Coffee Glossary : M

Are you not familiar with a term used in one of our articles or reviews? Our Coffee Glossary defines hundreds of common and not-so-common words in the coffee lexicon. Click any letter below to view a list of coffee terms and definitions beginning with that letter.

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • W
  • Y
  • Z
  • Mérida.  Market name for one of the most respected and most characteristic Venezuela coffees, delicate and sweet in the cup.

    Macchiato.  Either a serving of espresso “stained” or marked with a small quantity of hot frothed milk (espresso macchiato), or a moderately tall (about eight ounces) glass of hot frothed milk “stained” with espresso (latte macchiato). In North America, the term macchiato is more likely to describe the former (espresso stained with milk) than the latter (milk stained with espresso).

    Macchinetta.  , Flip-Drip, Neapolitan Macchinetta. A style of drip method brewer in which the ground coffee is secured in a two-sided strainer at the waist of the pot between two closed compartments. The brewing water is heated in one compartment, then the pot is flipped over, and the hot water drips through the coffee into the opposite compartment.

    Machine Drying.  Coffee must be dried, either directly after picking (in the dry method) or after fruit removal (in the wet method). Sun drying is often replaced or supplemented by drying with machines, either in large, rotating drums or in cascading silos. Machine drying can be superior or inferior to sun drying in terms of promoting cup quality, depending on weather conditions, drying temperature, and other factors.

    Malawi.  Most Malawi (a small country west of Mozambique, Africa) coffee to reach the United States is grown on larger estates and distinguished by a rather soft, round profile.

    MAM.  Acronym for Medellín, Armenia, and Manizales, three of the most famous and best coffees of Colombia. To simplify large-scale coffee contracts, coffees from these three regions are sold together as MAMs.

    Mandheling.  The most famous coffee of Sumatra, Indonesia. From the Lake Toba area toward the northern end of the island.

    Maracaibo.  A class of coffees from Venezuela, including many of the most characteristic and distinguished coffees of that country.

    Maragogipe (MAH-rah-goh-SHZEE-peh), Elephant Bean.  A variety of Coffea arabica distinguished by extremely large, porous beans. It first appeared in Maragogipe, Brazil, and has since been planted elsewhere in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America. It is currently falling out of favor owing to thinnish cup character and low-bearing trees.

    Matagalpa.  Market name for a respected coffee of Nicaragua.

    Mattari, Matari.  Market name for one of the most admired coffees of Yemen. From the Bani Mattar area west of the capital city of Sana’a. Usually a winier, sharper version of the Yemen style.

    Mature Coffee.  Coffee held in warehouses for two to three years. Mature coffee has been held longer than old crop coffee, but not as long as aged or vintage coffee.

    Mbeya, Pare.  Market names for coffee from the south of Tanzania.

    Medium Roast, Medium-High Roast.  Also known as American Roast. Coffee roasted to traditional American taste: medium brown.

    Mexico.  The best Mexico coffees (Oaxaca Pluma, Coatepec, Chiapas) are distinguished by a light body and a delicate, pleasant acidity. Highland Chiapas coffees can be bigger and more richly acidy.

    Microwave Brewers.  Brewing apparatus designed to take advantage of the unique properties of the microwave oven. Over the years microwave brewers have incorporated a variety of technical means, ranging from open-pot through various approaches to filter-drip. At this writing, none have made an impression on the market.

    Middle Eastern Coffee, Turkish Coffee.  Coffee ground to a powder, sweetened (usually), brought to a boil, and served grounds and all.

    Mild.  A trade term for high-quality arabica coffees. Often contrasted with hard, or inferior, coffees.

    Milling.  Mechanical removal of the dry parchment skin from wet-processed coffee beans, or the entire dried fruit husk from dry-processed beans.

    Mocha, Moka, Mocca, Moca.  Single-origin coffee from Yemen; also a drink combining chocolate and (usually espresso) coffee. The coffee, also called Arabian Mocha, Yemen, or Yemen Mocha, takes its name from the ancient port of Mocha. It is the world’s oldest cultivated coffee, distinguished by its distinctively rich, winy acidity and intriguing nuance. Coffee from the Harrar region of Ethiopia, which resembles Yemen coffee in cup-character, is also sometimes called Mocha.

    Mocha-Java, Moka-Java, Mocca-Java.  Traditionally, a blend of Yemen Mocha and Java Arabica coffees, usually one part Yemen Mocha and two parts Java Arabica. All commercial Mocha-Java blends and many specialty versions no longer follow this recipe. Commercial blends may combine any of a variety of round, full coffees in place of the Java, and any of a variety of bright, acidy coffees in place of the Mocha, while changing proportions to maintain a uniform taste. Versions offered by specialty roasters may blend a true Java with a true Yemen Mocha, or may substitute another (often better) Indonesia coffee for the Java, or an Ethiopia Harrar for the Yemen. Most specialty coffee variations probably do represent the classic blend accurately. In its traditional form, Mocha-Java is the world’s oldest coffee blend.

    Monsooned Coffee, Monsooned Malabar.  Dry-processed single-origin coffee from south India deliberately exposed to monsoon winds in open warehouses, with the aim of increasing body and reducing acidity.

    Moshi.  Market name for coffee from the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

    Mysore, India Mysore.  Mysore is a market name for certain high-quality wet-processed India coffees grown in the south of the country. The best is low-key, with moderate body and acidity and occasional intriguing nuance; at worst it is bland.

    Adapted from Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying; Espresso: Ultimate Coffee; and Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival. St. Martin's Press.

    Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Kenneth Davids. All Rights Reserved.