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Coffee A-Z Glossary

At NESCAFÉ®, we’re obsessed with coffee. So much so, we even love the words associated with it! That’s why we’ve created this coffee dictionary A – Z to share with you some of the key coffee words we think you should know.

Check out this glossary

Coffee Terms from A to Z

  • Arabica


    There are two types of coffee beans typically used for creating the delicious NESCAFÉ® coffee you know and love – Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is generally more favoured due to its smoother and less bitter taste profile.

  • Barista


    Barista is a coffee term you all should know! This is a person who artfully crafts your favourite coffee, usually at a coffee shop. It takes a lot of skill to be able to make great coffee and baristas have to master a whole host of coffee varieties from an espresso shot to the precise layers of the cappuccino.

  • Cappuccino


    What else could we have for C in our coffee dictionary other than cappuccino? It’s one of the most popular coffee types in the world after all! Originating in Italy, this delicious beverage contains equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and milk froth and is usually served with a dusting of chocolate powder on top.

  • Decaf


    Decaf coffee has had almost all of the caffeine content removed before the roasting process. Interestingly, it’s actually impossible to remove all of the caffeine from coffee beans!

  • Espresso


    Espresso is one of our favourite coffee words because it forms the basis for so many of our favourite beverages – alternatively, it can also be served in small, strong shots too! 

  • Flat White

    Flat White

    The Flat White has been taking the coffee world by storm in recent years and has fast become one of the most popular types on the menu. However, there’s been much debate about where it originated from with some saying Australia, others New Zealand.

  • g

    Green Coffee

    This coffee word may surprise you, but did you know that when coffee beans are fresh off the plant, they’re actually green and have a grassy scent? It’s the roasting process which turns them that rich brown hue and gives them that incredible smell!

  • High Grown

    High Grown

    High grown coffee refers to the process of growing coffee plants at high altitudes. This practice produces more rich and flavourful beans as the beans develop slower, resulting in a more complex and robust flavour profile.

  • Irish Coffee

    Irish Coffee

    Irish coffee is a coffee with a kick. Crafted with hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and topped with cream, this warming beverage is favoured in the colder months. Want to know how to make one? Check out our Irish coffee recipe!

  • Java


    You’ll likely be familiar with this coffee terminology as a slang word for ‘coffee’. But did you know that ‘Java’ was originally used to refer to coffee grown on the island of Java? When the coffee trade grew, the word was adopted by many all over the world and now it’s become a generalised word for ‘coffee’. 

  • Kaldi


    Kaldi was a goat herder who allegedly first discovered the effects of coffee, so of course we had to mention them in our coffee dictionary! Find out more about the legend of Kaldi and the fascinating history of coffee in our article. 

  • Latte


    Could L be for anything else but latte? This coffee type is a super popular choice for many and consists of 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, with a layer of frothed milk on top. Latte’s often come with a variety of delicious flavour choices too, ranging from vanilla to hazelnut. 

  • Macchiato


    The macchiato is an espresso with milk added. In fact, the beverage was developed in Italy in the 80’s as a way for baristas to identify a plain espresso and one with milk added. The name comes from the Italian word for stained. 

  • Noisette


    Noisette is a French coffee type which gets its name from the lovely hazelnut colour that’s the result of mixing the espresso and hot milk. It may sound similar to the macchiato which is because it’s the French version!

  • Over Extracted

    Over Extracted

    This coffee term is one you’ll want to avoid at all costs as it’s what happens when espresso is exposed to brew water for too long. The result is a drink that possesses a bitter or burnt taste – not ideal for making those smooth and delicious lattes or cappuccinos!

  • Portafilter


    A portafilter is not just a coffee word, but perhaps the most essential piece to the barista’s toolkit. It’s what’s responsible for holding the ground espresso beans in the coffee machine for the whole brewing process.

  • Quaker


    A Quaker is a coffee term which refers to un-ripened coffee beans. They usually have a wrinkled surface and remain pale even when roasted. 

  • Roasting


    Roasting is what gives coffee beans that delicious smell and darkened colour, plus it also has a huge impact on the overall taste profile. Coffee can be roasted light, medium or dark and each roast type has a different level of acidity and unique flavouring.

  • Single Origin

    Single Origin

    Single origin coffee is when the beans are sourced from a single location. Due to this, it’s generally of a much higher quality with a stronger flavour profile as it’s not a blend of beans from varying locations and growing conditions. Why not give it a try with our NESCAFÉ® Gold Origins range?

  • Turkish Coffee

    Turkish Coffee

    Did you know that Turkey is one of the coffee hotspots of the world? They have a very unique way of making coffee which is said to be more akin to cooking than brewing and the result is a thick and frothy drink with a very strong aroma. 

  • Uganda


    Uganda is in the top 10 coffee producing countries and its landscape with rich, volcanic soil provides the ideal conditions for growing coffee plants.

  • Vietnamese Coffee

    Vietnamese Coffee

    Vietnamese coffee is a type that’s unlike any other. It’s rich and flavourful with an added side of sweetness thanks to the layer of condensed milk in the bottom of the glass. What’s more, you can also have this beverage iced, so it’s perfect all year round!

  • Wet Processed

    Wet Processed

    Wet processed is a coffee term which refers to how the layers (skin and pulp) around the coffee bean are removed. This is the most common way for coffee beans to be processed.

  • X-Factor


    Sounds corny, we know! But, x-factor is definitely something you want when it comes to your coffee. No-one wants to experience that disappointing feeling of a bad cup of coffee after all.

  • Yield


    Yield is a coffee word that refers to the weight of the espresso in the cup, put simply, the more yield, the more espresso.

  • Zambia


    Zambia is another one of the key coffees growing locations in the world. Grown in the Muchinga Mountains, beans grown here are said to be balanced and wonderfully full bodied.

That’s our A – Z coffee dictionary! Want to find out more interesting coffee facts or coffee statistics? Read our articles, next.

Other articles you might be interested in

  • Coffee Facts

    As one of the most consumed beverages in the world, it's only natural that there's a wealth of interesting coffee facts too! Read our favourites, here.

  • Coffee Cup Guide

    Did you know that each type of coffee was designed for a specific type of coffee cup? We explore all the types of coffee cups there are.

  • What is a Flat White?

    The flat white is a newcomer, breaking its way into the coffee world in only the last few years or so.