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Coffee home - Coffee culture - Naming Coffee

Naming Coffee

Naming Coffee
Names for coffee derived from the areas where coffee is produced and shipped. Mocha is a port in Yemen just on the point where the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden meet. This port would have supplied Egypt in prehistory times for all general products from surrounding areas which traded at the time. Additionally, it is the perfect place to import coffee from Ethiopia.

Java is another location where coffee was produced but it only goes as far back as 300 years. These names are very old to say the least.

Two new names are "joe" and "hojo." These are not names for ports or for places. The U.S. Navy used to allow alcoholic beverages on U.S. Navy ships. Grog, Ale, and Beer were the supplied as a beverage in the general mess. When Admiral Josephus "Joe" Daniels became Chief of Naval Operations, he outlawed alcohol on board ships. He ordered coffee become the beverage of service on the ships, hence the term "Cup of Joe." Because sailors are generally cold, they wanted their coffee hot. The term hot cup of joe was use, then it was shorten to hot joe, then hojo.

The name Bourbon was taken from the Isle of Bourbon which is where the strain of coffee was developed. Santos comes from the port of Santos where coffee was shipped in Brazil.

Harrar and Sidamo, also popular names of coffee are names of a town and a coffee growing region of Ethiopia. Mexican Pluma Altura is another name for an area in Mexico which produces coffee. Jamaican Blue Mountain is grown on Wallenford Blue Mountain in Jamaican.

Kenya AA and Zimbabwe AA derive there names from the country of origin and the AA stands for the grade of coffee. Kona Fancy is stating a grade of coffee from the Kona region which is an area in Hawaii. Colombian Supremo and Colombian Excelso coming from Colombia in South America and express the grade of coffee.

Another common practice is the use of estate or plantation names. This simply means the coffee from a large farm in the country or area associated with the name.

Pea-berry: is a type of coffee bean which is round rather than flat.

Vietnamese Robusta: A robusta type of coffee plant which comes from Vietnam.

Peruvian Organic, Indian Monsooned, and Sumatran Decaf German Process are simply names of how it is processed or grown. Organic is a process which means no harmful chemical were used as fertilizer. Theoretically, a certifying agency is supposed to look over the entire agriculture environmental program use to grow the beans. Monsooned is a process where the bean is stored in an open warehouse where the monsoon wind can plow through the place. The theory being, this process increases the body and reduces the acidity. Decaf German Process is a process to make decaffeinated coffee. Many times the term "washed" or "unwashed" or "dry" will be associated with the name. These are also a processes which extracts the bean from the berry.

There are many trade names which coffee is called. Most all the trade market names reflect the plantation where the coffee is grown. However, no one sells green coffee by a trade name world wide. It is more like Jamaican High Mountain means it was grown on a High Mountain other than the Blue Mountain in Jamaica. There are hundreds of Brazilian Bourbon Santos's. All these coffees are mixed together in warehouses. Then they are sold under one name; i.e. Santos where all the types of coffee in Brazil are thrown into a warehouse and sold by first come first served. In general, subtle differences and individual identity are lost. On the other hand, the subtle differences and individual identity are not all that important.


Naming coffee by the way it is roasted is also quite common. Although there is a scientific view of roasting coffee, there is also a story view. This segment is more or less, the story view, where as the scientific view can be found under bean roast.

Like drinking one type of coffee, there are whole countries which went form cradle to grave drinking one type of roast. Many of these names reflect the country which this roast was prevalent; American roast, French roast, and Italian roast. As people started to get individualized, cities started to name roasts; Viennese roast, full-city roast (New York), Atlanta roast, and New Orleans roast. A lot of other cities in a lot of other countries started doing the same thing. The timing of these coffee roast nomenclatures went along with the freedoms people had.

Roasting is simply the matter of cooking the coffee bean. As the coffee bean cooks, like meat, flour, and everything else which is cooked, there is a chemical reaction. The character of the coffee bean changes. The longer the coffee bean is cooked, the more the chemicals change character. The coffee bean roast goes from nothing at all to burnt to hell.

The degree of roast and the roast name, simple describe how much the bean is roasted. As the bean roasts, it turns brown. Obviously, the darker the coffee bean gets the longer it was roasted. However, roasting the coffee bean isn't a simple mater of sticking it in a device and roast it. The coffee bean actually roasts differently if roasted at one temperature as opposed to another temperature till the color is the same. Not only that, the bean goes from endothermic to exothermic during roasting too. Endothermic being heat absorbing and exothermic being heat producing. The coffee bean actually creates its own heat by chemical reaction similar to that of cement curing or detergent will if you hold it then moisten it. This chemical reaction creates the various different compounds which equate to taste.

Depending upon the chemical reaction desired, the coffee bean creates the "essence of the coffee bean." The essence of the coffee bean is seen as the coffee oils. Later, coffee oils became coffeeol. These are oils in that they float. However, they also are water soluble which really makes them not an oil. Regulating the roasting procedure, one can make more or less of the coffee oil for any given coffee bean. Additionally, the chemical process makes the coffee bean brittle. When the coffee bean becomes brittle it is easier to grind.

As coffee roasting became popular, Kings would dictate exactly to what degree the coffee bean would be roasted. We still do this today.

Hardly tingedWater but has some flavorStraw
Light brownWater with sour tonesCinnamon, New England, or Light
Medium brown with a dry surfaceMore acidy has the coffee tasteAmerican, Brown, or Medium
Dark brownBittersweet tang, less acidy, sournessHigh, Light French, Viennese, City, Dark
Darker brown with an oily surfaceBittersweetDark, Italian, European, French, Continental Spanish, After-dinner, Full-city, or Strong
Very dark bordering on blackBurned with bittersweetDark French, Neapolitan, or Heavy
Jet Black Dry LookingBurnt charcoalIs charcoal

Now a days, the degree of roast is scientific. We can predict with three place accuracy between 90.0 and 10.0, 90.0 being not roasted and 10.0 being burnt to a crisp.


TURKISH COFFEE. Turkish coffee neither is from Turkey, nor does it represents any degree of roast. Turkish coffee means super extra fine grinding. Coffee beans ground to a very fine powder. Typically, the coffee bean is roasted to a dark brown for its ability to be ground. Turkish coffee can be blended or flavored.

ESPRESSO. Espresso is a distinct way of making coffee. It stands on its own. When you order coffee the odds are 99 to 1 that you will get coffee made at standard air pressure. When you order espresso, the odds are in the United States, the coffee is made with water under pressure forcing the water into the grind. This is not always the case around the world.

INSTANT COFFEE. Instant coffee is exactly like the name says it is. Boil water, take a spoonful of soluble coffee from a jar or where ever, pour it into the cup with the water, and presto, instant coffee. There are several processes which can be done to make the basic mix, but all are based on brewing up the coffee in a large kettle and dehydrolyzing the brew. After the water is removed a powder is left. It is similar to making salt. The sad part is it is catching on big time. The latest version being individual coffee bags which are nothing more than instant coffee with some real coffee grounds in a tea bag.

Coffee home - Coffee culture - Naming Coffee

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