There are a lot of terms that we use to describe coffee but we may use them in an incorrect way. Here are a few of the coffee terms that get misused everyday but what do they actually mean?
Espresso is a type of coffee that is made with very little water. It has a very intense flavour that is made by pushing water at pressure through finely-ground coffee. The English translation of the word literally means ‘pressed out.’ There is also no ‘x’ in espresso that so many people like to add to the word!
You can’t buy a type of bean that makes a strong coffee but it is more to do with the water to coffee ratio. The type of coffee beans you use will affect the taste of the coffee but there isn’t a ‘strong’ flavour profile; it is the way that the coffee is made.
Typically, a dark roast gets all of its flavour from the roasting process because this type of roast has been roasted for a longer amount of time. Very little of the flavour it developed when the bean was growing will be kept if it is dark roasted. It tends to have a smoky, bittersweet flavour profile. A dark roast does not necessarily mean that it will be a strong coffee unless it is brewed that way.
All coffee is acidic! However, calling coffee ‘acidic’ has connotations of coffee not being nice. This is probably to do with the fact that this is a subjective term; what might be nice for one person might not be for the next one. Coffee with high acidity are often described as bright while coffee with low acidity are described as smooth.
This is a funny one as it means different things depending on what coffee shop you walk into. Many of the bigger chains use the word ‘bold’ to describe dark roasted coffee where as other people use it as another word for strong coffee, really meaning more coffee than normal. It is one of these terms though that really shouldn’t be used to describe the type of coffee as it has too many different meanings.
Related blog post: How Well Do You Know Your Roasts?