German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius had scientists remove caffeine from beans without destroying their flavor. He marketed the innovation under the brand name “Sanka.” Sanka was introduced to North America in 1923.
A port in Brazil from which coffee is shipped. Brazilian Santos does not refer to a specific coffee growing area but signifies a bulk commodity coffee.
SC stands for screen size – a common classification for coffee sortation based on a screen size sorting system (coffee sorting screens with round holes based on sixty-fourths of an inch). A standard screen size is 17/18, which means that a 17 and 18 grade size have been blended together.
In this hybrid processing method, the coffee cherries are washed and sorted as in the washed method, but instead of being placed in fermentation tanks they are set out to dry.
Shade coffee / Shade-grown coffee
Coffee grown under a natural canopy. Coffee grown in the shade ripens slowly, and it is often drawn from vintage cultivars, making it prized for its complex flavors. Flavor aside, bird conservationists value the species of shade trees used and the structure of the tree cover, which provide many resident and migratory bird species with food and cover. Ornithologists have consistently documented the importance of shade-coffee habitat in the increasingly deforested landscape of the Neotropics.
Several organizations are working to establish a standard, enforceable label, among them the Rainforest Alliance’s ECO-O.K. program and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s “bird-friendly” criteria.
Shade gradient/ Shade spectrum
A five-category continuum “management spectrum for coffee,” running through a spectrum of shade and cover. This basic shade gradient, devised by Mexican coffee researchers and technicians, has become a familiar centerpiece in discussions on quantifying shade:
1. Rustic is the least intensified and least expensive practice, typically used by small family-owned farms that produce a modest crop of coffee. Under this increasingly rare practice, coffee shrubs are planted in the existing forest with minimum alteration to the native vegetation.
2. Traditional polyculture is more managed than rustic coffee. It involves the deliberate integration of beneficial plants such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and medicinal plants, leading to greater species diversity than commercial polyculture. The crop diversification helps farmers when coffee prices are depressed; in many traditional indigenous systems there is no distinction between wild and domesticated plants and some plants are weeded, tolerated, or encouraged depending on household needs and the season.
3. Commercial polyculture resembles traditional polyculture, except that some shade is removed to allow more coffee shrubs. To obtain higher yields, fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical inputs are usually needed.
4. Reduced or specialized shade uses a single, pruned canopy species to provide shade, typically from the genera Inga, Erythrina, Gliricidia, or Grevillea. Under this system, farmers plant coffee shrubs more densely, giving farms a manicured look. Since the overstory consists of one or two species, there is less species diversity.
5. Full-sun or unshaded monoculture does away with the canopy completely. The unshaded, intensively-managed fields, with chemical inputs, become highly productive. These farms’ sole objective is producing coffee for market.
See Strictly Hard Bean.
See Strictly High Grown.
The coffee bean’s thin covering.
An inspection and certification organization, authorized in several EU member states, that certifies organic products, processes and inputs.
Coffee grown at under 4,000 ft, a relatively low altitude. Such beans mature quickly, produce a lighter, more porous, and generally less desirable bean.
A basic taste, noticed at the tip of the tongue, characterized by solutions of tartaric acid, citric acid, or malic acid. A sour coffee’s unpleasant acidity should not be confused with the natural acidity of some coffees, a prized characteristic.
Specialty roasters tend to roast in small batches and emphasize instinct more than instrumentation in their craft: They use smell, sound, and sight to determine when their roast is done. Unlike mass-market roasters, that typically stop roasting after about seven to nine minutes, when the beans “pop” to produce a light roast, specialty roasters generally roast to a variety of greater degrees, and use a variety of beans with different characteristics, to achieve distinctive coffees.
A smell reminiscent of cinnamon or clove. It is created by volatile hydrocarbons in coffee’s aftertaste.
Coffee that has been overexposed to oxygen, giving it a flat, cardboard taste.
Storing green coffee
Some green coffee beans are stored for years; certain beans are believed to improve with age. Green beans need to be stored in the dark, and away from heat and moisture. As a rule of thumb, green beans keep well for two to three years.
Strictly Hard Bean / Strictly High Grown
Coffee grown above 4,500 feet. The higher the altitude, the slower the beans mature, making them harder and denser than other beans and more desirable.
A term of the coffee trade that represents a top grade of coffee (and the opposite of a coffee that tastes “harsh”).
A method of harvesting, either by hand or machine, that strips branches of all their fruit.
A renowned coffee-producing island. Most Sumatran coffee is produced using the dry process. Sumatra Fair Trade Organic
Coffee that is not shade-grown, often involving new coffee hybrids that have been developed for sun tolerance and compact growth. The coffee is typically grown in neat rows of coffee beneath direct sun or scant shade, yielding more coffee per hectare but requiring more chemical inputs—fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides—and land denuded of trees.
A term that implies concern for the environment, for laborers’ working conditions and trading practices, and for land tenure systems that do not impoverish farmers. A melding of ecology, economics, and politics, sustainability implies an equitable allocation and consumption of resources.
Coffee that is smooth and free from harsh flavors or other defects.
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