Coffee Glossary : D

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.

Dark French Roast.  A roast of coffee almost black in color with a shiny surface, thin-bodied, and bittersweet in flavor, with an overlay of burned or charcoal-like tones.

Dark Roast.  Vague term; may describe any roast of coffee darker than the traditional American norm.

Decaffeination Processes.  Specialty coffees are decaffeinated in the green state, currently by one of four methods. The direct solvent method involves treating the beans with solvent, which selectively unites with the caffeine and is removed from the beans by steaming. The indirect solvent or solvent-water method involves soaking the green beans in hot water, removing the caffeine from the hot water by means of a solvent, and recombining the water with the beans, which are then dried. Both processes using solvents often are called European Process or Traditional Process. The water-only method, commonly known by the proprietary name Swiss Water ProcessTM, involves the same steps, but removes the caffeine from the water by allowing it to percolate through a bed of activated charcoal. In the carbon dioxide method, which is only beginning to be established in the specialty-coffee trade, the caffeine is stripped directly from the beans by a highly compressed semi-liquid form of carbon dioxide.

Defects, Flavor Defects.  Unpleasant flavor characteristics caused by problems during picking, processing (fruit removal), drying, sorting, storage, or transportation. Common defects include: excess numbers of immature or under-ripe fruit (unselective picking); inadvertent fermentation (careless processing); fermentation combined with invasion by micro-organisms, causing moldy, hard, or rioy defects (careless or moisture-interrupted drying); and contact with excessive moisture after drying, causing musty or baggy defects (careless storage and transportation).

Degassing.  A natural process in which recently roasted coffee releases carbon dioxide gas, temporarily protecting the coffee from the staling impact of oxygen.

Demitasse.  “Half cup” in French; a half-size or three-ounce cup used primarily for espresso coffee.

Demucilage.  Terms for a procedure in which the sticky fruit pulp, or mucilage, is removed from freshly picked coffee beans by scrubbing in machines. Mechanical demucilaging is gradually replacing the traditional wet processing procedure of removing mucilage by fermentation and washing.

Djimah, Djimma, Jimma.  A coffee from Ethiopia. Washed Djimah can be an excellent low-acid coffee. Dry-processed Djimah is a lesser coffee often exhibiting wild or medicinal taste characteristics and is not often traded as a speciality coffee.

Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo.  Coffee from the Dominican Republic. High-grown Dominican coffee is a fairly rich, acidy coffee with classic Caribbean characteristics. Lower grown Dominican coffees tend to be softer and less acidy.

Doppio.  A double espresso, or three to six ounces of straight espresso.

Doser.  A spring-loaded device on specialized espresso grinders that dispenses single servings of ground coffee.

DP.  Abbreviation for “double picked,” meaning the coffee in question has been subjected to hand picking to remove imperfect beans, pebbles, and other foreign matter twice rather than once.

Drip Method.  Brewing method that allows hot water to settle through a bed of ground coffee.

Dry-Processed Coffee, Dry Method Coffee, Natural Coffee.  Coffee processed by removing the husk or fruit after the coffee fruit has been dried. When only ripe fruit is utilized and the drying is done carefully dry-processed coffee can be complex, fruity, and deeply-dimensioned. When the picking and drying are performed carelessly, as is the case with cheaper dry-processed coffees, the result is off-tasting, harsh coffee. The best and most celebrated dry-processed coffees are Yemen coffees, the Harrar coffees of Ethiopia, and the finest traditional Brazil coffees.

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.