Coffee Glossary : F

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.

Fair Traded Coffee.  Coffee that has been purchased from farmers (usually peasant farmers) at a “fair” price as defined by international agencies. The extra paid these farmers under fair trade arrangements is extremely modest, by the way.

Fermentation.  An important but confusing coffee term with two main meanings. 1) As a positive component of the wet method of coffee processing, fermentation is a stage in which the sticky pulp is loosened from the skinned coffee seeds or beans by natural enzymes while the beans rest in tanks. If water is added to the tanks the process is called wet fermentation; if no water is added it is called dry fermentation. 2) In sensory evaluation, or cupping, of coffee, fermentation is an important descriptor for a range of related taste defects set off when the sugars in the coffee fruit begin to ferment. Sensations described as ferment can range from sweet, composty, rotten-fruit tastes to harsh, moldy, musty, or medicinal tastes.

Filter Holder, Portafilter.  In espresso brewing, a metal object with plastic handle that holds the coffee filter, and clamps onto the group.

Filter Method, Filter-Drip Method.  Technically, any brewing method in which water filters through a bed of ground coffee. In popular usage, describes drip method brewers utilizing a paper filter to separate grounds from brewed coffee.

Finish.  The sensory experience of coffee just as it is swallowed (or, in the professional cupping procedure, just before it is spit out). Some coffees transform from first impression on the palate to finish; others stand pat.

Flavor.  In cupping, or sensory evaluation of coffee, what distinguishes the sensory experience of coffee once its acidity, body, and aroma have been described.

Flavored Coffees.  Coffees that in their roasted, whole-bean form have been mixed with flavoring agents.

Flip-Drip, Neapolitan Macchinetta, 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.

Fluid Bed Roaster, Fluidized Bed Roaster, Air Roaster, Sivitz Roaster.  A roasting apparatus that works much like a giant popcorn popper, utilizing a column of forced hot air to simultaneously agitate and roast green coffee beans. These devices are sometimes called Sivitz Roasters, after their popularizer and first American manufacturer, inventor Michael Sivitz.

Fragrance.  As a specialized term in cupping, or sensory evaluation of coffee, fragrance describes the scent of dry coffee immediately after it has been ground but before it is brewed.

French Press, Plunger Pot.  Brewing method that separates spent grounds from brewed coffee by pressing them to the bottom of the brewing receptacle with a mesh plunger.

French Roast, Heavy Roast, Spanish Roast.  Terms for coffee brought to degrees of roast considerably darker than the American norm; may range in color from dark brown (see Espresso Roast) to nearly black (see Dark French Roast) and in flavor from rich and bittersweet to thin-bodied and burned.

Frothed Milk.  Milk that is heated and frothed with a steam wand as an element in the espresso cuisine.

Full-City Roast, Light French Roast, Viennese Roast, Light Espresso Roast, City Roast, High Roast.  Terms for coffee brought to degrees of roast somewhat darker than the traditional American norm, but lighter than the classic dark roast variously called espresso, French, or Italian. In the cup, full-city and associated roast styles are less acidy and smoother than the traditional American “medium” roast, but may display fewer of the distinctive taste characteristics of the original coffee. Among many newer American specialty roasters, roast styles once called full-city, Viennese, etc. may constitute the typical, “regular” roast of coffee.

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.