Kona Coffee Dictionary
Bitter—Flavor sensation detected on the soft-palate and at the back of the mouth; may be an after-taste; may be desirable to a limited degree (e.g., in espresso or dark roast). Not to be confused with acidity.
Cherry—The berry (fruit) of the coffee tree. When the berry first appears on the tree it is green, then it turns yellow, then orange, and then finally cherry red at which time it is ripe and ready to be picked.
Clean—Pure flavor, no changes or twists in the mouth or different after-taste.
Acidic—A desirable quality that is sensed as a sharpness toward the front of the mouth; denotes quality. Subtleties include fruity (e.g., lemony, citrusy, berry-like) or a numbing sensation on the tip of the tongue.
Coffee—A beverage prepared by brewing water with the roasted seeds (called beans) of the coffee plant. Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world, and is one of the world’s most popular beverages.
Coffee Bean—The seeds inside of the fruit (the berry, or cherry). When there are two seeds in a cherry they are known as Type I, and when there is just one it is known as Type II (Peaberry). Peaberry Kona coffee beans are the rarest and have the highest density. Peaberry Kona Coffee has a smooth consistency, robust flavor, and rich aroma.
Coffee Berry—(See Cherry).
Coffee Tree—Coffea plant native to subtropical Africa and southern Asia; an evergreen shrub/small tree in a genus of ten species of flowering plants of the family Rubiaceae. The coffee tree has dark, green, glossy leaves and clusters of fragrant, white flowers that bloom simultaneously. The fruit berry is oval, about 1.5 centimeters (0.6 in) long, and green when immature, ripening to yellow, crimson, and finally dark red/black when it dries – it takes about 8 months for the berries to ripen. Berries usually contain two seeds, but in about 7.5% of the berries, there is only one seed – these are known as peaberries.
Dry—A particular type of acidity, feeling in the mouth, often present in light/delicate coffees.
Drying—Sun drying of Kona coffee involves spreading the coffee beans out on a hoshidana, which is a large flat deck (platform/rack/floor) with a rolling roof so the coffee beans can be covered when it rains. The beans are also raked regularly with a wooden rake so they dry evenly. Another drying method utilizes a rotating hot drum and can be completed in just a few hours, but this is considered inferior to sun drying.
Earthy—An aroma or flavor that conjures moist black earth, cellar-like, mushroomy.
Fermentation Tank—Used to ferment the Kona beans during the wet-processing.
Fruity—Aroma or flavor often found in good Arabica coffee; always accompanied by some degree of acidity, which is usually positive though may indicate over-fermentation (over ripeness); reminiscent of various fruits including berries, citrus, currants, etc.
Green Beans—Milled, unroasted coffee beans.
Hoshidana—Drying rack (or floor/platform/deck) used for drying coffee beans in the sun. A hoshidana has a rolling roof so the beans can be exposed to the sun during the heat of the day and then covered when it rains, which is usually during the afternoons and evenings. (see Drying)
Kona Blend—Any coffee that includes some Kona beans. In the Hawaiian Islands the law states that any coffee labeled Kona Blend must be at least 10% Kona coffee. In other places companies may call their coffee Kona Blends even though there may be just a tiny amount of Kona beans mixed in.
Kona Coffee Belt—The coffee-growing area located in the north and south Kona districts on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. The Kona Coffee Belt is located along the cool, green and fertile western slopes of the volcanoes Hualalai and Mauna Loa. This coffee growing area is about one mile wide by thirty miles long, at elevations ranging from about 500 feet to 2,500 feet. Only coffee grown in this region may be called Kona Coffee.
Kona Snow—The fragrant white blossoms that cover coffee trees between January and May.
Milling—The process of removing the parchment and also the thin silverskin beneath it. This is done with hullers that mill off the parchment and also polish the coffee beans.
Neutral—Very low acidity; bland; implying no off-tastes which can make it good for blending; describes many Brazilian Arabicas.
Parchment—The stiff and white, paper-thin skin (membrane) covering the dried coffee bean. Also refers to the beans in general at this stage of the process.
Peaberry—Coffee cherry that produce just one round seed (bean). These are known as Type II and have the highest density and a heavy robust flavor as well as a smooth consistency, medium bodied, and with a rich aroma.
Pulping—The process of removing the outer flesh—the red skin and mucilaginous pulp—of the cherry (coffee fruit), thus separating the coffee beans from the pulp. A machine called the pulper uses rough rollers to break up and loosen the outer skin of the cherry. This pulping is usually done within the first 24 hours after picking.
Roasting—The process of cooking the coffee beans in a roasting machine for just the right amount of time and at the right temperature to transform the chemical and physical properties of the green coffee beans and achieve the desired taste. Green coffee beans expand and change color when roasted. The smell, taste, and density of the coffee beans also changes. A typical roasting machine is heated with propane gas, and has an electrically-driven drum. Roasters typically operate at temperatures from 370 to 540 °F (188 to 282 °C).
It may take about fifteen minutes to roast to roast twenty-five pounds of green coffee beans. The exact time of roasting varies depending upon several factors including the grade, quality, and moisture content of the coffee beans. Other factors include the age of the beans, the weather conditions at the time of roasting, and also what type of roast is desired by the roasting master (e.g., light, medium, or dark roast).
Roasting may last for a period of time ranging from 12 to 30 minutes. Lighter roasts retain more of the natural flavor produced by the soil and climate of the region as well as the particular variety of the plant. In darker roasts these “origin flavors” are eclipsed by the roasting process itself, and the roast flavor may dominate the taste and mask the natural flavor of the beans.
Renowned coffees such as Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Kenya, and Java are usually only lightly roasted so that their natural flavors are retained.
Roast Types: Light, Full, and Dark—Light Roasts (also called Cinnamon or New England Roasts) are roasted only until the “first crack,” when the beans pop or crack, and visibly expand in size. This may occur after only several minutes roasting. Light roasts have higher acidity, while medium roasts are generally sweeter and with more body and more balanced acidity and aroma.
Full Roasts (also called Viennese or Italian Espresso Roasts) are roasted several minutes longer until the coffee beans begin popping again (this is known as the “second crack”) and become slightly shiny as oils begin to rise to the surface of the bean. The flavor of full roasts may be spicy and with a heavier body, and the roast flavor is evident.
In a Dark Roast (also called Double or French Roast), the beans are roasted a few more minutes and begin to smoke. At this time the bean sugars begin to carbonize and the beans appear very oily. The taste is smoky-sweet and the body is light yet intense with the roast flavor completely dominating the beans origin flavors.
Wet-Method Processing—Placing the beans into a fermentation tank for 8 to 24 hours, and then rinsing them with clean, fresh water. The length of time that the beans are left in the fermentation tank depends on the temperature, and thus the elevation, of the site. At lower elevations it only takes about 12 hours in the fermentation tank, but at higher elevations it may take 24 hours.
Nancy Astor: “If I were your wife, I would put poison in your coffee.”
Sir Winston Churchill: “And if I were your husband, I would drink it.”
Worldwide Coffee Guide
Coffee Makers and Espresso Machines
Also included are full details about Coffee Makers (Automatic Drip Coffee Makers, Single Serve Coffee Makers, Pod Coffee Makers, Coffee Pods, Coffee K-Cups, T-Discs, and French Press, (also see Best Coffee Makers), and Espresso Machines (including Pod Espresso Machines) as well as Instant Coffee and Decaffeinated Coffee.
Specialty Coffee From Soil to Sip
Learn about coffee harvesting, processing, grading, roasting, grinding, packaging, storing, brewing as well as the coffee beverage itself. Also covered is Organic Coffee, Fair Trade Coffee, Bird Friendly Coffee and Shade-Grown Coffee.
Gourmet Coffee Aficionados
Discerning coffee lovers will be interested in coffee flavors and qualities including the coffee’s body, aroma, acidity, bitterness, sweetness, and finish or aftertaste). You can also learn about coffee cupping (professional coffee tasting), read great coffee quotes and then take the coffee quiz.
Tips on espresso brewing can be read about beginning with Pulling A Perfect Espresso Shot and Steaming and Frothing Milk and then reading the Barista Guide to Perfect Lattes and Cappuccinos which includes information about Espresso Drink Recipes.
See these final links only if you are a Gourmet Coffee Lover! and read these specialty coffee articles:
Also see www.wineriessantabarbara.com
For Civet Coffee see www.poopcoffee.com