extract at different rates, so that extracting less or more from coffee results in different flavours. Sharper, acidic, fruity flavours tend to come out first, followed by the deep, heavier ones and, lastly, the woody, bitter notes. A well-extracted cup of coffee has a balance of these. The coffee industry utilizes a fancy bit of technology called a refractometer to measure the strength of the coffee and to speculate on the level of extraction. Unfortunately, the numbers provided by this machine are not the whole picture, as the evenness of grind, the pressure of water, the temperature, and other variables all affect the type of extraction and how desirable it is. The optimum extraction that often gets cited is 20 percent. This means that 20 percent of the coffee was taken by the water, and the rest was chucked onto the compost heap. Quality of extraction is still ultimately decided upon by taste so this percentage can vary, but it is a useful marker all the same. The instant coffee world pushes extraction to the maximum through superheating and multibrewing. This allows for extraction levels of up to 60 percent, making the instant coffee process the most efficient preparation method in the world, just not necessarily the most desirable.